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15 Questions to Susanna Artzt

img  Tobias
Hi! How are you? Where are you?  
I’m fine, thank you. How are you?

What’s on your schedule right now?

Right now I’m preparing for my débuts at the Heidelberger Frühling, World Music Days – Biennale 2005 Zagreb, also Mozart-Concerto KV 503 with the Neue Philharmonie Westfalen, recitals in Austrian locations with Bach, Ravel and Debussy...  

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

As a spiritual person I’ve always felt that music is not only my occupation, but very much a call. It’s a part of me and my life, like breathing or praying. This means that I didn’t “choose” music, I feel I was - luckily - destined to do it.

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?
From my early years on I heard a lot of  classical music, of course, but also much of R&B, Soul music, Gospel, Jazz. This has been my inspiration in terms of searching for an ideal, rich sound of the piano. My favorite classical pianists are Arthur Rubinstein, Rudolf Serkin, Vladimir Horowitz, Julius Katchen and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.

What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
The hardest part? The balance between giving 100% of yourself physically and emotionally to the music and still being a “normal” person.  
The best parts: Music makes the (whatever) boundaries vanish.
When you leave the stage and you know you gave something that you would be remembered for.

What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
A crisis? In a creative way, no. In the economical way, for sure.  

Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them?
This is simply not true. The interpretations change with times! But even if someone chooses not to record often recorded music, there is still so much wonderful music from the past to discover. Also there is the contemporary music (like it or not, there are good composers out there). We have much to choose from!

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
This is one to write a book about! I’ll try to keep it as short as possible: intense (or should I say acribic) intellectual and emotional preparation, experience, good nerves, and last but not least an audience that inspires.
I think that performing on stage is a need, and again – a call. You either have it or not.

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?
I see the interpreter as a tool of bringing the composer’s creative work put down in notes to life.

True or false: It is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions into the music he plays.
If he’s not personal or emotional, I guess he’s not a good artist. Emotion doesn’t mean “self presentation” or being untrue to the idea of a composer. The best musicians are those that have strong  or interesting personalities. We shoudn’t divide one’s personality from his interpretation as we shoudn’t divide one’s technic from his musicality. Those things go together.

True or false: “Music is my first love”
I’ll put it this way: Music has luckily always been a substantial part of my life.

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
False. However, it doesn’t hurt if they know something about it.

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
I would be a very non-economic-thinking artistic director. I woudn’t care that much for selling tickets. The program would include only high quality artists, among them not only well known ones.

What’s your favourite classical CD at the moment?
Schubert ( Piano Trio in E flat major ) by Rudolf Serkin and the Busch brothers from 1935.

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?
I have a long-time fascination for singing! 

Susanna Artzt

Debussy/Boulanger/Scriabin (Zulus Records)

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