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15 Questions to Lisa Batiashvili

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Hi! How are you? Where are you?
I am very well, thank you! Sitting on my terrace at home in Munich and enjoying a break from reading a new concerto by Magnus Lindberg.

What’s on your schedule right now?

I’m going through the third movement and then I will get into the car and fetch my daughter from the Kindergarten.

If you hadn’t chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?
I don’t really know as I have played the violin all my life and it is so hard to imagine doing something else, especially when both of my parents are also musicians. But I like many other things as well. I adore being with children, maybe I would have become a child minder or something like that.

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?
Different aspects and people. My parents, my teachers, people I have worked with and not least my husband.

What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
For the hard part, you have to basically devote your life to it; you have to get used to travelling, sleeping in different places; you must always be physically and mentally in a good shape, creative and still disciplined, self confident while also listening to other people, sensitive and robust at the same time.

The great thing is that you have such freedom in music (at least we should try to) whereas in many other jobs you have to do what you are told to do. We have freedom and the privilege to see music as a “JOB”, something so wonderful that brings people so much joy and takes them into other world.

What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?

I like the fact that people are now showing their musical interests in a variety of ways. Today’s musicians play solo, chamber music, ancient and new music. We have to use our imagination and courage so that we can draw a wider audience. I see an immense change in Classical Music business due to the digital and virtual possibilities; i.e. iTunes, internet streaming etc...soon, the audience will be able to download and listen to most of our live performances so the artists are expected to be technically more perfect then ever. I am hoping that these new advances which give people additional access to live recordings will not result in a lower turn-out in the concert halls. It is important that people still be aware of the fact that there is nothing more exciting than attending a live performance and feeling every moment with the artists!

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 do agree that one can be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of classical recordings that exist. It is sometimes difficult to choose which recordings we want to purchase - let’s say of the Sibelius or Mendelssohn concertos and the record companies are aware of this. That is why artists with record contracts are so highly promoted. It can sometimes seem like it only matters WHO records instead of WHAT PIECE is being recorded. I think it is important that we aim to bring out recordings that combine a greater mixture of repertoire; something one feels strongly about. It is extremely important to record with the musicians we love to collaborate with. That way, each recording can bring something unique and personal to the listeners.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
Living the moment on the stage, being spontaneous and reacting to other musicians. I just try to bring out what I feel in music, to say something with it and to communicate to the audience through music.

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?
This is something which changes with time and experience. Interpretation is ”how one understands the piece”. I sometimes change my opinion in life and so it is with music. I am constantly striving to find new ways of expressing what’s within the music and this helps to keep things fresh, new and exciting. I think it is essential to return to the score and to see what the composer wanted to say and then it is our duty to let the music go through out bodies and souls, bringing it out in our own way and to our personal tastes. Some will like it, some won’t, but it is important to remain true to what one really feels.

True or false: It is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions into the music he plays.

True or false: “Music is my first love”
I don’t think one can compare a love of music to human love; they are two different things

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
True/at least they have to be introduced to it in the right way

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
Mostly chamber music, also baroque, new music with an interesting mixture of artists and a few great chamber orchestras (if I could afford it)

What’s your favourite classical CD at the moment?
Ralf Gothoni, Ana Cumanchenco, Schubert on ONDINE, unfortunately it’s no longer available…shame on them.

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?
I played piano when I was a child but I would need to invest as much time as I do with the violin to achieve a proper level.


Works for Violin and Piano (2001) EMI

Lisa Batiashvili

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