First Prize winner of the 8th International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht

Third Prize winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition 2015

"...Immensely gifted pianist...with prodigious technique, myriad shadings and scrupulous accuracy..." New York Times

The press and jury comment on Vitaly Pisarenko

"...Mr. Pisarenko played with prodigious technique, myriad shadings and scrupulous accuracy. His account of Ravel’s "Miroirs" had wondrous delicacy and moments of tender sensitivity. [...] His account of Liszt’s Polonaise No. 2 emerged with punchy rhythmic vitality and, when this evocation of a Polish dance turns unexpectedly frenzied, with demonic fervor. And it was refreshing to hear Mr. Pisarenko’s serious-minded performance of Liszt’s exuberant Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. In his hands the spiraling passagework, thick with pungent cluster chords, anticipated the harmonies of a much-later Hungarian master, Gyorgy Ligeti..."

Anthony Tommasini - New York Times, July 23rd 2009

The North Netherlands Orchestra yesterday defied the icy February winds with a light programme in the ‘Sunny Idyll’ series of concerts. Assisting them in this welcome task was outstanding pianist Vitaly Pisarenko (21), winner of the 2008 International Franz Liszt Piano Competition, as soloist in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

The young virtuoso’s interpretation was highly individualistic, finely balanced on the dividing line between poetry and drama. His playing was filled with scintillating runs and feather-light trills, darting playfully among the pizzicato of the strings, sharing a musical joke with the lowly triangle, then just at the right moment looming up out of the shadows with tempestuous octave patterns. Like a poet at the piano, Pisarenko showed great affinity for the composer (he even looks a little like him!), although in taking the liberties that traditionally attend such a celebratory performance he did manage to sow some slight confusion in the ensemble playing and timing departments. NNO chief conductor Michel Tabachnik had to wield a strict baton to keep order in the ranks and bring them over the finishing line together.

Jeanine Kramer - Leeuwarder Courant, 2 February 2009

As a union of opposites, a concert programme of Brahms and Liszt by the North Netherlands Orchestra was an unqualified success, with their presentation of Liszt’s First Piano Concerto sounding much more convincing than either of the works by Brahms. That was largely thanks to soloist Vitaly Pisarenko, winner of the 2008 International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht, who turned Liszt’s always appealing piece into a true celebration: a much easier task than for the Brahms. Pisarenko’s playing was crystal clear and tightly focussed, with a number of contemplative moments and equal amounts of virtuosity, and even sheer swinging fun. Conductor Michel Tabachnik led the orchestra in some exemplary accompaniment; open in colour and particularly fine in the orchestral soli in the central section.

Paul Herruer - Dagblad van het Noorden, 31 January 2009

Pianist Pisarenko plays like a young Franz Liszt. [...] Appropriately enough, the first prize went to someone who looked like the young Franz Liszt himself: Vitaly Pisarenko. His reading of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 was rock solid. The members of the audience listened breathlessly and looked at one another with expressions of amazement.

Oswin Schneeweisz, Algemeen Dagblad newspaper

Prize winner Vitaly Pisarenko proved himself to be a musician with a power to convince and does not shy away from risks [...] Pisarenko, who, with his hair style and sharp facial features is reminiscent of Liszt himself, revealed himself to be a dyed-in-the-wool performer. In the opening movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 and the ‘Danse macabre’ of Saint-Saëns, he also demonstrated a richly developed symphonic imagination.

Thiemo Wind - de Telegraaf newspaper

Vitaly Pisarenko indeed played better and better as his triumph neared. […] In the Finals, Pisarenko’s idiosyncratic playing increased both in refinement and expressivity.

Wenneke Savenije - NRC Handelsblad newspaper

Vitaly Pisarenko has a natural freedom for his own voice which can distinguish himslf from other pianists.

Mi Kyung Kim - concert pianist

One of the most precocious and original young talents of the keyboard in recent years, with a prodigious musicality supported by astounding technical accomplishment. Certain to be one of the foremost pianists of his generation. A fine Lisztian for sure, but, like Liszt himself, within an excellent understanding of the whole literature.

Dr. Leslie Howard - concert pianist

Here is a young pianist who is full of temperament, fire, intelligence, imagination and sensitivity. He is already on the path to greatness and I look forward tremendously to hearing him in the future.

Janina Fialkowska - concert pianist

Vitaly Pisarenko has all the qualifications which one could hope for in a prize winner. He is a brilliant and imaginative pianist with a strong artistic profile, yet manifests a respect for the composer's wishes and a humility before the music. ()

Jeffrey Swann - concert pianist

Mr Vitaly Pisarenko who participated in my masterclas is an outstanding talent. He gave a stunning performance here of Saint-Saëns/Liszt – Danse macabre. He may become a world celebrity if he finds the right support.

Prof. Paul Badura-Skoda - July 2007