PIANIST NIKOLAY KHOZYAINOV
CHOPIN, AS I INTERPRET HIM
Exclusive Interview By: Iride Aparicio
SILICON VALLEY, CA -- Award-Winning Classical concert pianist Nikolay Khozyainov virtuosity is known by symphonic orchestras around the world. He has performed with The London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo SymphonyOrchestra, the Czech National Symphonic Orchestra, the Russian State Symphony Orchestra and the RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland to name a few. Frédéric Chopin's, (l810-l848) music at the piano is so outstanding, that one of the many awards he has received was given to him in 2010 for being the youngest finalist of the XVI InternationalFrydryk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw Poland. His concerts have already had a large selective audience in Europe and in Japan. In 2018, his Tokyo's Suntory hall concert in Japan, had the honor to have Empress Michiko of Japan. in person in his audience.
Now we too can become part of his audience, because from December 10 to 13, 2021, we will be given the unique opportunity to listen to Nikolay Khozyainov in the privacy of your own homes because he will be playing a complete concert of Chopin' music streamed online, as part of the CONCERT HALL CONCERTS series sponsored by the Steinway Society the Bay Area.
To allow his future online audience to better understand his interpretations of Chopin's music, Cultural World Bilingual, interviewed Nikolay Khozyainov in Germany, where he is living after receiving an Advance Degree from the Hannover Hochshule fur Music under the guidance of Professor Arie Vardi. We are publishing his descriptions to us, in his own words. We started our interview by asking him.
C.W.B. :How did you get acquainted with Chopin's music? N.K "I was born in the Far East of Russia in a city called Blagoveschensk, on the Russian Border with China with a river called Amour separating the two countries. I do not have musicians in my family, my mother is a pediatrician and my father was in the military. There was a music shop, near the place where we were living They were sellin record and to attract clients they were played music the whole day, including Beethoven,Tchaikovsky and Chopin among others. One day, when I was at the music shop, I heard Chopin's music, and as soon as I heard it I was overwhelmed by its beauty and poetry. Absolutely mesmerized. It had opened for me the door to another world, to another realm, and this new world, its richness and subtlety captivated me. It became irresistible to me. It had magic, mystery. Chopin captured my heart on that day," he pauses, "It was an incredible revelation to me, because I was only 5 years old."
C.W.B. That was Amazing! What happened next? N.K.: "I started spending all my time in that music shop listening to music. And after a while I cam up to my mother and I told her that I wanted to play, that I wanted to make music myself. I didn't know which instrument I wanted to play, because I didn't know any at the time. At first, she didn't take me seriously but I was very persistent. She took me to the piano room at the kindergarden, where she was working, and it was there that I started playing by ear themes (from different composers)that I heard in the music shop. . Shortly after that, my mother took me to a music school in Blagoveschensk and later on bought me an old Russian upright piano. I made such fast progress at the school, that after a few months I gave a concert as a soloist with a local orchestra. After that, all my teachers insisted that I needed to go to Moscow to a real school: The Moscow Conservatory. I moved to Moscow when I was six years old and after several months I debuted at the legendary Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory playing the Handel Concerto.
C.W.B: How Did you start playing Chopin's music? N.K. " My first piece was Chopin's Nocturne in C minor, Op. posth. when I was 6 years old. After that, I started playing his waltzes, his Mazurkas and other miniatures. I learned them quickly. I was learning several miniatures of Chopin a day already, at that time,"
C.W.B.: How did you feel when playing his music? N.K.:"I felt Chopin's pieces, emotionally, they are very rich, very complex, very fine and very subtle. I also learned that to play Chopin you need to have a great technique, but that having a great technique is not enough. You need to feel his music. It is not enough to move your fingers quickly, you need to "interpret" his music, you needed to put all your heart and all your soul in the performance because his music is mysterious and magical. It is intangible. It goes beyond anything we can express in words. Many years have passed since I started playing Chopin, and my love for his art has only grown and continues growing even now , after I have recorded all the works of Chopin. Still now, when I play Chopin, his music moves me. Sometimes it fills me with joy. Sometimes, it makes me cry, or makes me doubt. It gives me despair and it gives me happiness, anguish, even suffering. As a pianist, Chopin's emotions touch me very deeply When I play Chopin, I hear the voice of the great poet in his music."
C.W.B. Have you ever read something about his life? N.K.: "Yes. I always study all existing sources related to a composer and his compositions. Letters, first editions and above all their manuscripts. Nothing can replace the original manuscript. For me it is the most important source, it helps me to understand, to feel the composer's intentions. Chopin was a very strong man, a man who lived with and suffered from tuberculosis for over 20 years. And yet, his spirit remained unbroken."
C.W.B. How do you describe your concert to your online audience? N.K:" I will start my recital with the 4th Ballade in in F minor, my favorite of the ballades, it is a piece full of desperation and beuty. Chopin wrote this piece in Nohant, at the estate of George Sands, (the pen name of the romantic writer woman that Chopin lived with) after he returned from his trip to Majorca, which ended up being disastrous. It was a winter full of suffering and anguish for him. This year in August, I gave a concert in the very monastery in Vallderossa in Majorca, where Chopin and George Sands spent their winter of 1838/39.
Then I will play a selection of 3 Etudes that Chopin himself often played at his recitals. I will continue with the great 4th Ballade in F minor, my favorite of the ballades, because it is a piece full of desperation and beauty. It will be followed by the Fugue in A minor. This piece of Chopin is almost unknown. Chopin always experimented a lot and he was always very interested in polyphony. So interested that he even took the score of Bach's Well tempered Clavier with him to Majorca (to study it?) All we know is that soon after Chopin returned to France in 1839, he wrote this Fugue. The original manuscript is the Vallderossa collection in Majorca, and I had the chance to study it when I was there, because for me, nothing can replace the original manuscript, which allows you to feel the piece as the composer felt it, and interpret it with all your senses, from your heart."
"My next piece, will be The Prelude in C sharp Minor. Op 45 that captivates me by its beauty and that I love. Chopin himself was very happy with this composition, saying that the modulations are really well done. I agree. He truly did find amazing colors in this piece where he went to the harmonic territories that had not been explored before. And I will finish my recital with the Sonata No 3 in B minor, probably his most complicated work, both emotionally and technically. Chopin wrote it at the end of his life, when he was already too weak physically to perform his work, so he never played it in public."
C.W.B I will finish our interview with a last question based on what you just said. Knowing what you know about Chopin, how does playing this piece affect you? N.K."When one performs it, a whole life passes in front of your eyes playing this piece. The moments of happiness are followed by going to the darkest places of your soul. Love and pain, hopelessness and despair. And the triumph at the end."
To order tickets for the Home Concert Hall go to: Steinwaysociety.com For any questions about the concert, contact their box office at (408) 300-5635.