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Lilya Zilberstein got her first taste of international success in 1987 when she won the Busoni Competition in Bolzano. Her victory was a sensation—it took five years until the first prize was even awarded again. By 1988, the Moscow-born pianist was able to perform in big tours abroad in the West. Traveling for her concerts took her to almost all of the European countries, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Canada, and Brazil.
Lilya Zilberstein started playing the piano at 5 years old. After 12 years of lessons with Ada Traub at the Gnessin Special Music School in Moscow, she continued studying at the Gnessin Institute under Alexander Satz until she graduated in 1988. In 1985, she won first prize in the Competition of the Russian Federation, and was also one of the prize-winners at the All Union’s Competition in Riga. She emigrated to Germany in 1990. In 1991, she debuted with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Claudio Abbado, which formed the basis of a longterm cooperation. She performed concerts with many famous international orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra in Moscow, London Symphony and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra della Scala in Milan, Staatskapelle Dresden, and many others. Alongside Claudio Abbado, she has worked with conductors such as John Axelrod, Paavo Berglund, Semyon Bychkov, Gustavo Dudamel, Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Alun Francis, Leopold Hager, Dmitrij Kitajenko, James Levine, Vassily Sinaisky, Michael Tilson Thomas, Jean-Pascal Tortelier, Marcello Viotti, and Antoni Wit. In August 1998, she was awarded the ”Accademia Musicale Chigiana” prize in Siena. This accolade has been awarded to, among others, Gidon Kremer, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and Krystian Zimerman.
Lilya Zilberstein has recorded eight CDs for Deutsche Grammophon, including recital programs, the Grieg Piano Concerto (Järvi, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra), and the Second and Third Piano Concertos by Rachmaninov (Abbado, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra). She also contributed to the first complete CD recording of the Frédéric Chopin oeuvre, which was released by Deutsche Grammophon in 1999. Recently, several more CDs have been released, including a recording of the Brahms Sonata for Two Pianos with Martha Argerich, released by EMI, and Clementi, Mussorgsky, and Rachmaninov, released by Hänssler Classic.
She is a regular guest in the major concert halls and at the most important festivals all over Europe, the United States, Canada, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. A few years ago, she played extensive world tours as the chamber music partner of Maxim Vengerov. For the first time in 16 years, she returned to her home city of Moscow, where she gave a highly acclaimed concert. With her duet partner Martha Argerich, she will celebrate her 20-year anniversary on the stage in 2019. The prominent duo can also be heard this season, in highly coveted concerts in Italy.
Highlights of recent years include a residence at the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, guest performances at the Salzburg Festival and Easter Festival, and three concerts with Brahms‘ First Piano Concerto and the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra under Andrey Boreyko as well as performances with the Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra under Dmitrij Kitajenko, where she played Tchaikovsky‘s rarely performed Third Piano Concerto (documented by a critically acclaimed CD by Oehms Classics).
Lilya Zilberstein has served as a jury member of important international piano competitions. She devotes a substantial part of her time to the education of young musicians. She gives masterclasses at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena (since 2011) and during her concert travels in universities and conservatories all over the world. From 2009 till 2013, she was guest professor at the University of Music and Theatre Hamburg. Since 2015, she is Professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, succeeding Paul Badura-Skoda and Oleg Maisenberg.