Anna Buchenhorst is a full-time professional pianist at the Royal Opera in Stockholm and tours internationally with the Royal Swedish Ballet.
She explains more about her early years, influences and work …
I come from a musical family, my mother was my first teacher and me and my brother Per Rundberg played four-hands a lot as children and still do to this day.
We lived close to a forest and I like to think that nature gave me the calmness that is needed for this profession.
Can you tell us a bit about your early music education in the North of Sweden?
When I grew older I got a teacher called Björn Ejdemo. He was a fantastic pianist and pedagog, very inspiring and I still tend to turn to him when I have important concerts coming up.
Did any tutors/professors along the way create a lasting impression on you?
My first musical studies at the Academy of Music in Gothenburg was with Stella Tjajkovski, a polish professor and concert pianist and also survivor of the concentration camp in Auschwitz. With her I got to play a lot of Chopin and also Bach and Mozart. Later I moved to Budapest, Hungary to study at the Liszt-Academy with Márta Gulyás and I liked very much how she combined musical teaching with technical solutions.
Later I came to London to study with Peter Feuchtwanger, who was interested in Zen Buddhism, and gave me some exercises based on the the philosophy of letting it happen, which I still do every morning.
My first inspiration was and still is my brother Per Rundberg, but I also love the way Murray Perahia played the Mozart concertos, Radu Lupo plays Schubert and Gregory Sokolov plays Couperin to mention a few.
I try to frequent piano recitals as often as I can, live music is something much more interesting than recordings, and I like to sit close to the performers.
Advice to young pianists?
You have to like your practice. You shouldn’t do this to become rich and famous, but rather because you love piano music.
Be open to new connections, you never know who will help you to get concerts.
Never cancel a concert and choose your projects carefully.
If someone is jealous it’s name of the game, just laugh at it inside.
Be persevering and try to have fun along the way. Try to find your love for music every day.
The most difficult challenge overcome as a pianist?
The combination of being a single mother with two daughters and a pianist wasn’t always easy, but it also gave me a lot of strength and motivation. My little family helped me to switch off from the stressful bits of artistry, and I learned how to plan my time.
Recently I had to learn the piano part to twenty newly written trumpet concerts for a competition in a short time, I really regret accepting the invitation but I didn’t cancel. I also made some new rules for my sight reading – always look a few bars ahead!
Can you tell us a bit about your experience at the Liszt Academy in Budapest?
The biggest difference compared my studies in Sweden was that there were about ten times as many pianists and that their tradition and history is very impressive. Those two years where absolutely amazing!
I always hope that my highlight or peak will be my next concert, so at the moment I am looking forward to playing Mozart’s piano concerto no 21 in two weeks with a symphony orchestra in the north of Sweden. (I just love to play with orchestras, as a soloist or even just an ordinary piano part. I was playing violin as a child and that helped my understanding of the orchestra a lot.) Travelling in Chopin’s footsteps last summer was a recent highlight that made me come closer to the understanding of a composer. I also have a nice memory of working with the comedian Victor Borge. He was clear and demanding and we got a funny clip that I have on YouTube playing Chopin: