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60 Minutes profiles ascendant pianist Igor Levit

“The pandemic not only took his audiences away, its restrictions against gatherings also made millions of people lonely. So German pianist Igor Levit found a way to overcome the pandemic’s effects on him and ease people’s loneliness at the same time by streaming his world-renowned music on Twitter. The Grammy hopeful spoke to Jon Wertheim for a 60 Minutes profile to be broadcast Sunday, January 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT on CBS. Typical reviews of the 33-year-old’s performances use words like “fiery,” “magical” and “elegant.” Levit says his music, at least emotionally for him, depends on people hearing it. “I can’t just make music for myself. It’s just not the way I operate. I can’t, emotionally,” he tells Wertheim. “So I had this idea to bring one of the most classic ways of music-making, which is the house concert… into the 21st century. So how do I do it?… I invite the people into my living room…”

Levit turned his Berlin apartment into a mini concert hall using only a cheap camera stand for his iPhone. Then he learned the basics in streaming. This virtuoso was now virtual for worldwide audiences on Twitter. The first concert reached 350,000. He was playing for his largest audience ever and it couldn’t have been more simple and, on some level, more intimate, he says. “It was just me, no hall, no questions about acoustics, no questions about an instrument, no questions about, you know, pre-printed programs, nothing. No boundaries, just myself and the people,” says Levit. He played for 52 consecutive nights. He broadened his repertoire by adding jazz, soul and rock to his performances. “It’s completely transformed me, who I am, how I see the world.”

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