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15 Questions to Nadejda Vlaeva

img  Tobias
Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Exploring the depths of the musical world. Currently residing in New York City.

What’s on your schedule right now?
Concerts in North Carolina; then comes Long Island, followed by  New York, Lincoln Center with violinist Cho Liang Lin, then comes Rachmaninoff 2 with Hamilton Philharmonic in Canada, Chopin 2 with Wroclaw Philharmonic in Poland, recital in Warsaw and Sofia, Bulgaria.
And recently I played a recital in New York, participated in a tsunami benefit also in New York and returned from concerts in Spain, Holland and UK.

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

Any kind of art would be my passion like writing, painting, photographing, decorating. But I have also admired the medical profession.

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?
Observing art  and life and and living it to the fullest have enriched my  mind with thoughts and my emotional world with a great variety of feelings and this is such an important requisit for becoming an artist.
What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
The hardest is to be all things to yourself – performer, agent, manager, sponsor, assistant, hair-dresser, driver, translator, travel agent….should I continue that list? At one or another stage of our career we all get to do everything for ourselves.
The best is that one gets to experience life on a level of sensitivity and creativity that is known to just a few and one can touch many souls. Also  participating in many exciting events, meeting interesting people, have friends in different countries and being able to communicate through music as an international language at any time.

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

There is a crisis. The majority of the people are NOT exposed to classical music and many of them feel uncomfortable and estranged from the classical music world. They don’t dare to feel on their own but would like to be told what to feel about classical music.

Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them?

Whenever I have a concert my CDs seem to sell. And I could say the same for concerts of other artists. I myself also buy CDs. CDs will always sell for the person who is interested. The problem is in the quality of the performance on the one hand and the interest of the people in classical music on the other.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
Good live performance begins its way before it becomes live. Excellent preparation is very important. It gives the artist stability and confidence which lead to freedom. And this is necessary to give way to spontaneity and some amount of risks the performer has to allow himself to take while performing on stage. A good performance is not necessarily the perfect one. Sometimes perfection is the enemy of emotion. Good performance is genuine and true. The one that communicates and reaches people. So that they may not know how certain piece originated but they can experience the emotions that conceived that piece in first place.
Good performance is letting the listeners temporarily  “own” a part of it that they find for themselves and at the same time keep the memory of it permanently long after the performance is gone.
And live performance should be LIVE, breathing, flowing, in motion even in its stillness.

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?
Interpretation is a concept one develops about a certain piece based on intuition, knowledge, experience.

True or false: It is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions into the music he plays.
True. If you don’t want to expose yourself and be an individual better not be an artist.

True or false: “Music is my first love”

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
Great music can be appreciated even without education. If we are talking about a deeper level of appreciation then yes, it requires more listening and familiarity.

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
I would include a lot of artists who have a great talent but not a great career. There  is a discrepancy between musical talent and career. There are  artists who have a lot to say but haven’t had the opportunity to say it in front of a great number of people and others who get a lot of exposure but don’t have much to say.

What’s your favourite classical CD at the moment?

At the moment Byron Janis’s Rachmaninov 2nd concerto.

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?
I have tried organ, harpsichord, accordion and guitar and would call it only “trying” and not “playing”. The latter requires much more than just tickling the strings or the keys. I went further with the harpsichord and took some classes. But while playing I always missed the singing tone and melting legato one could produce at the piano.


Chopin Works for Piano and Orchestra (Gega New)
A Liszt Recital (Musicians Showcase)
Dimiter Christoff - The Piano Music Volume 2 (Concord Concerto)

Nadejda Vlaeva

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