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Interview with pianist Shani Diluka

Monday, 7 June 2010 , ora 11.35

This is the first time you perform in Romania. How do you feel before the concert at the Cantacuzino Palace Music Hall?

I am honoured to play in a country that I know how to love classical music. I have many Romanian musician friends. Also the fact that your culture gave birth to Celibidache and Enescu. I am very happy to be here and I am eager to share the 'Chopin moment" with the Romanian audience.

What do you feel about the Chopin opuses which you will perform this evening?

I will start the recital with Chopin's Ballade No. 1 and I will finish with Ballade No.4. I think that these two masterpieces bring to light all facets of Chopin's life and they may be seen as a summary of his life. In these two opuses there are references to waltz, mazurka, then some choral moments, all in a profound communion; that is why it is so import for me to start and finish the recital with these two works.

In between I will play a cycle of five nocturnes, which seem to be like a secrete journal of Chopin, because it is well known that the great composer created during the evening. Sometimes he even took his piano out on the terrace to compose under the starry sky. The five nocturnes I have chosen are in various tonalities, have a different character, and are very poetic and full of nostalgia.

After I play typical works of Chopin, three waltzes, of which the Waltzes No. 1 - Minute Waltz and No. 2, Op.64, which are full of joy, but which also impose a certain virtuosity, typical elements of Chopin. They are well known waltzes. I will finish, as I said, with Ballade No. 4 which is one of the most complex and dramatic works of Chopin, and which is also one of the most difficult ones technically speaking.

Your debut took place at the age of thirteen, when you played in the beginning of pianist Hélène Grimaud's concert. Do you remember what impressed you then?

Yes, it was a very pleasant moment, Hélène Grimaud was very kind. She listen to that first part of the concert even though she was to play in the second part of it, and after the event, she gave me the telephone number of a professor, to help me to enrol at the Conservatoire de Paris. At that time I was living in Monaco and learning at the Conservatoire de Nice, and Hélène Grimaud truly encouraged me to continue my musical education at a higher level. So it was wonderful to enjoy, as a child, such a support so kindly offered. It is a very nice memory for me.

Which pianists were you models during your career?

For me a pianist of mythical proportion is Wilhelm Kempff. He is one of those pianists with a clear defined vision of music, full of colour, with an extraordinary sound architecture; in fact I will pay him homage in my next disk Beethoven. In this concert I will use the cadence established by Kempff.

Among the pianists still alive, I have had the chance to meet Murray Perahia and Leon Fleischer, who are in deed two great maestros from whom I have learnt a lot about the technical side of music, and about the respect we, the performer, have to pay to the great composers.

Petra Gherasim
Translated by Oprina Maria-Mirela, Andreea Velicu
MA students, MTTLC, Bucharest University