Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and pursue a career in music?
The piano has always been very present in my life since childhood. My father plays the piano and used to sit me on his lap to play with him when I was a baby. I started studying music at the age of 5 and after studying harmony, ‘still an adolescent’, I began to accompany some Brazilian singers. The music began to take up a lot of space in my life and I was gradually entering the world of recording studios and concerts.
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
Three musicians had influenced me mostly. The first one is Keith Jarrett, who opened my mind to wide improvisation, a specific training that promotes its creativity. The second is Chick Corea, who mixes various colours and influences, creating an environment with a lot of personality. The last one is the Brazilian Egberto Gismonti, a pianist who leaves a strong impression and absorbs several elements of Brazilian music in his work.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
The musical career has many challenges. I understand that coherence and discourse are important pillars. I understand that the musician should not remain in a comfortable zone. They need to push their boundaries, recycle, advance in their studies, and try to record discs that have pre-set concepts that bring together elements that add value to their music.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
I really like my performance at the Guaramiranga Jazz Festival, where CD, vinyl and DVD products have been recorded. From my albums, I really like my last one, Sebastiana, recorded in the USA, where I got together musicians of various nationalities and origins from all the Americas, to interpret important works of Brazilian music. This has given it a lot of personality and innovation.
Which particular works do you think you play best?
I really enjoy working in the studio, writing arrangements and producing records. I also have an attraction for solo piano.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
I like research and laboratory work. There are many excellent songs that are forgotten and can wear a new arrangement. I think the repertoire has to be within a concept that promotes a contribution with artistic relevance.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
I really like the Celina Queiroz Theater in Fortaleza, my hometown in Brazil. There’s a Steinway Concert piano for whom I have a lot of affection. The theatre brings me an affective and familiar reference.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
I have a special memory of when I went to do the inaugural concert with the Steinway piano of the Celina Queiroz Theatre, in my hometown, Fortaleza. I played with the UNIFOR orchestra and it was a memorable night.
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
Success is being able to touch what you like and have a faithful audience. In fact, success is not what you do, but what you did.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Music brings a different dimension to your life and it’s a complex and subjective form of communication. It can take you to a different state of mind. Study and play various styles to give you a complex set of influences. We play what we live, so live with intensity. Try to have a particular way of playing that expresses your personality. Cherish emotion and feelings when you play.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
I would like to continue playing and have prepared good compositions, with a catalogue that can, somehow, contribute to the good music.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Happiness is now and all the time. There are few seconds of bliss wherein you can feel the good energy, thrill with a sound or a beautiful song.
What is your most treasured possession?
What is your present state of mind?
I want to continue to play with different people and always learn, seeking new sonorities. I want to produce, play, compose, make records and play around the world.
Ricardo Bacelar’s new album ‘Sebastiana’ is out now