Lori-Ann Speed is a highly accomplished composer, pianist, and recording artist who has made a name for herself in the Canadian neoclassical music scene. Born and raised in a small, remote farming and logging community in central British Columbia, Canada, it was the cycles of nature and the beauty of the wilderness that first inspired her love for music.
From the time she saw a big white upright piano wheeled into her grade 3 classroom, Lori-Ann had a burning desire to play. Despite growing up in a community where classical music was not widely appreciated, she persisted in her pursuit of piano lessons. Her family did not have a piano, but for Lori-Ann, the piano was a thirst that could not be ignored. For five years, she incessantly pleaded for a piano so she could study. Finally, one day, the local piano teacher rolled into her yard with his piano on the back of a pick-up truck, and thus began her life with music.
Lori-Ann excelled in piano, fine arts and sports throughout high school, college and beyond. In high school, she was awarded the title of Best Female Athlete of the Year. In college, she was a first-string guard on the basketball team leading the team to win the Western Canada College Division. She began her university education in the Faculty of Fine Arts developing her artistic talents and knowledge of Western Art.
Despite encountering obstacles in her pursuit of a university music education, Lori-Ann never gave up on her dream. Through hard work and determination, she was eventually awarded a coveted spot in Canada's top classical music school for piano at the University of British Columbia. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music ( with a double degree in Fine Arts), followed by study in Europe. She continued to balance her passions for fine arts, sports, and music throughout her career.
Lori-Ann's love for adventure and sports led her to participate in adrenaline activities such as white water kayaking, mountain climbing, telemark racing, backcountry ski touring, and extreme skiing. She toured Europe with the Canadian Telemark team and participated in the development of Telemarking world wide. She taught at ski at resorts in Canada and came third in the North American Telemark Series. A natural athlete, she was one of a handful of female extreme skiers during the sport's early development and was featured in several newspapers and magazines. Her ski friends were those featured in ski magazines and movies around the world. It was an exhilarating time, although dangerous as well, as any wrong turns could end in serious injury or death, and certainly a number of her friends died in the mountains or kayaking.
Lori-Ann took a job at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in radio and classical music with an eye for producing. Her fluency in French, music degree, and passion for classical music made her the perfect candidate for the role. She gigged full-time in high-end hotels, restaurants, and special events. During this time, she began writing and performing her own music alongside classical repertoire and covers. She left the CBC to pursue her piano performance dreams. There was an appetite for her original piano compositions leading to her first sold-out concert and recording.
In all, Lori-Ann has recorded and produced eight albums of original material. Her music has been praised for its ethereal and emotive qualities, drawing influences from Chopin, Debussy, and George Winston. Her album In the Wake of a Whisper was nominated for Best Instrumental Release at the West Coast Music Awards, and her music has been featured in three CD releases by other artists. Throughout her career, Lori Ann has also being invited to perform at various music festivals, concert venues and events.
In pursuit of her dreams, Lori-Ann's music career came to a screeching halt. After national airplay, distribution, and recognition, her journey in music had been replaced by a twelve-year battle with cancer and the loss of four loved ones which prostrated her ability and focus. She left music for an extended period of time. However, Lori-Ann was called back with renewed purpose and vision. Her life trajectory has been one of tragedy to triumph several times over.
People describe her playing as transcendent. They are touched by a depth of emotion in her work which may come from facing adversity. Indeed, the challenges have forged her soul. Revealed in her music is the bittersweet recognition of life’s fragility and a melody of beauty for the naked heart as the sound of love.
“Somewhere in Time, my new album, is a very personal album” says Speed. “Prior to breast cancer I certainly had struggles, but with the two diagnoses I had to face death in myself twice while four people I dearly loved, died around me. Suddenly life got real and I had to look deep within myself to survive. I am excited to return with this album where I explore our collective transit through life and discover a deeper meaning. I belief we are all heroes and heroines at the centre of epic stories. I attempted to capture the beauty of a powerful and inspiring universal journey.”
Through the pure, simple, unadorned beauty of the piano, Lori-Ann Speed has not only made a name for herself in the neoclassical piano scene, but also as a facilitator and energy healer. Her concerts are now an immersive and transformative experience for the audience, often described as ethereal and emotive. Despite the challenges she has faced in her life, Lori-Ann never gave up on her passion for music and has come out stronger and more determined than ever before. She delivers a timeless message that inspires and touches the lives of many.
Lori-Ann is an advocate for integrative cancer care and uses her platform as an artist to raise awareness and support for organizations that provide holistic treatments for cancer patients. She was a board member at Inspirehealth, Canada’s only integrative cancer care clinic, and continues to be a powerful voice for those affected by the disease.
Today Lori-Ann enjoys great health and a very active life. She continues to merge her love of athletics and the arts. In the summer months she wakes up at 5:30am to water ski and ride her road bike before settling into rehearsing, writing and preparing for her next performance.