Sitkovetsky Piano Trio are Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin), Wu Qian (piano) and Isang Enders (cello)
Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
AS: That was definitely my mom. She is a pianist and I think she really wanted me to continue the family tradition and play an instrument.
WQ: Music itself inspired me. It didn’t really matter which instrument, my parents happened to have bought a piano for me to learn.
IE: Since my parents are musicians themselves it seems inevitable to avoid the same passion or desire. But actually I decided very late to become a professional musician due to my admiration for the American cellist Lynn Harrell.
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
AS: I have been very lucky to be surrounded by many important influences. From my musical family; my parents, my uncle Dimitri, his mother Bella Davidovich and my Grandfather Vitali, to so many other musicians that I have worked and continue to work with.
WQ: The Old Russian school style of playing had a big influence on my up bringing.
IE: I think my time as principal cellist at the Staatskapelle Dresden at a very young age gave me the most impact about musicianship and the art of music.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
AS: I think the biggest challenge is the one you give yourself to continue to try to improve as a musician and an instrumentalist every day. That takes a lot of desire and dedication but it is also the most rewarding part of what we do; we are always striving for better and there is no ceiling.
WQ: There are different challenges at different times in one’s career, I guess the most important thing is to persevere.
IE: I still think one of the most difficult things about our job is the compatibility of work and private life. We all have families and friends but are on the road most of the time. That I find really challenging.
Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?
AS: I am always thinking about the next concert and the next recording so I don’t really have a specific event in my head. I guess that my Concerto debut at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam 10 years ago will be an experience that I never forget. And I am very proud of the trio’s Mendelssohn Trios recording.
WQ: Very tricky question, because on different days I feel very different about my recordings and performances…
IE: I recorded all Bach Cello Suites a while ago. I guess it is a once in a lifetime project which demanded a lot efforts and passion. I am proud we made it.
Which particular works do you think you play best?
AS: That’s a very difficult question as I love playing so much different repertoire from each era and try to play each piece as well as I possibly can. So it’s impossible to pick anything specific. Hopefully my best is yet to come!
WQ: I feel extremely close to Schubert, Schumann and Brahms.
IE: I like to play music of the romantic and contemporary period. But I feel particularly close to Beethoven’s music.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
AS: It really depends on the season. I am often asked about repertoire or to give my suggestions more than a year in advance so often it is already decided quite a long time before the concerts are scheduled to take place. It is always a fine balance in developing your repertoire each season but at the same time going back to works that you already know.
WQ: I would like to always put a few works which might be a challenge to myself, and at the same time add more pieces from my own wish list.
IE: Usually promoters make suggestions which fit their programming. And I promote what I wish to play. I like to choose pieces I haven’t played before.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
AS: I can’t just pick one but the Wigmore Hall has always been a hall very close to my heart. Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Moscow’s Grand Hall of the Conservatory, Berlin’s Konzerthaus and the Philharmonie – there are so many to choose from.
WQ: I can’t single out one as there are many beautiful venues around the world and it also depends if it’s a chamber music concert or an Orchestra concert, the condition of the piano is extremely important for us pianists.
IE: I always like to remember the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein!
Who are your favourite musicians?
AS: There are too many to count from every era.
WQ: Arthur Rubinstien, Dinu Lipatti, Cortot and Argerich.
IE: I admire Truls Mørk and Carlos Kleiber.
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
AS: Keep improving from concert to concert!
WQ: When audiences shows great emotion after a performance, you know you have done something right!
IE: It is very hard to “succeed” in our profession. It is always a search and a pathway. I guess if you get to the conclusion that there is yet a lot to learn even at an older age I would call it a success. The conclusion.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
AS: I think, as in anything, you need to be motivated and always give your best. Enjoy the music and concentrate only on that. The rest will follow.
WQ: Give each child the opportunity to learn and enjoy music.
IE: We are always only a little part of the entirety of music. For sure you can play alone but without many other participants beforehand or during the performance like the composer himself, the audience, the partners, the luthier or architect who built the hall it wouldn’t be the same. One alone is basically nothing. The concept of reading scores and understand the definition of interpretation I find the most important to become a good musician.
The Sitkovetsky Trio perform in the Investec International Music Festival in a programme featuring the world premiere of “Germinate”, a new Triple Concerto by Charlotte Bray, commissioned to celebrate the festival’s 10th anniversary, plus works by Mendelssohn, Bruch and Beethoven.
The Sitkovetsky Trio has established itself as an exceptional piano trio of today, with sensational performances in the foremost concert halls around the world. Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin) and Wu Qian (piano) have this season been joined by German-Korean cellist Isang Enders to continue their journey of successful appearances. Their thoughtful and committed approach have brought to the ensemble critical acclaim and invitations to top concert halls around the world, such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Palais des Beaux Arts, Musée du Louvre, l’Auditori Barcelona, Wigmore Hall and Lincoln Center New York to name but a few.