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15 Questions to Velitchka Yotcheva

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Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hi! I am doing great! I am at home right now, having fun answering your questions.

What’s on your schedule right now?
It's been a very busy year so far. A few months ago I was on a tour in Egypt, then in Bulgaria, and I am currently getting ready for a few concerts in Tahiti (French Polynesia). Then, in December I am ending the year with a recording of Rachmaninov's Trios.

If you hadn’t chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?
It could not have been anything else than music. If I go back in time I would still make that choice. To be perfectly honest with you, besides music, when I was a kid, I did sometimes dream of becoming a race driver - I still love living in the fast lane... so there you have it!

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?

My grandma has always been my biggest influence. She has supported me from the very beginning. She used to work at the opera house in my home town, and on many occasions she had to babysit me even at work. It was a great treat for me to meet with the musicians and the artists there.

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

The hardest part is patience! It takes miles and miles of patience... Musicians spend countless hours practising in order to reach perfection. In reality, however, we all know that perfection does not exist. That's why most artists experience a sense of suffering. On the other hand, the best part of being a musician is the feeling after a performance. Therefore, in my opinion, the life of an artist can be defined as joyous suffering.

What's your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
I don't see a crisis. Sometimes artists assume that there is a crisis if they don't have a big audience or their CDs don't sell too well. It is true that competition in our field is becoming fiercer, but if a performer gives his/her best, plays with passion, and convincingly "transmits" the composer's message to the audience; he/she will always play in front of a full concert hall.

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 would not agree with them. It is true that the masterpieces are the same, but their interpretation by the performers is always different. In my opinion, by listening to the same piece again and again, one can always discover something new. It's like reading your favourite book time and again.

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

A good live performance is a performance that creates a spontaneous dialogue between the artist and the audience. 

My approach is that the artist is an interpreter - his/her goal is to deliver the composer's message to the audience. Technical skills are essential, but not the most important. I think more is needed to get people engaged in music. It is the personal touch that moves the audience and draws it into the dialogue. Music is like true love - there's no lies and no cheating.

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?

Personality! As I mentioned, every performer could have a different interpretation of the same masterpiece. I think my interpretation reflects my personality. I always try to "leave my fingerprints" on the music that I perform.

True or false: It is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions into the music he plays.
True. All the time I say that real art is beyond the realm of technical abilities of the musicians. Real art is feelings and emotions.

True or false: “Music is my first love”

True. My longest love affair in life has been with music.

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
False. Music has the magic to touch everyone, even those who have never experienced it before. After listening to music people normally have a good understanding of whether they liked it or not.

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

It's never been a goal for me to be a concert hall director, but if I am given the opportunity to pick up a few pieces, I would definitely go for the following, as it's been a long time since I have heard them in a live performance: Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6, Pathétique, Mahler Symphony No. 5, Shostakovich Symphony No.8, Brahms - Piano Concerto No.2, Brahms - Double Concerto for violin and cello.

What’s your favourite classical CD at the moment?

I have recently come upon a CD by Jerome Pernoo, a young French cellist, who plays Jacques Offenbach's Cello concerto. A really unique and impressive performance.

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

I play the piano as well. I actually have a Master's degree in piano interpretation.


Virtuoso pieces for Cello and Piano (Disques XXL-21 Records) 2005
J. S. BACH - The Six Cello Suites (Disques XXL-21 Records) 2005
FRANCK and BRAHMS – Sonatas for cello and piano (Disques XXL-21 Records) 2007

Velitchka Yotcheva

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