Tag Archives: music

Krystian Zimerman

I found this wonderful  interview with great pianist Krystian Zimerman. He talks eloquently about music, artistic journey, sound production, depth and the art of performance. Below: a few inspiring quotes from the interview:

“Music is not sound. Music is actually a flow of emotions organized in time. We are using sound for this. But the sound is not so terribly important as we think. You know, in the last twenty, thirty years – we’ve had an over exposure of sound and sometimes from all these trees, we don’t see the forest anymore…”

“I think honesty is the most important thing. You have to be an honest performer and he piece will develop in your heart, it will mature together with you. And then, the audience also has to mature together with you to understand what happens when you are maturing…”

“The performer has to be the first victim of his performance. He has to honestly die when the piece calls for it.”

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Anna Buchenhorst

Anna Buchenhorst is a full-time professional pianist at the Royal Opera in Stockholm and tours internationally with the Royal Swedish Ballet.

Anna Buchenhorst – photo credit Alex bild

 

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.

Inspiration …

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.

Anna Buchenhorst – photo caption: Annaguld högupplöst

 

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!

Career highlights? 

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:

http://www.annabuchenhorst.se/Anna_Buchenhorst/Home.html

@AnnaBuchenhorst

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Hélène Grimaud

‘Hélène Grimaud is undeniably one of the finest pianists before the public today…’ Robert Cummings

Hélène Grimaud (Ei Gwefan)

Hélène Grimaud – Photo Credit: Mat Hennek http://helenegrimaud.com

 

The brilliant and passionate pianist Hélène Grimaud talks about wolf conservation, musicianship, Liszt Sonata, live performance and about her synesthesia … A must see video by director and host Alexis Bloom for Quick Hits.

Now, to hear Hélène Grimaud play Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B Minor. Magnificent work!

 http://helenegrimaud.com

@HeleneGrimaud

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Vladimir Horowitz

By Gerrits, Roland / Anefo [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Gerrits, Roland / Anefo [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The Masters Series …  Some wise words from a great pianist, an idol of mine  – Vladimir Horowitz.

I must tell you I take terrible risks. Because my playing is very clear, when I make a mistake you hear it. If you want me to play only the notes without any specific dynamics, I will never make one mistake. Never be afraid to dare.’

– Vladimir Horowitz

The film contains mainly performances of classical works, but also provides an intimate look into Horowitz’s private life. A real must see!

INTERVIEWER: “Who is your favourite of all? ”

VH: “This one, no! This and this … those two!”

“Don’t be afraid! Say Rachmaninoff!”

VH: “Rachmaninoff is a pianist! I play with him … Rachmaninoff … He was a wonderful pianist and nice friend. He was my best friend… First of all he was composer, pianist and conductor. Three things at one, and first class all three, I think so…”

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Daniel Barenboim 

Maurizio Pollini, Daniel Barenboim and Claudio Abbado at La Scala (www.danielbarenboim.com)

 

I maintain music is not here to make us forget about life. It’s also here to teach us about life: the fact that everything starts and ends, the fact that every sound is in danger of disappearing, the fact that everything is connected – the fact that we live and we die.

Daniel Barenboim

A valuable and insightful video by great pianist Daniel Barenboim on ‘How to listen to music’ 

http://youtu.be/LCKZDSIHV80

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Julian Toha

“Julian reflects a new generation of performers”  Michael Edwards (NFMC)

‪I believe that a renaissance is on the verge of happening in the classical music world and it is just a matter of collecting the right group of star-quality artists to lead the way… Julian Toha

When and how did your interest in music and the piano start?

‪Lessons were setup for my brother to learn and at the time I was just becoming a teenager. I thought that I’d also like to make an attempt at learning piano.

Recent work …

‪Most recently I completed a US tour consisting of about 80 concerts and events. On tour, our team and I presented a one-hour multimedia concert that included dance video, installations, soundscapes and newly commissioned piano works that were wrapped in a loose narrative.

Below – Immersion Tour 2013-14 Teaser | Pianist Julian Toha 

‪Challenges faced …

‪As a pianist there are many challenges especially in the world we live in: cultural impact, tour logistics, life/work balance and creative development. I wouldn’t say that there was a single event that towers over the steady stream of challenges, but instead there is difficulty in dealing with substantial issues like life/work balance at the same time as setting up a tour and flourishing creatively. This profession, just like any other, is at the highest levels extremely demanding.

‪Influences …

‪Other pianists are always interesting to listen to and learn from, but I find most inspiration in artists, dance companies and composers. People who I especially enjoy would be Gerhard Richter,The Hofesh Shechter Company, Dale Chihuly,  and Carl Vine among others.

‪Any advice to young pianists who wish to pursue careers as concert pianists?

 

Julian Toha Credit - http://www.juliantoha.com/about/

Julian Toha
Credit – http://www.juliantoha.com/about/

 

‪I believe that a renaissance is on the verge of happening in the classical music world and it is just a matter of collecting the right group of star-quality artists to lead the way. At the moment, there is an abundance of non-artist performers who aspire to climb the ranks, but those who create a truly compelling voice will be brought in as the leaders of the industry.

‪Do what you’re passionate about and blend it with your love for music. Only when you are being yourself can you become a standout among thousands of virtuosi.

Hopes for the future …

‪At the moment, I have shifted my focus towards music education and I’d like to tackle some of the major issues in the field. I feel that right now is the time for technology to alter the music education industry and improve upon many of the traditions of the past. As we approach the technological singularity, music education is more important than any other time in history – it is shaping the creative minds that will determine the future.

Julian Toha Inspira – This image is from one of many children workshops that Julian Toha does on tour.

W: www.juliantoha.com

Y: http://www.yelp.com/biz/pacific-piano-school-san-jose

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pianistjuliantoha

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David Ianni

  The Composer – Part2

Are there any issues in the world of music composition that you feel strongly about?

In my early teens I used to be frustrated that contemporary music apparently had to be atonal and cacophonous to be taken seriously. At first I thought that the musicians and critics who seem to enjoy this kind of music are crazy. Or are they fooling the world? Later I assumed that something was wrong with me, since I simply could not understand the “art” of Stockhausen or Boulez for example. But then I realised that it is not my job to “judge” other people’s music or tastes, but to develop my own style and express my musical, emotional and spiritual values through my music, regardless of the styles that are en vogue.

I remember that getting to know the work of Arvo Pärt was a liberating experience for me during that period. His music helped me to understand that a diversity of musical styles is the new reality of contemporary music. There is still a place and a need for tonal beauty in music. David Ianni – Afterthought – SoundCloud – Listen to David’s work!

Can you tell us more about your new album “Prayers of Silence” that will be released in 2013?

My new album will include 15 piano pieces that I have composed over the last five years. As the title suggests, these are mostly quiet and meditative compositions, which revolve around the notion that the mother of all music is silence. The opening piece is called “Obsculta”, the Latin word for “listen”. Didn’t you once twitter about Alfred Brendel’s astute observation that “listen” and “silent” contain the same letters? Even if it is a coincidence, I feel that there is a strong connection between listening and silence, and they are the foremost requirements for music to exist. My music attempts to offer the listener a moment of inner silence and clarity. At its centre, my “Prayers of Silence” are a musical reflection of the evanescence and preciousness of life. 

Whose work do you admire as a composer and why?

I could name a hundred influential personalities that shaped my musical path, but I will limit myself to three outstanding musicians of our time. Being a composer-pianist, Leonard Bernstein has been a great inspiration for me. His music is complex, well crafted and accessible at the same time. As a performer and teacher, he brought the gift of music to millions of people. Then there is John Williams, who even at age eighty draws one immortal melody after the other from the aether as if he were picking cherries from a tree. I have always loved his music. Third on today’s list is Eric Whitacre. His way to reach out to his audience is quite amazing. Whitacre has done a lot for choral music, one of the purest and most beautiful art forms. Classical music will never be mainstreamed, but it is very important to make it accessible to as many people as possible.

It always makes me happy to see young people being moved by beautiful music. Isn’t it wonderful that music can change a life? Every time a musician touches a soul, there must be an angel in heaven rejoicing and praising God’s glory.

Click here to read Part One of interview 

Want to listen to his music? Check out his YouTube channel here

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