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Víctor Braojos - Piano


1- You graduated from the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (Barcelona), working with Jordi Masó and Pierre Reach. How do you recall those times and those masters?

Always I look back to my years at ESMuC, I recall them as a very happy and inspiring stage of my life. I made new acquaintances and discovered a lot about my artistic personality and who I wanted to become as a musician. In this way, Jordi is a very good teacher and a very smart musician, who guided me through a wide range of repertoire and, at the same time, left me enough space to grow by myself and develop an own characteristic style. On the other hand, Pierre is an inspiring musician and a wonderful person. He has always been there to help and guide me, and with him I explored a lot of chamber music repertoire.

2- Is your family musical?

No, I am the first musician in my family... and, although my dad played the guitar on his youth years, he finally opted for study Chemistry (I have a highly focused scientific family!). However, music has always played a very important role in my life and been very present at home (when I was a child I used to listen a lot of classical piano music and also some jazz and symphonic rock) but, until some years ago I didn’t have clear whether I wanted to make music my professional career or to choose to study medicine. Nevertheless, when I was 17 I suffered from a skin cancer and this made me realise that what really made me happy was to play the piano and to be able to tell stories while performing for other people. Since the moment I took this decision, I have not regretted it even a single time.

3- You later pursued your Master in Piano Performance at Guildhall School of Music and Drama with the highest qualifications, working with Martin Roscoe. What are your memories from this period and your mentors?

I would say studying at Guildhall has opened my eyes and has helped me to decide who I want to become as a musician in the future. Being in such a world-renowned institution, having access to all its resources and being able to participate in masterclasses with some of the most prestigious pianists in the world... it’s just incredible! On the other hand, Martin is an amazing pianist and a very complete musician whom I deeply admire. I believe that to be able to work with him has enriched my sound and nuances in an unimaginable way, feeling more comfortable playing the piano.

4- You have won an impressive number of competitions and prizes. Does anyone particularly stand out for you?

I personally recall all of them as very special moments for me... but, if I had to choose one in particular, I would probably say that the “El Primer Palau” award I won on 2019 was one of the most memorable moments in my professional career until the date. Not only for the prize on itself, but especially because it gave me the opportunity to make my début in the prestigious Palau de la Música Catalana, a wonderful modernist concert hall in which, when I was a child, I had listen some of my musical idols, such as Grigory Sokolov, Sir András Schiff or Maria João Pires. It was just a dream come true!

5- You like to combine classical repertoire with contemporary music, which has led you to world-premiere works by some of the most renowned Spanish composers. How does this honour feel like and do you think this trust in you adds an extra layer of responsibility to render these pieces as these creators have visualised?

I have always wanted to combine, as you say, classical and “contemporary” repertoire within the frame of leading-thread concert programmes as a main touchstone of my artistic project. In fact, I always try to approach to “contemporary” music with very similar eyes to how I do it with classical: they might use different grammatical, but in their core they share a lot of concepts and messages. Having said this, it is true that to have a world-premiere piece dedicated to you it is at the same time a huge honour and a big responsibility... but I honestly don’t feel any different than when I have to give a performance of let’s say a major piece by Beethoven, Chopin or Liszt. I always try to enjoy every moment I am on the stage!

6- Later this year you will launch your next CD project, named Shreds of light. Can you tell us more on the philosophy and content that will be presented in this compilation?

I first had the idea of this project over the darkest months of lockdown. I felt I had to do something to help bringing renewed hope to all the people who are still suffering the consequences of this terrible pandemic. So, it is with this thought in mind that Shreds of light was conceived. I like to imagine the CD as a kind of chiaroscuro musical portrait formed of pieces (by Bach, Brahms, a world-premiere recording by Migó and Liszt) which, under a dark and mournful appearance, have some moments of absolute purity which rip the mantle of darkness apart, letting the light find some narrow slits and enlighten again our spirits.

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

It’s very difficult to pick only one of these moments! I don’t know... perhaps one of the most especial moments I have lived performing was at the Palau de la Música, when I was performing Schubert’s D960 Piano Sonata. I remember that, at the end of the celestial 2nd movement of such a masterpiece, there was a moment in which I felt I was not playing the piano, but that the hall was instead resonating by its own with the music (the acoustics of the hall are probably the best ones in the world). This sensation still brings me tears to my eyes every time I recall it.

8- How often do your practice?

I try to practise every day between 5-6h, with some periodical break days, in which I usually like to go hiking. I believe that fewer hours would probably result in a poor “pianistic shape” but, at the same time, more would usually lead to practise “useless” hours... and that’s even more dangerous than practise less than what you should do.

9- Would you consider teaching in the future?

I believe teaching is an essential part of every musician’s life. However, I believe that to pass on your knowledge to a younger generation of pianists require a lot of performance experiences and a lot of self-reflection on what does it mean to make music. I know I will probably be a teacher one day (I hope to be a good one hahaha!)... but I would also like to take other projects, such as to start my own concert series or festival and organise musical events.

10- How do you balance your time commitments in terms of study, research, performance? What are the biggest sacrifices?

Becoming a musician is one of the biggest joys I have had in my life... but it is also true that it requires a lot of sacrifices. Sometimes you feel you would need 26 hours a day to do everything you would like to do! It is not only practising, but do a considerable amount of research, self-reflection, exercise, etc. However, I believe everything in this life is a balance... and only you can judge if something it’s worth all the effort or not.

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

Never stop trying! For every success you achieve there are dozens of failures... but nobody sees these ones. It is very easy to be disappointed after a couple of failures... but I believe luck is an attitude, and music making it’s more like a marathon than a 100 m race. Resilience is a key factor in such a wonderful (and at the same time challenging) profession.

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submission February 2021