Cyrill Ibrahim - Piano

Interview

1- Is your family musical?

I think being musical means lots of things, I consider my family musical although nobody played an instrument and the world of classical music was rather foreign to them.

2- Which famous musicians do you admire and why?

I admire lots of different artists, writers and intellectuals for their contribution to humanity and I have several who really inspired me or taught me ways to look at my art. One of the writers is the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa whose ‘Book of Disquiet’ is an eternal inspiration for the inner search for beauty. A conductor who has captured me is Sergiu Celibidache, I admire his search for the natural progression of sound in space.

3- Your first album will be released this Christmas. Can you give us some idea of what pieces and the theme of this production please?

My first album isn’t released yet, but I have heard the master and am happy with it. I have had the privilege to record it under the production of Andrew Keener and I always felt in good hands recording it. It’s a recital disc with Bach’s second Partita and Schubert Sonata in A, D 664, Debussy’s first book of the Images and Schumann’s Allegro Op.8 to finish with.

4- One of your first mentors was Leonardo Palacios. How influential was he in shaping your future direction?

I consider Leonardo Palacios as the first person who guided me through big works of all art and taught me the importance of style, aesthetics and most importantly integrity. One sentence I carry with me, that is ‘never to betray oneself’.

5- Can you tell us a bit about your time of instruction at the Rotterdam Conservatory, and some of your teachers who inspired you?

In Rotterdam I have especially laid technical ground work and have had many teachers there who have helped me.

6- You graduated from the RCM after undertaking the Master’s Degree in Performance under the tutelage of Professor Andrew Ball. How was it liked to be trained by this person?

Andrew Ball is a wonderful person to work with. He is so respectful of the student and meticulous in his approach that music comes first and the technique follows naturally.

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

I remember getting a tape from my neighbour when I was very young with the Chopin’s ‘Heroic’ Polonaise played by Vladimir Ashkenazy. I was mesmerized by firstly the music, I hadn’t heard anything like it, with such power and delicacy in the performance.

8- You had the privilege of working with the concert pianist Steven Osborne. Can you tell us of your feelings at the time please?

I am very lucky to have been working with Steven Osborne. I have always felt it as a privilege to work with such an inspiring and integral person. Things he taught me are relevant up until today in my practice and life.

9- You have had the privilege of being trained in music in both England and Holland. Are there subtle differences in style and manner that has struck you between these two cultures?

This is hard to answer as I was in very different periods in my life so I might have absorbed very different things.

10- If you could do a duet with anybody alive or dead, who would that dream partner be?

I would like to form a duet with Maria João Pires if I could.

11- How often and for how long do you practice?

I practice of course everyday and only as much as my mind and body can take in.

12- Do you or would you like to teach music?

In enjoy teaching different levels as it makes one aware of certain processes we go through when learning music.

13-How do you balance your music with other obligations? What are the biggest sacrifices?

I suppose music doesn’t ever leave me as I take it with me wherever I go and as I think we can mature only through having life experience I see no sacrifices.

14-Any future projects in the pipeline?

I am excited about many projects which are coming up but would to like to mention the ‘World of Piano’ project which is going to bring together classical music and emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality. I am working together with and enthusiastic and very skilled entrepreneurial team.

To return to Cyrill’s profile:

submission December 2015