Leticia Gomez-Tagle, pianist

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

I think there were different things that have influenced me to love music. First, my father played piano (he stills does) and he played at home after work, or at the weekend. So, when I was old enough, I wanted to learn some of these beautiful pieces that he played. He also had many recordings of famous pianists: Rubinstein, Vasary, etc. So, I grew up listening to them and was always touched by this great music I heard Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Tchaikovsky….

Later, during my studies, some of my teachers and some musicians have been an important influence on my playing: Badura-Skoda, Sandor. And of course, to listen to famous pianists in live concerts is always an important inspiration.

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

Sometimes I think life is constantly giving you challenges…. one of my first challenges was to leave my home country and go to Europe to study. Of course, I had won a scholarship and I was excited about it. But it is very hard to be alone in a strange country, to have your family far away. As time passes, you make friends and learn to manage yourself in another language and mentality. You mature.

Another challenge was to recover from tendonitis after incorrect practising for a piano competition during my student years. I thought I wouldn’t be able to play anymore and I had to stop playing for almost one year. But with patience, the wish to go on studying, and with treatments and prayers, I got cured. And I learned to play much more relaxed than before.

A very nice challenge was also to take part in the international Chopin Competition in Warsaw. I dreamed of it because Chopin is one of my favourite composers. I performed very well, (videos on my YouTube channel), and it was an unforgettable experience!

Also, the transcription of the Danzón no. 2 by Arturo Márquez for piano was a challenge. I have never done such a thing before. But I liked the Danzón so much, that finally I finished it and could show it to Maestro Márquez. We worked for about one hour on it, and now it is recorded on my album ‘Dance Passion’ (ARS Produktion) and released by Peermusic Classical.

Nowadays, a challenge of every day is to keep on getting concerts, although the market is overcrowded, to save time for practising, and to be disciplined despite the many hours of teaching, and to give your best in the interpretation.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?

Performances are many: maybe  the Chopin Competition, Festival En Blanco y Negro 2014, Vancouver….

Of my CDs, I like all of them, maybe the last one “Sí! Sonatas”.

Which particular works do you think you perform best?

I think I feel very near to the romantic composers, for example Chopin. But there are many composers I very much like. Of course Latin American music or Spanish composers are easy for me to understand.

What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?

I like to go to nature: walking, going to the mountains. In Austria it is very easy to do these things. I read a lot and I also like to go to museums or to see ballet performances. I went to a ballet school for many years when I was a child. My mother loves it and so do I. And now I go to ballet class only as a sport.

All the arts are an inspiration for me.

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

It depends where I have the concerts and when: this year was a Beethoven year. Because of Coronavirus, many concerts were cancelled…. But hopefully I will play two more concerts this year with Beethoven Sonatas.

The repertoire for piano is very large. I like always to learn something new and play it in concert, a new piece combined with other works I have already played.

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

There are some, and overall it is because there is a very good piano at the venue. This is one of the most important things – the piano. I very much liked the piano I played in Vancouver in Roy Barnett Hall. Also, in Mexico, Cenart and Bellas Artes have good pianos, and in Germany the same.

What do you feel needs to be done to grow classical music audiences/listeners?

I think education is one of the most important things, to learn to appreciate music and the arts. Without education people can not learn to listen, to read, to contemplate beauty, to admire nature. People will go with the flow and consume with minimal effort.

It is like food: if you have never eaten things other than McDonalds or fast food, then you cannot appreciate how many things tastes so much better than this…. you have to have the experience.

It is proven that people like music and art if you can present it to them. All over the world, there are concerts for young people, and many schools in Europe and other countries are making special efforts in this way. In Mexico private sponsors do it with children in order to give them music education. I saw this when I played in Puebla in the “House of Music”. There are some Austrian sponsors who support this. But of course the government had to do their part….

What is your most memorable concert experience?

For me it is always memorable when at the end I receive standing ovations. I had again this experience some years ago, when I played at the end of my programme ‘Pictures of Exhibition’ in a museum; or in Detroit, where people wanted to take photos with me. It is very satisfactory when at the end you see that people are happy about your music.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

For me, success is when you have given the best of yourself and you have made the audience happy. Success as an artist is also if you have developed your playing art the most: I mean not the most speed or loudness, not even the most fame, but you have developed the best in your playing. Rubinstein said that every artist is “a world of his own” and not to be compared with others. I think the same.

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

Patience, discipline, not to be content with the minimum, to learn to practice with your head (not only your fingers), to learn that practising means also to do other things: friendship, nature, literature…. I don’t think that sitting eight hours a day and practising makes you a better pianist.

To be yourself without copying other pianists.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I don’t believe in perfect happiness because the world is not perfect. But in order to be happy, you have to accept your life as it is and find happiness also in the small things of your life. And of course, you find happiness if you try to make other persons happy.

Born in Mexico City, Leticia Gómez-Tagle studied with the Mexican pianist Manuel Delaflor and music theory with Prof. Angel Esteva Loyola. She also received master lessons and courses from Prof. C. Rivera, O. Otey, Jörg Demus, P. Badura-Skoda and G. Sándor.

She won several prizes in youth national competitions in Mexico. She won the 1. Prize of the National Competition Sala Chopin and was scholarship student of the Education Department of Austria. She studied at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Vienna by Prof. Michael Krist and graduated with Master Degree.

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