And yet, when this 61 year old understated superstar emerges on the stage of a filled to capacity Concert Hall, the roar of welcome is heartfelt and fulsome, dying down as the first deep notes sound from the grand piano, and smoke suffuses the scene.
Six figures dressed in black create the mood, emerging from the darkness as they are picked out by the lighting then disappearing again, using guitars, violin, bass drums, xylophone violins, cellos, tambourines, bass drums, and a synthethiser.
Einaudi has travelled some distance from his patrician background and his rigorous classical training.
His latest album appeared on YouTube before its official release and has sold more digital downloads than actual CDs.
And a quick scan of the audience shows the breadth of his appeal. Beside your ageing reviewer were several twenty-something fans, and after each piece faded into silence the whoops and foot-stamping applause would have had the purists cringing.
Which, on the whole, has much to commend it.
Einaudi's superb playing, and its unusual and atmospheric backing, had the audience entirely engaged, and almost hypnotised by the beautiful and evocative projected back-cloth.
We could hear influences Satie, perhaps and Glass. It was like listening to a slowly emerging piece of performance art, a kaleidoscopic abstract merging of vision and sound. Small wonder that he has written so many film tracks.
Then Einaudi performed a haunting, delicate extended solo. There are many kinds of audience silences, ranging from cold rejection to deep engagement. The long pause at the end enhanced the sense of the audience being at one with the performer, and almost willing him never to end.
Einaudi says "For me it's about how you imagine the combination of colours in a composition. I like to establish relations between sounds to produce more complex sound textures and depth ."
Catherine Sedwick describes his impact thus: "Carrying you like a wave, the sometimes delicate, often passionately forceful arrangements undulate and scintillate, creating sounds that are otherworldly, mathematical and horological, or that reflect nature (seagulls, the roar of a wild animal), building slowly to crescendos, in harmony with visuals of geometric designs, a collage of muted contours and rotating planets or a huge crystal, zooming in and out and changing form. At times, like floating in space, the effect is hypnotic and gripping."
The applause as the last piece ended lasted longer than I can remember ever experiencing in the Concert Hall and just as we had decided that there was not going to be an encore, there was a rumbustious, hand-clapping, toe tapping, celebratory roller-coaster which allowed us to leave uplifted and grateful.
Ludovico Einaudi does not easily fit into existing genres. He has created one for himself and, one suspects, will enjoy pushing its limits.