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Cristiana Achim - Piano


1- You began learning the piano at the ‘Dinu Lipat’ National College of Arts in your native Romania. How do you recall those times and the masters that influenced you?

Studying at the ‘Dinu Lipat’ National College of Arts was definitely an unique experience that brought me where I am now. I am convinced that without meeting the right people at the right time, I could have not fulfilled my goal. Although my school environment was not always very friendly or supportive, I could not ignore the positive aspects of studying there for 12 years: I had brilliant teachers that always believed in me and have contributed to my dream of becoming a professional pianist since I was a little girl.

2- Is your family musical?

Even though I did not grow up in a family of musicians or artists, I consider my mother’s family side to be actually very musical. I have a vibrant memory from my childhood that just came across my mind.. When I was very young I used to spent my summer holidays at my grandmother’s house, where she used to sing to me many traditional folk songs, every evening, in the garden, until it would get very dark outside. I wished she would realise how much she could influence me through those simple but beautiful songs.

3- When and where did you make your performance debut and do you remember what pieces you played?

I started to perform at the age of 6 as my former teacher encouraged me to perform in different concert venues for children. My performance debut was at the National Children’s Palace from Bucharest where I played a suite of little pieces from Maria Cernovodeanu’s Little Method for Piano. At that time in Romania, every beginner would start their music journey with this book. It was like a bible we all had to read to become musicians.

4- You have won an impressive number of competitions. Does any one of these particularly stand out for you?

I personally believe that competitions don’t define a musician and cannot offer the opportunity of standing out of the crowd for a long time. However, there are cases when the competitions will boost your confidence and you will realise this is exactly what you needed. When I was 7 years old I won my first prize ever which was at the Pro-Piano International Competition. Everyone was extremely proud of me and kept yelling ‘Bravo’ when they heard I was awarded the first prize, but I was not feeling joy at all. I saw the other candidates’s expressions of sadness and perhaps jealousy and I started to wonder if this needs to feel good. You never know until you try!

5- In 2019, you released three singles, which are based on Romanian folk tunes. Clearly improvisation is something you enjoy and do you think there would be a scope to introduce the Western audience to this less known heritage in this format?

Absolutely! Improvisation has always been a natural way of defining my personality through music. I think us, as artists, should not be afraid of trying something new and most important, be as creative as possible. For me it has always been this connection with my heritage and the love that I am carrying for traditional culture. I am glad I could begin my exploration of folk tunes! Now I truly wish to combine the Western public’s influence with the Eastern’s one so it gets remodeled with modern and fresh perspectives.

6- You are an active volunteer for the ‘RO100’ Romanian Organization, which offers you many opportunities to develop the Romanian educational system by teaching music to disadvantaged children. Is this an established Romanian vision for education or something you have helped develop to allow for the less fortunate to experience the joys of music?

Growing up in Romania, I witnessed the lack of music and art opportunities that talented children struggle with every day. But I was one of the lucky kids who was offered a chance to explore this special language of music. For this reason, I strongly believe one of my duties in return, is to help and inspire children who are passionate about trying something new. Especially in these uncertain times, making sure everyone is heard and the children will not remain behind in the educational and cultural field is very important to me. I am grateful to people like RO100 Organization for offering me the opportunity of organising different workshops, festivals and other activities that will engage the students’ curiosity towards culture.

7- What are your fondest musical memories, privately or performing?

I could never forget the first time I touched a keyboard, which was in Kindergarten, over 16 years ago. The magical sounds that the piano produced when I pressed the keys made me fell in love with it immediately. It was love at first sight!

8- How often do your practice?

I tend to think that practice it’s a very intimate process. You create your own space of work, your own world. I practice when I feel this need, sometimes it’s every day, sometimes few times per week, and this works perfectly fine for me. Of course, there are times when I don’t have the mood and the inspiration to practice, but I have a piano lesson or a concert coming soon so I try to find that intimate setting until it works, no matter how long it takes.

9- Would you consider teaching in the future?

Definitely! I used to fear about teaching and probably I still do sometimes, but I have realised that as a teacher you become a person who a child can trust and look up to. It’s one of the most incredible feelings ever! Not to mention that sharing is receiving.

10- What advice would you give to young musicians at the start of their journey?

Always believe in yourself! People will constantly try to change who you are, but don’t let anyone do that, just follow your gut and be strong! Art requires a lot of courage and if you have it, you will succeed!

submission August 2020

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