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One of Mozart’s most romantic and passionate concertos


One of Mozart’s most romantic and passionate concertos

Interview with Dmitry Shishkin

Dmitry Shishkin started as a child prodigy, and has become a serious, dedicated pianist, in whom according to another former child prodigy, Evgeny Kissin, “professionalism meets natural finesse”. On April 12–13–14, he will play a piano solo at the Liszt Academy of Music with the BFO in our next Haydn–Mozart concert.

Júlia Váradi: You were born in the heart of Russia, in Chelyabinsk, where your mother was a music teacher. And I also heard that you started playing the piano and at the age of one and a half, which is amazing! Is that true? How did it happen?

Dmitry Shishkin: Our mother first taught my elder brother, Vadim, to play the piano. So from the moment I was born I was always surrounded by music and it was natural for me to listen to music. My mum realised quite soon that I had an affinity and interest in music and decided to start introducing me to the wonderful world of music..

J. V.: Is it also true that you gave your first concert when you were three years old? It is almost unbelievable!

D. S.: Yes, I gave my first solo recital at the school where I was studying shortly after the age of three. At that time I was playing my own compositions, but at the age of six I was already playing with an orchestra. We performed Bach concertos.

J. V.: You must have had a fantastic family! Tell me about your parents, please!

D. S.: My mother started learning the piano at the age of 13. She was the first to bring music into our family. She has been a great teacher and mentor to many young pianists ever since. I still often seek her advice on how to interpret or approach a piece.

J. V.: Wasn’t it difficult to leave Russia so young, knowing already that you were a very talented boy? Did they let you go easily from Moscow, where you studied music to the State Conservatory in Sicily?

D. S.: I studied both conservatories at the same time and there were no problems at all. The only problems were the time-consuming traveling and the number of exams I had to pass.

J. V.: I understand that this will be your first performance in Budapest?

D. S.: Yes, this will be my first time performing in Budapest and I’m really looking forward to it. It is a great privilege to perform on such a great stage with professional musicians, dedicated to their craft.

J. V.: This time you are going to play one of Mozart’s most popular concertos, the Piano Concerto in D minor. This was the only piano piece of Mozart which has been performed by Beethoven. Why do you think Beethoven felt it so important to perform that concerto?

D. S.: This concerto is one of Mozart’s most romantic and passionate concertos with anticipations of Don Giovanni and the fortieth symphony. The entire work is permeated with contrasts of dramatic and rebellious themes - mournful, tender, excited, harmoniously bright. Yes, Beethoven loved this concerto so much for its complexity and versatility that he even composed a cadenza for it. Although this time I will be performing a cadenza by Hummel, one of Mozart's favourite pupils, which also fits the concerto beautifully.

J. V.: How do you prepare for the concert in Budapest?

D. S.: As we all know, practice makes perfect, but beside that, finding a really good source of inspiration is important part of preparation. I usually find it in traveling, in nature, in different forms of art.