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Parvis Hejazi - Piano


1- You played your debut recital at the Salzburg Festival at the age of 17 years. Which pieces did you play and how do you recall this experience?

Ever since I was 12 years old, I have been a regular participant of the International Summer Academy at the Mozarteum, Salzburg. An integral part of the Summer Academy is an internal competition, open to all the about 600 participants. If you are successful in this ‘concert pyramid’, you get a concert in Salzburg that is part of the Salzburg Festival. It really was a most memorable experience to play Mozart at the prestigious ‘Wiener Saal’ (Viennese Hall) in Salzburg and I remember thinking of the Habsburgian architecture everywhere and how it so clearly is connected to the sophisticated, eloquent simplicity of Mozart’s music.

2- Is your family musical?

Although neither of my parents are musicians, I would certainly say they are very musical indeed; classical music has always been very appreciated in my family and without the tremendous support I got from my parents, I most likely wouldn’t now be here, doing what I’m doing.

3- You won the first prize and special prize “Le maitre de piano” of the International Piano Competition of the Town of Gagny (Paris) in 2017. What did you play in this important milestone for you obviously and your abiding recollections of the atmosphere at the time?

I played in this competition in the midst of my A-Level Exams back in Germany. I had one exam and the next one five days later; in those five days I was in Paris playing this competition. I suppose that was a fortunate coincidence as so many things going on in my head simultaneously stopped me from being nervous. I remember playing works by Scarlatti, Mozart, Liszt and Rodion Shchedrin. The International Piano Competition of the Town of Gagny near Paris is an amazing institution that I can but recommend to any talented young pianist.

4- In 2018, your composition “In memoriam E. A. Poe” (composed in 2010) was selected as a compulsory piece for pianists to play in the reputable WESPE competition in Germany. This was composed at your tender age of 11 and clearly it was judged as an ideal bar for this prominent competition; how does this honour feel like?

Composing is my ‘second vocation’ and it was therefore a great honour for me to have had the opportunity of uniting those two sides, the pianistic and the composing dimension of my musicianship, by experiencing my work being performed in this reputable competition.

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

Every competition is a unique experience, demanding absolute focus and preparation. But for me the competitions I have fond memories of, always were those that were not conducted in an ‘industrial’ manner, but where the jury really was looking for true young artists, for special personalities on stage and where the participant and after the competition also the jury members could exchange thoughts and ideas with each other. Those experiences have always been very stimulating to me and I look forward to many more to come!

6- Your current teacher Norma Fisher clearly holds you in high regard and no doubt that sentiment is returned by you. How influential has this master been in your development?

She really has become my ‘mother at the piano’, guiding me where I need to be guided, but also giving me the freedom I need to thrive as a musician and pianist.

7- For the next season, you have formulated a project with the American ballet dancer Michael Carman. Are you willing to provide more information on what is likely to be a rather unusual artistic presentation of music and dance fusion?

Michael and I met in 2017 through a German fellowship programme supporting talented young students in Germany and abroad for a part of their academic study. Ever since we were rather eager to launch a project together. The fact that the art scene is in a state of ‘freeze’ at the moment due to COVID gave us the time to plan our project together from beginning of this year. It is going to be a series of choreographical productions and more shall be revealed in due course, prior to our first performances…

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

Those times on stage when I have wondered after finishing playing: was that really me? The moments in which I feel I am able to leave my self and really become the music are the most precious to me.

9- How often do you practice?

Of course, I practice daily, for about four hours; rarely less than three and more than five. If I did that, I would have no time reading, going to galleries, observing the life on the streets; all things we have to do as musicians, in order to breathe the air the composer breathed, read the books the composer read, marvel at the paintings the composer was inspired by.

10- Would you consider teaching in the future?

Absolutely, along with performing. It is a great responsibility to pass on what you have yourself received: ‘Tradidi quod et accepi.’ Or as Norma says: ‘Without sharing there is no point in life.’ I would particularly enjoy academic teaching, but my dream would also be to set up a pre-College institution for extraordinarily talented young pianists.

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

Put the music first. It’s not merely about the prizes you win and it’s not about the ‘show’ you give on stage. Be humble and try to follow the natural direction in which the music takes you. There is no need to show off your emotions. They are going to be there anyway and there is no need for artificiality. The music is our best friend, and I have made the experience that it is best to trust the music, she won’t let us down.

submission August 2020

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