Aleksei Demchenko, pianist

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?

Just a natural passion for music and piano playing.

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

My teachers Vladimir Slobodyan and Dmitri Alexeev.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

I guess the most difficult, apart from competitions, was to get an Exceptional Talent Visa to stay in the UK and pursue my dream here.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?

I’m proud of my Debut CD ‘GRADUS’ where I recorded the music that I love. Speaking of performances – I think a musician cannot be proud of his performances. Maybe just a little bit pleased.

Which particular works do you think you perform best?

I think Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Scriabin… Russian music in general. And Chopin, they say that Chopin in my interpretation sounds nice.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

There are just so many masterpieces that I haven’t played yet, so I’m just trying to learn as much as possible for upcoming season.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

I played the first piano sonata by Shostakovich in Royal Festival Hall once, and though I prepared that piece in a very short time, I loved playing there. There’s something unique about the acoustic in that hall.

Also I’ve played at St. Martin-in-the-Fields four times, and I love this place. The audience is always so warm and cheerful there.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

Back in 2013 I should have played a 50/50 concert with pianist Janusz Olejniczak (he was the pianist who recorded the soundtrack for the acclaimed filem ‘The Pianist’ in 2002). Two days prior to the concert, he cancelled his appearance and I had to urgently prepare Chopin’s Concerto No.1 op.11, which I had learned 3 months before, but never played with an orchestra. The second half I played solo…I think that was the most stressful concert I ever had.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

Love from the audience. I think that’s not just definition of success, but it’s the only thing that really matters.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Love music with all your heart, give it all your passion, and it will never let you down.

Aleksei Demchenko performs Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata by candlelight at St Martin-in-the-Fields on Tuesday 30 July. The programme also includes works by Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Scriabin, Rachmaninov and Lyadov. Further information and tickets

Based in UK pianist Aleksei Demchenko was born in Kazakhstan and began his piano studies at the age of 6. He made his concert debut with Kaliningrad Symphony Orchestra playing Brahms’ 1st piano concerto, and he has successfully played many concerts all over UK and Europe, and participated in festivals such as First Medtner’s Festival, Stravinsky’s Festival in London and Harrogate International Festival.

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