An Interview with Pianist Reto Reichenbach (Switzerland)
Pianist Reto Reichenbach played “Chopin – A Musical Legacy” piano recital at the Kunming Theater on March 27. We had a chance to discuss with him about his musical life and thoughts.
How did you become interested in playing the piano?
As my older sister was playing already, I was strongly drawn to the piano and played pieces I knew by ear. So my parents thought it right to enroll me for piano in the local music school as well. They seem to have been right…
Who are your favorite composers whom you like playing the most and why?
Johannes Brahms, for the passion and longing that I feel in his music; Frédéric Chopin, for the inexhaustible imagination in his melodies and harmonies and for the pianistic elegance; Franz Schubert, for his intimacy and sincerity; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, for the awesome beauty; Johann Sebastian Bach, for the perfect balance of structure and emotionality; Olivier Messiaen, for the rich colors.
This year we commemorate the Polish composer Chopin’s 200th anniversary. In the Kunming Theater piano recital you played an extensive selection of Chopin’s pieces. What are some of the challenges and secrets for playing Chopin well?
Good musical taste is very important to playing Chopin. One can easily fall either by just focusing on the virtuosity or by playing overly sentimental.
The technical difficulties (which in some works are great!) need to be mastered, so that the performance can be free and spontaneous.
You work as a free-lance musician giving piano concerts and teaching students. What are some of the words of wisdom and encouragement you would like to give to young musicians interested in a career in music?
Before you start going professionally into music, think about your motivations. Being a musician can be a hard business, and you may not become rich and famous. Yet, if you have a strong passion for music, you hear from others that hearing you play touches them, you love to teach music, and you are also willing to invest much time into solitary practicing, then this is a great profession!
As this is your first time in Kunming, what do you think about the city, the people, the food…
Many people here have received me very warmly. I don’t know much about the city yet, but my first impressions have been very favorable, except for the chaotic traffic… The food is great, that alone would be worth the trip!
Reto will give master classes at the Yunnan Arts Institute (Music conservatory) during March 29-April 1. TCG Nordica master class will take place April 3-4. If you are interested in participating in the TCG Nordica master class with a program of Chopin and contemporary piano composers or come to listen to the class, please contact Jin Xiaoyun by phone (Tel. 13888931611).