ACCLAIMED UKRANIAN PIANIST
ANNA FEDOROVA
Will display her performance virtuosity in her
STEINWAY SOCIETY HOME VIRTUAL CONCERT
FEDOROVA.jpg
AN EXLUSIVE INTERVIEW
By Iride Aparicio

Photos courtesy Steinway Society

SILICON VALLEY, CA.-- Speaking from Amsterdam, during a telephone interview  before her  February 19 -22  online concert, world's  famous Pianist  Anna Fedorova  tells Cultural World Bilingual: "I am a Ukrainian pianist and my whole life has been connected with music,  even before I was born, because both my parents are wonderful pianists and piano teachers who studied at the Moscow Conservatory of music in Moscow, (Officially Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory) where they met and fell in love before moving to Kyiv, where I was born."

" Growing up, I saw both my parents playing piano.  I saw their students coming to our house to study piano. Through the days I may hear historic recordings of pianists Rubinstein and Vladimir Horowitz being played at all hours. So, because I was connected to music from my birth, it was very natural for me to start playing the piano. I began learning to play it when I was three years old and both my parents were my teachers."

"At the beginning I was learning with my mother, who was very good in teaching small children. I remember that every one of her lessons was entertaining and exciting. The stories that she told me about the piano pieces I was learning, not only developed my imagination but taught me a way to approach my music.  Even now, I consider interpreting great music as storytelling.  Later on, from the age of nine and ten, my father began teaching me to play and he was my piano professor for the next ten years."

"But I also started studying piano in Kyiv School for Gifted Children,  which, in Russia, are specialized pre-conservatory schools for children, focused in music. The schools teach the children not only to  play different instruments, but also singing   and dancing . But because they are "Schools," they also teach the academic subjects of the regular schools. So, the students start at the School for Gifted Children in pre-first grade (when they are from five to six years old) and they graduate from the school at the age of eighteen. In these schools, all the subjects that the students learn in primary school, in middle school and in high school are taught in one school."

C.W.B. Did growing up in such a broad musical environment influence your career's choice?
A.F.: "Yes, it did.  I remember that when at the age of ten I asked myself what I wanted to do for the rest of my life; the answer came very naturally to me.  I wanted to become a concert pianist.

C.W.B. After determining that, what did you do?
A.F.   "I decided to become focused on my purpose.  I had practiced piano for two hours a day when I was seven and eight, but after I turned eleven, I started practicing for nine hour a day. "

C.W.B.  Did all those hours of practice help?
A.F. "They did. They made me feel that I was becoming a professional pianist. After that, I began going to International competitions for young piano players, and participating in concerts for young piano players."

And young ANNA FEDOROVA began winning, not one but many of those competitions even taken top prizes at the Rubinstein and Moscow International Federico Chopin Competitions. She was considered so talented that she became mentored by two world-renowned musicians ALFRED BRENDREL and ANDRÁS SCHIFF.   

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Today, concert pianist ANNA FEDOROVA is considered one of the world's leading concert pianists for a reason. During her career, she has performed with esteemed orchestras in prestigious concert halls and music festivals of Europe, North and South America and Asia. She is also highly regarded in piano festivals in Switzerland, Poland, Greece and New York.  And while she performs as soloist, she is also a chamber musician and has played with symphony orchestras in the major concert halls of the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, UK, Ukraine, Poland, the U.S., Mexico Argentina and parts of Asia. Her Rachmaninoff 2nd Piano Concerto recording is the most watched classical concerto on YouTube.  She will continue captivation audience during her virtual return to the Bay Area, (This will be her third concert with the Steinway Society Silicon Valley)

C.W.B.  With such a great repertoire of piano music as you have, how do you select your pieces for your concerts?
A.F.: "Every year I have to select different music for several programs and because my repertoire is huge and I perform different pieces for different composers, I try to keep everything in equal shape.  So for me, to be able to prepare well those several programs, I need to focus in the particular program, because each one is different. I do concerts with orchestras and also Chamber Music Concerts. For me to prepare ten programs in one year is very challenging, so I need to focus in several things. I think of pieces that I really like, pieces I have already played and pieces that I would like to learn and add to my repertoire. But I also think of the concert and how these pieces will connect and inspire the theme of the concert. This is always a very exciting, At times, I also need to depend on the person who promotes the concerts who send me different programs and tells me that the audience may like these pieces for different reasons. Every year, is a unique and different process.

C.W.B.  As a pianist, when you play a piece of music with a story, as you will be doing in your next concert, do you concentrate on the story or in the written music, for its interpretation?
A.F.  "The story behind a piece of music is what puts feeling and expression in the music. But when playing it, you have to concentrate in the music, because you cannot be thinking, here is when this thing is happening in the story.  When playing the piece, however, being aware of the story makes you (the pianist) be able to paint it, with sounds, and helps you create the atmosphere for the music. But I believe that it is for the listeners to hear what you, the pianist, are playing and for him or her to imagine the story depending on how your music affects them."

C.W.B.   You have played as a soloist, you have played with an orchestra and you have played Chamber music Which of the three ways of performing you prefer and why?  
A.F. "I really enjoy the three ways of performing, even when in Chamber music the piano is not necessarily the main instrument. But, at times, it is easier to play when you have the "right" partners and the "right" musical chemistry. I also love to play with an orchestra, because one can feel all this energy around you and if the connection of the musicians and conductor is "right" it is mind's blowing. But to me, playing alone is the most exciting because you are creating something yourself and not depending on other people.  So, for me, playing soloist is fascinating because I have the full control of my music."     

C.W.B.   And to bring our interview to an end, Anna, my next question will be to ask you to discuss with our readers your  program of your coming  online concert next week, and explain to them the reason why you selected to play, in one concert, the music of  Schubert, of Liszt, of De Falla and of Chopin which is so different in Musical Periods, in Musical Style and requires a different executions on the part of the pianist.
A.F.:"What connects the whole program in my next concert is the element of "mystery." Certain mystery which comes, in different forms and in the fantastic elements, in each one of the compositions.  Let's start with Chopin, who is in general, my favorite composer and who I include in my concerts as often as I can. We know that when he wrote his Ballads (musical songs without words) Chopin was inspired by the poetry of the Lithuanian Ballads (poems) of the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz. What many people may not know, is that in his poems he is relating the story of a very attractive girl, who was actually a siren, who is trying to enchant a young man. So, in the melodies of his ballads, Chopin, is trying to convey the feeling of her seduction and her enchanting.".

"This "mystic sound" is also heard in De Falla's composition,  a ballet which is called "Amor Brujo" (Witch's Love).  The whole story of the ballet is very mysterious, full of magic and filled with ritual, because the "Spirit" of the husband of the main character is now hunting her , and what you listen to, in the music, is her experiences terror. This is more obvious in the ballet, because in the ballet he dances with her around the fire. So if one listens to the music, one becomes aware that the feeling of the whole piece is very is magical, exciting and very mysterious."

And then comes Schubert Liszt three songs, which are also magical and beautiful that when you (the pianist) plays them, they send you to another world. At the beginning we have the Der Muller un der Bach (The Müller the Brook) which represents a dialogue of the stream (called bach in German) with a Baker in which you hear (in the music) the difference in their voices.Then in Auf them Wasser Zu Singen, you can listen to the water singing in its own voice, which is quite magical. And in the third piece Die Forelle (The Trout) Again, is a different dialogue. In this case, I included in the program because It is one of my favorite Chamber music pieces. I played it with my friends when I was in college and because I met my husband when I was doing this piece, it conveys a very special "mystery" to me. "

Concert pianist ANNA FEDOROVA who has spent her life in the world of music gives us her own definition of  MUSIC as follows:

"Music is an important part of  our lives. It is  something that can give us happiness, strong emotions, moral support and some times, even answer our questions. I know that because I have  my music I can always play it, and it will keep me optimistic, full of energy and fill me with inspiration. At times, like these, I may suggest that people listen to music. It may renew their hope. It may lift their spirit"

And to end our interview, sends the following message to our readers:

ANNA FEDOROVA will certainly lift our spirits  during her concert with may be watched on line from Friday February 19 to Monday February 22, in The Bay Area's Home Concert Hall Virtual series recorded exclusively for STEINWAY SOCIETY. To Order tickets for the concert go to: Steinwaysociety.com For questions about the concert, contact their box office at (408) 300-5635.