Valentina Lisitsa

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Valentina Lisitsa is a pianist whose worldwide reputation was built on social media. She is now experiencing a major backlash due to what she's been writing on Twitter. It came to a head with the cancellation of Lisitsa's scheduled performances Wednesday night and Thursday night with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, which announced earlier this week that she would not be appearing to play Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the ensemble and Finnish conductor Juka-Pekka Saraste. Both TSO...

Born in Kiev a little more than 40 years ago, Valentina Lisitsa came to America in the early '90s to work as a concert pianist. She rode a wave of acclaim, recording the Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra, but soon realized she was "just another blonde, female Russian pianist." Looking for a new audience, Lisitsa turned to YouTube around the time of its 2007 inception, with "just me and my piano and nothing else." Seventy million views and a record deal later, she...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zucBfXpCA6s How do classical artists grab attention these days? Simple — or, actually, not so simple at all. They build their fan bases on YouTube, one page hit at a time. It's a model that's familiar in pop culture, from Justin Bieber to 50 Shades of Grey : Get the content out there any way you can, build a viral fanbase, and then start acquiring the traditional retinue that comes with a successful career, like management and a label or publisher. But just as...