Jan Lisiecki, the 17-year-old pianist from Calgary, is CBC Music’s classical artist of the month for April. He releases his debut album of Mozart concertos on the Deutsche Grammophon label on April 17. Each week this month, we’ll give you an update on Lisiecki with interviews, videos and, in today’s case, a Proust questionnaire.

This month, in addition to launching his album, Lisiecki undertakes a solo recital tour of Germany, Austria and Belgium playing Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin and Liszt. His next Canadian concert appearance will be with Orchestra London in London, Ont., on May 12 for Schumann’s Piano Concerto, the same work he has chosen for his debut with the New York Philharmonic in December.

Lisiecki fast-tracked his high school education, graduating at age 15 in January 2011. He now balances a busy international concert schedule with his Bachelor of music studies at Toronto’s Glenn Gould School of Music.

On a recent visit to CBC Toronto’s studio 211, Lisiecki treated us to some of his current recital repertoire.

Ever wondered what goes on inside the head of a 17-year-old musical genius? Here are Lisiecki’s answers to CBC Music’s Proust questionnaire. He composed his answers on a flight between Calgary and Montreal:

What is your favourite colour?

What is your idea of happiness?
Doing whatever you love most, in my case two things: performing (and making music) and travelling.

What quality do you most admire in others?
Positivism and intellect.

What quality do you most admire in yourself?
The joy of life.

What is your favourite drink?
Non-alcoholic? ;-) Ginger beer.

Describe your present state of mind.
My feet are cold!

On what occasion do you lie?
To get into Air Canada lounges, I used to have to be accompanied because of liquor laws. So I'd find myself a new chaperone at the airport.

What is the greatest love of your life?
Life itself!

Where would you most like to live?
In Canada.

What is your greatest fear?
Taxi drivers.

What is your favourite journey?
Travelling for fun with my dad around the world.

What word or phrase do you overuse?

Which talent would you most like to have?
You can learn most things without talent, and I'm OK with that.

What is your favourite aroma?
Fresh-baked cookies and ginger!

Who would you call in an emergency?
My parents.

Who would you call if you wanted to laugh?
My mom, although I wouldn't have to call her, since she is usually nearby.

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posted by Robert Rowat on Apr 02, 2012