Belgrade-born jury member Mira Yevtich makes a very generous gift of her knowledge and performance experience for new generations of young pianists.
With the acclaimed Maestro Valery Gerghiev, Mira co-founded the Mariinsky International Piano Festival in 2011. This bi-annual festival is held in St Petersburg and, like The Sydney, it fosters the development of young talented pianists and launches them on their performance career.
Q. What advice would you give young pianists?
A. I would say to all young pianists to play with a very high spirit, be patient and have curiosity. And, of course, to have a very strong will and always to work hard at your art.
In her 2016 interview with Limelight Magazine Mira said that what she looks for most in young performers is their spiritual development. “I am looking forward to seeing… the depth and constant spiritual development. But… every personality brings different ways both in life and art.”
I think it is much more important to have exposure [than prize money]. A good competition must bring more exposure, more contacts with future professors, more concert tours, more contacts with other musicians, more contacts with conductors.
Q. Who are there great pianists from the past who you find particularly inspiring, or useful for young pianists to observe?
A. We know how creative our profession is. I remember how much I adored Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. Then when I went to Central School in Moscow, I was influenced by Sofranitsky, Gilels, Richter, Horowitz.
Then came a period when I adored Glenn Gould, Claudio Arrau, Arthur Schnabel, Grigory Sokolov, Martha Argerich, Nelson Freire. As we studied together with Michail Pletnev in the class of Eugeny Timakin, I remember and adored always his performances.I remember Nicholas Angelich from when he was 13 years old and I was giving him lessons, preparing him for the Paris Conservatoire. What a mind, what a depth!
In every period of life, we discover something, somebody who teaches us, who gives us inspiration. Today, Michael Pletnev gives us so much pianistically, intellectually, and what is the most important in Art – the TIMING! And of course, when thinking of who young pianists must watch, I must mention Grigory Sokolov and Nicholas Angelich. And especially Sergey Babayan –somebody all pianists have to learn from!
Q. What have you have learned in return from your students, and from the young pianists in the Mariinsky Festival?
A. There is always much to learn, every day is an opportunity to learn. The Mariinsky International Piano Festival gives us a lot of very special musicians. Every new personality brings something special, which gives us a lot.
Q. This year is Beethoven’s 250th anniversary year. If you were invited to his place for a birthday party, what gift would you bring Ludwig?
A. For a present I would perform Sonata Op.109. It is a sonata which, by the way, Richard Wagner adored also.
Q. We thoroughly enjoyed your performance of Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra: War Peace & Love, by Australian composer Grant Foster. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?
A. Australia didn’t really experience 19th century Romanticism as it was in Europe. Miriam Hyde and Grant Foster are Australian romantics. As nobody from Australia was promoting Grant Foster’s music internationally, I decided to do it. I spent a lot of time learning and promoting those two CD/DVD’s.
Watch Mira perform the Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra: War Peace & Love, by Australian composer Grant Foster here.