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15 Questions to Tatjana Rankovich

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Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hi, I am well and happy to be living in New York City... for now.

What’s on your schedule right now?

I am learning several wonderful new works by contemporary composers like Henry Martin, Robert Muczynski, Bruce Stark and Joseph Rubenstein, which are the works I will be playing at the Keys To the Future Festival in New York in March. I am also working on the Second Piano Concerto by a composer Ionel Petroi, who is also mu husband. It is great working together and we are planing a recording of both of his Piano Concertos at some point soon. Besides all this contemporary repertoire, I am playing great works by Mozart, Schumann, Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff at some upcoming recitals".

Can you still remember the first time you heard a piece of classical music?
From the day I was born, classical music was around me. My mom was a piano teacher, my grandmother also played and everyone sang. So the music was all around me. But the most crucial moment came when I heard the Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and his Sixth Symphony "Pathetique". I was six years old and I was mesmerized.

What was the deciding moment, which made you want to become an artist?
-I was seven years old when my mom took me to an all Schumann piano recital. At that moment, I knew that I wanted to be a pianist.

What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?

For me, the hardest is dealing with the media, promotion for the sake of money and making things attractive for the sake of an effect and entertainment.
The best is, when what I believe in is being recognized. When I touch my audience introducing them to something enriching and never heard before.

Do you consider it important that more young people care for classical music? If so, how, do you think, could this be achieved?
Yes, it is very important that younger people care for classical music. But, this can be achieved only through education that starts at home, in schools, cities and countries where we live and if it is promoted in a meaningful and interesting way for a young person to become curious about it.

How would you rate the importance of the Internet and new media for classical music?

It all seems much more available to everyone and also, all artists are promoted in a more equal way.

With so many different recordings of a particular piece available – how do you keep yours fresh and different?
I always play pieces for which I feel great affinity. Then, I feel that they are my own story and that everyone hears them for the first time.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?

A good performance is the one that has a clear story, beginning to end without neglecting any detail. Must have a certain rhythmical energy suited for the work being played. Performing on stage requires
being in the “zone.”

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?
It means to understand the language of the composer in order to explain its meaning and to tell a particular story in the best possible way. Good taste and a sense for a flow. It always must have a direction.

How do you balance the need to put your personal emotions into the music you play and the intentions of the composer?
The best was is to be a sort of a medium linking a composer and the listener. One who delivers composers message and makes a point of making it understood and hopefully loved. The deeper I feel and understand the music, the better I will send the message.

What’s your view on the relationship between musical education and classical music?
-Classical music does require education from an early age. To be exposed to it through ones family, school, admired teachers and friends who we look up to.

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
I would like to make a better awareness of great, American Neo-Romantic and Neo-Classical composers like Nicolas Flagello, Vittorio Giannini, Paul Creston Walter Piston, and Peter Mennin. There are so many great works by these composers. It’s a shame that people don’t know more about them.

How would you describe the relationship with your instrument?


Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?

I never did.


Nicholas Flagello (Artek) 1996
Piano Sonatas by Prokofiev, Mediner, Shostakovich (Phoenix) 2006
American Piano Works (Phoenix) 2006
Flagello Piano Concerto No. 1 (Naxos) 2007

Tatjana Rankovich

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