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Sep 12, 2011

Rafał Blechacz, pianist and philosopher --preview/interview (Belgium)

Lalibre.be (Sept. 12) posts a personal profile of Rafał Blechacz before the concert at Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, on September 15, when Rafał Blechacz will perform a piano concerto by Liszt with Orchestre National de Belgique (conducted by Antoni Wit) plus a mini-interview with the pianist.

Titled "Rafał Blechacz, pianist and philosopher".
Author: Martine D. Mergeay

Original article (French)


Sorry, I have NO time to convert it into English for the next week or so, but it's not complicated and a machine-translated version will give you a basic idea.


**********************************
Sandrine Georges sent me the translation just after this post.
Many thanks to her for the great help and sorry for the delay to post the English translation here.  (updated on Sept. 16)


 Rafał Blechacz: Pianist and Philosopher

Original online publishing date: September 12th, 2011

 The young Pole will play Liszt with the National Orchestra of Belgium under the direction of Antoni Wit, the Belgian public having been introduced to him in 2010 at the Palais des Beaux-Arts.

 By Martine D. Mergeay

With a delicate stature, smiling, and reserved, he seems at first glance more like an agreeable child than anything else. But when he sits at the piano, the visionary musician emerges: exceptionally intimate, driven by refined technique, but willing to take risks. Doubtless, it is this combination of confidence and ability that earned his extraordinary win at the 2005 Chopin Competition in Warsaw at the age of 20. Blechacz also swept all the additional prizes for best mazurka, best concerto, best polonaise, and best sonata. The jury made a point of not awarding a second prize, giving the third prize to the two Lim brothers.

Since then, his success has been assured. In 2010, the people of the Palais des Beaux-Arts were introduced to the artist by a marvelous recital. The young Pole will be back in Brussels, invited by the National Orchestra of Belgium to play Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto.

 Blechacz gave a phone interview, beginning, “I was not born into a family of professional musicians, but there was always a piano in the house – my father played a bit as an amateur – and there was the organ in the neighborhood church where I discovered Bach. At five years old, I wanted to become an organist, but I started studying the piano in my hometown, Nakło nad Notecią and then at the Arthur Rubinstein School in Bydgoszcz, the neighboring city.” (Our interlocutor was kind enough to spell out the “artistic” names of the Polish towns.) “After two years of studying piano, the instrument had completely captured my heart. The competitions followed, notably the All-Poland Bach Competition when I was 13, the Hamamatsu competition in 2003, and of course the Warsaw Chopin Competition, the one that opened all the doors for me.


Indeed, the young pianist’s career has gone well following the Chopin Competition, but the intensive practice of the instrument, like the unremitting sports training of professional athletes, continues to consume him. But has he interests outside the piano? Well, yes. The artist continues, “In 2005, I registered at university to take classes in philosophy, particularly the philosophy of art. It has helped me a lot by developing my understanding of the world in which I live, the art I play; which is essential for all young musicians. It has also helped me settle into my career by having me realize particular rules. For example, I don’t want to play more than a certain number of concerts per year (plus or minus forty). The same goes for recording. Occasionally, I have to resist, but I usually hold on. I play new programs with relatives, friends and family in small halls or private festivals, sometimes very stimulating, before accepting more prestigious invitations.” His favorite repertoire? “The composers of ‘color’: Chopin of course, Debussy and the Impressionists, Schumann too, and Bach for the organ when I can find the time.” Contemporary music seems conspicuously absent from his list though the artist practices chamber music with pleasure.

 Rafał Blechacz will play Liszt under the direction of Antoni Wit.
 “It was Wit who directed the orchestra during the Chopin competition; he was my guardian angel.”



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