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15 Questions to the Tosheff Piano Duo

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hi there! Well, right now we are on the plane to Los Angeles flying from Frankfurt.

What’s on your schedule right now?

We are coming back from Kitzingen (Germany) where we performed a recital at the Seiler Piano Festival. We are staying for a week in California and then are recording in London and Hannover, Germany.

If you hadn’t chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?
It would have definetely been something artsy again, maybe professional dancing or acting/modeling, drawing...but you know we can’t even imagine our lives without playing and performing as a piano duo. This is our destiny!

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?
WHAT: has  always been around us.  We have professional musicians and music lovers in both sides of our families.
We have got a great inspiration from our teacher in Germany—Prof. Bernd Goetzke, who was the last pupil of the great pianist Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. We also honor our first pianoduo teacher Madame Janine Reding (Monaco) and our current teacher in Los Angeles, Prof. John Perry. Our teachers in Bulgaria also gave us wonderful  knowledge about the music -- Stella Dimitrova, Teodora Nestorova, Jenny Zacharieva and many others.

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

Vely: The hardest part is to survive being a musician. In our days to choose the music as your profession is not very practical decision. But the true love for music keeps your spirit and soul lifted and despite all the difficulties, inside, you live in a perfect world – the unlimited and beautiful world of the music. And that is probably the best part...
Ilia: Hardest: To make a living out of performing solely. Best: the joy and pleasure of making music and respectively the great sense of accomplishment after giving a recital.

What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
Vely: maintain the listener/buyer’s interest today is a very hard task. All the composers and musicians should come up with some creative ideas to present classical music in a way that the audience would not be bored. Composers should create music that is not for limited circles only, performes should be attractive – the way they look and the way they play the music.
 Ilia: Yes, it’s happening  globally. But I strongly believe that it will start going up again.

Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them
Vely: On the contrary: more and more music should be recorded, because it could be of use for anyone, for any reason. Either educational or for listening pleasure.
Ilia: There will always be something different, something unique in any interpretation and recording respectively.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
Vely: Live performances are very hard for the performer himself. It entirely depends on how much time the performer had to prepare the repertoire.  And also life curcumstances. Every performer(s) should be given the right amount of time to prepare the pieces, because the worse thing ever is to feel uncomfortable on stage. Plus everybody is watching and listening to you. But nevertheless a good live performance is one that is a joy for the eyes and soul.
Ilia: I’d say: Be truthful to the music and respect each phrase. Feel the beauty of the music and convey that to your audience.

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?

Vely: Mainly the personal way of understanding the musical ideas of the composer and the music and style itself.
Ilia: Your personal touch to the music – a vast  sea of colors, feelings, moods and emotions. Technically speaking – it is the touch, articulation and responsibility to what the music says.

True or false: It is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions into the music he plays.
Vely: Yes, true. Nobody needs performing robots with great technical skills
Ilia: There are no rules or limits as far as feelings or emotions in music. That is the beauty of it.

True or false: “Music is my first love”

Yes, true. With a little correction: Music is our love forever! There is no music without love and no love without music!

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
Mainly the ones that are educated are going to appreciate it more.
Ilia: TRUE. Not necessarily in a sense of learning an instrument but at least to be educated in appreciating the art.

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

Lots of interesting new projects and ideas, new names, exciting young artists, combinations of different art styles, people and etc.

What’s your favourite classical CD at the moment?
In general, piano duo music, either music for two pianos (with or without orchestra) or one piano 4 hands. We listen to a lot of classical radio stations like K-Mozart and KUSC, here in LA. But we do not listen to classical music only, we listen to current hits as well.

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

Vely had tried playing the cello once, and she managed to play a famous tune, but that was just for fun, just as a joke. It was in a show. We have tried percussions as well and tought we are good at the rhythm and had great fun. It was very fascinating.

Tosheff Piano Duo

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