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15 Questions to Danjulo Ishizaka

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Thanks – doing pretty well! Right now I am in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

What’s on your schedule right now?
Concerts here and in Saarbrücken with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, performing Tchaikovsky’s Rokoko Variations

If you hadn’t chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?
I might be a pilot.

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?
My teacher Boris Pergamenschikow.

What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
The best is this joy, pleasure and indescribable range of emotions evoked by this miracle called music. When there is too much traveling one can get tired occasionally what one forgets the latest when being back on stage.

What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
There is a crisis, certainly. There is a lack of musical education and training of very basic musical knowledge which is necessary in order to benefit from the language of classical music. I see that more and more orchestras and concert series are dying; especially young people only want entertainment and less culture.

Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them?
I am convinced that every good artist is unique. Besides, up to certain extent, every time has its own artists and people want their recordings. It is both what we need. Todays artists also have insights that artists in those days didn’t have.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
Forgetting about oneself because simply the music is the most important and its reflections will have the greatest impact on the audience.

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?
The so called musical approach – how one studies a piece and what influences, convictions, ideas and inspiration one concentrates in the process of learning. This is the active part about it. The other part is the personality of the artist coming out while performing.

How do you balance the need to to put your personal emotions into the music you play and the intentions of the composer?

When you study a piece one has to think of the composer’s intention, background of life and why he/she wrote the piece at this particular moment. When you actually perform the piece you have to become a part of it to a certain extent and have to reflect more rather than being intellectual. I am sure the composers doesn’t want an attitude of paralyzing respect because that’d be contra productive.

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
True. Some people absorb this education through their environment – in other words they are self educational; some who don’t have this skill or didn’t have this musical background i.e. in their parents’ house need a literal education. There is one condition for it: their interest in music must have been inflamed at one point. And this is something we musicians are capable to do.

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
Especially contemporary music. It is not about an obligation to “educate” the audience. It is the chance for them to understand that contemporary music can have just as much beauty as Bach. And therefore is needed as much as the music of earlier times. We also need to hear the music of our time because many composers reflect our time and its Zeitgeist in it.

How would you describe the relationship with your instrument?
Like the one of your soul and your body.

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?
When I was four I started playing the piano and started to learn cello a little later. I loved piano however after the first weeks of playing cello it became clear that my talent would have been made for it. The piano’s repertoire is unbelievable; technically the piano would have been a struggle for me though.

Picture by Johannes Ifkovits

Cello Sonatas (Sony Classical) 2006

Danjulo Ishizaka

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