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15 Questions to Ivajla Kirova

img  Tobias
Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hi! I’m fine, thank you. I am in Munich, Germany, where I have lived since 1997.

What’s on your schedule right now?
I’m teaching a master course and I’m giving a concert in Bulgaria in May, after my jury membership in the International Piano Competition "Classical and Contemporary".

If you hadn’t chosen music, what do you think you would do right now?

My two great passions are music and flying. I’ve been fascinated by flying since earliest childhood, but I wanted to be a musician more. If I hadn’t,  I’d certainly be a pilot. That’s my unfulfilled dream.

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?

Gerhard Oppitz, my piano professor. I had the big chance to take his master class in Munich and that was the most important period of my musical education.

What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
The hardest and the best is the development as a musician... Until a concert pianist receives his master degree, he takes 18-20 years of piano lessons. In other occupations only 4-5 years are necessary. However, to receive recognition and to be successful as a musician is a great and indescribable feeling.

What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
No, I don’t think that there is a crisis. Classical music was always for a selected, intelligent circle of people and not for the crowd.

Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them?
People have listened to classical music for centuries and enjoy it over and over again. In fact, you can never play one piece in the same way twice, but not many people understand this. Nowadays there are many pop songs releases every day which get forgotten by the next week. Is there really any need to record them?

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

Charisma is very important during a live performance, in addition to all other qualitites. My approach to performing on stage is to be concentrated, to forget the public and to be free. I believe this is necessary for success.

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?

To present as precisely and faithfully as possible the composer’s conception, not one’s own. The classical performers are like interior designers - they furnish a house, but they don’t build it. It’s a pity that over and over again even well-known performers interpret some composers so that you can barely recognize them...  

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

True, but this is not the most important thing. As I said before, the performer must above all understand the composer as well as possible. The personal emotions must not predominate.

True or false: “Music is my first love”.

True, but it isn’t only love, it’s much more...

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
False. Either you feel love for classical music in your heart or not. Of course the influence by  the family or education can contribute to this, but that isn’t decisive. You cannot  educate feelings or love for music into someone.

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

In my opinion, the people in Europe know not nearly enough about bulgarian music and I have always tried to popularize it more. Composers like Vladigerov, Nenov, Pipkov are regarded as national celebrities in Bulgaria. Earlier musicians like David Oistrach, Arthur Nikisch and Wilhelm Furtwängler presented these compositions. Herbert von Karajan passed his state examination with the first piano concerto of Vladigerov. In Germany, however, find you the names on the concert programs only rarely...

What’s your favourite classical CD at the moment?
I am currently listening to the 24 Preludes and the 2-nd Sonata of Rachmaninov with Vladimir Ashkenazy. It is an exceptionally beautiful CD!

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

Yes, I tried several as a child, just out of curiosity. However, I always only took piano lessons. I know exactly what I wanted.


Bach/Beethoven/Brahms (Art Voice Media) 2001
Concert Highlights (Gregor Antes Labor) 2002


Ivajla Kirova

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