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15 Questions to Michael Zisman (Bandoneon)

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
I’m fine. I’m at home, sitting at my computer.


What’s on your schedule right now?
Eat lunch, practice, concert in the early evening, maybe poker later in the night.


If you hadn’t chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?
Flooring inspector.


What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?
Argentinian tango music; astor piazzolla.


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

The hardest is probably the lack of regular income or the need to sell yourself. the best is the independence and the ability to express yourself, the ability to do what you like most and earn a life with it.


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

I wouldn’t rightly know, since i am not to deeply involved with the classical scene in general.


Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them?
Everyone should record, what he has the need to. A recording is not only to make a new statement, but to create a memento from a certain point in the career of a musician.


What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
I think the most important thing on stage is to express emotions through the music, and to transmit it to the public in order to catch the listeners, and most of all, let them experience a great time. The public should be reached with an honest and real message, not an artificial one and without the explicit focus on superficialities like e.g. wardrobe, haircut or excessive show. We should touch the listener, give him something, a musical way of gratitude. We performing artists tend to forget, that the public is the reason we exist.


What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?

Interpretation in my opinion is the freedom to express the music how YOU feel and perceive it or how YOU think the composer meant and felt it.


How do you balance the need to to put your personal emotions into the music you play and the intentions of the composer?
I very much put my personal emotions into the music, because i have the constant desire to create. I try to be as individual as possible without violating the intentions of the composer. Let’s say, i want play the music as personal as possible, but if the composer would sit in the crowd listening to it, i would want him to like what i play. my goal is to capture the essence of the piece (or of the composers intention) and develop it in my way.


True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
False. Any kind of Music can be appreciated without studying it. That doesn’t go for the playing, though.


You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?

-    Serenade by leonard bernstein
-    Violin concerto by korngold
-    An american in paris by george gershwin
-    Tango ballet and concierto de nacar by astor piazzolla
-    Concerto for bandoneon and orchestra by michael zisman!


How would you describe the relationship with your instrument?
My instrument is like a part of my body or a member of my family, an extention of my soul. I feel lost without it.


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

Yes i have. Piano: ok., not great. Guitar: pretty terrible. Violin: excrutiating pain! Singing: so bad that i don’t even want to torture my shower with it.

Picture by Marcel Meier

Discography:
Imagenes (Zytglogge) 1999
Nuestro Tiempo (Zytglogge) 2000
Live (Inakustik) 2000
Piazzolla (Disques Office) 2003
Uomo Blanco/ w. Sandro Schneebeli Word Music Group (Brambus Records) 2003
Fascinacion Tango (Music Passion/Disques Office/Tiemposur) 2004
Todo Corazon (Eleg Masterworks) 2005
Conciertango (Arts Music) 2006

Homepage:
Michael Zisman (Bandoneon)

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