Macha Kanza, pianist

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

My parents brought me into classical music, but at different times in my life. Then my teachers and some composers have opened a world of discoveries with which coexistence has become essential, beyond everyday practice.

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

My teachers, my personal journey in music, some life experiences, my successes and failures, and artistic shocks. Also meeting, at the age of 6, the great French pianist France Clidat, who looked for me after a piano competition, called my music school to meet and offer me her CD of the Tchaïkovsky piano concerto. This funny and touching little story had a great significance in my musical life.

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

Every concert is challenging for different aspects.

I remember learning some pieces of the repertoire was very challenging too, like the beginning of polyphonic works of Bach with more and more complex voicings at the age of 7-8, Chopin studies and my first concerto (the second concerto of Saint-Saens ) around 11-12 years, and later Prokofiev 2nd Concerto, Rachmaninoff 3rd, Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit, some Beethoven Sonatas, and learning some pieces very quickly! You can see that it’s a challenging life course!

Which performances /recordings are you most proud of?

My first CD for Da Vinci Classics with the Gesänge der Frühe, op.133 by Schumann and Rachmaninoff’s Etudes-Tableaux Op.39, recorded in Brescia on one of Arturo-Benedetti Michelangeli’s pianos is the most representative of my musical being.

I also love collaborative works with my two-piano partner, the French pianist Matthieu Cognet, with whom every concert is an intense moment of sharing and great party, with wonderful and huge repertoire (Messiaen, Prokofiev, Debussy, Brahms, Rachmaninoff,…), or with Polish violonist Adam Roszkowski.

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

I love the big hall and Royal Conservatory of Brussels, which has one of the best acoustics of European concert halls. It’s a place of great inspiration with many beautiful souvenirs. I like very much Italians theatres, churches and festivals, where I think the listening quality of the audience is very high.

I also like modern European and American concert halls and can’t wait to discover more!

Who are your favourite musicians?

They are so man ! I can give you a few of them but I will forget some, for sure!

Martha Argerich, Nelson Freire, Oscar Peterson, S. Rachmaninoff, Arrau, Bolet, Michelangeli, Vengerov, Rostropovich, Janine Jansen, Brad Mehldau, Enescu, Ivry Gitlis, Gould, Haskil, Cherkassky, and many more…

What is your most memorable concert experience?

One day, I arrived in the morning for the rehearsal with orchestra at Odessa Philharmonie. It was very cold in the hall and some member of the orchestra didn’t have the right scores. The concert was in the afternoon, and everything was arranged.

Another occasion was when my luggage disappeared on my arrival in Rome for a competition. I was due to play the next morning, and of course, I was among the first to play, and of course it was public holiday in Italy! So, I performed with very casual clothes…but a bad situation came good and I won second prize.

As a musician, what is definition of success?

For me, success is the understanding and love of my musical language and ideas by the audience.

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

Hard work, life experience, curiosity and loving people.

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