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SPOTLIGHT: Musician Mihran ‘Mino’ Kalaydjian

17 Jul

The Writer Next Door-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q-musician-spotlight-Mihran-piano-music

It is rare today for a classical musician to have mainstream appeal and simultaneously garner critical acclaim. Mihran ‘Mino’ Kalaydjian sells out symphony halls with his talent and star quality. So needless to say, I am ecstatic to have him on my blog today.

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“The piano keys are black and white but they sound like a million colors in your mind.”

~Maria Cristina Mena

Award-winning Solo pianist and composer, Mihran Kalaydjian delivers heartfelt piano melodies with a rare level of artistry and emotion.

The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-musician-Mihran Kalaydjian-quotes-music-Poetry-Vashti Quiroz Vega

 

 In his words . . .

On a personal note, I love the outdoors, comedy, bbq, reading and traveling. I worked in the beer industry in college, so I love talking about good beer. I used to be a competitive runner so (like all runners) if you make the mistake of asking me, I’ll tell you about my entire career and PRs. I also spent my youth working in restaurants, so if you’ve done the same, we can swap stories.

Music is more than just notes on a page or a series of different pitches. Music is an art, and through art we are able to discover who we are in ways that we never would through anything else. Music is the desire to draw inspiration from everything we see and hear, to truly be aware of ourselves and our surroundings, and to translate atmosphere into sound.

 

Mihran composed the following musical piece for my poem, ‘FATHER’

Father

by Vashti Q

His brown eyes deepened into polished onyx, and upon them came a mist of tears.

He watched with the facade of a brave man as his baby boy entered the world.

As if his mind and body were not consumed by overwhelming fears.

What are my duties? There are no guidelines. Where do I start?

The babe in his arms felt so natural, yet so alien. A fire blazed in his chest.

“You are a father now.” The words were jolting, yet pleasing to his heart.

 

His brown eyes deepened into polished onyx, and upon them came a mist of tears.

He watched with the façade of a calm man as his son toddled, taking his first steps.

As if his mind and body were not consumed by overwhelming fears.

What if he falls? What if he hurts himself? Then I would have failed as a father.

The toddler tottered to him embracing him with dulcet giggles.

As he held his son, it did not feel alien. His heart gave way for love to conquer.

 

His brown eyes deepened into polished onyx, and upon them came a mist of tears.

He watched with the façade of a cool man as his son introduced him to his first girl.

As if his mind and body were not consumed by overwhelming fears.

What if he falls in love? What if she breaks his heart?

He embraced his son and slipped extra cash in his pocket.

As he held his son, it felt like love, and he rested assured his son was smart.

 

His brown eyes deepened into polished onyx, and upon them came a mist of tears.

He watched with the façade of a brave man as his son grew and had sons of his own.

As if his mind and body were not consumed by overwhelming fears.

Did I raise him right? Did I teach him to be a good husband and father?

He embraced his son, and they were swathed by the love they both felt.

As he held his son, his questions were answered, and he grew calmer.

 

His son’s brown eyes deepened into polished onyx, and upon them came a mist of tears.

He watched his father wear the façade of a spent man as he lay on a hospital bed.

His son’s mind and body were consumed by overwhelming fears.

Am I doing the right thing? Who am I to decide when his time has come?

His face dampened with sorrow as he embraced his father.

As he held his father’s weary body and gazed into his dimming eyes, his questions were answered, and he grew calmer.

 

His brown eyes deepen into polished onyx, and upon them comes a mist of tears.

He watches with the façade of a pitiful man as his son reaches for that plug.

He is ready to leave this world and grateful his son has let go of his fears.

As his son holds his ruined body, and he feels the lifeblood drain from his eyes, he knows he has raised him right.

His mind and body are consumed with overwhelming love.

His son has given him the gift of peace, and his happy spirit travels toward the light.

The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-musician-Mihran Kalaydjian-quotes-music-Poetry-Vashti Quiroz Vega

Q & A with Mihran Kalaydjian

 

When and why did you start playing?

I grew up in a family of musicians. My mother is a piano teacher and my father was a conductor in Jerusalem, Israel. My mother had a large influence on my musical development; she was the one who introduced me to music. Thanks to her, I was surrounded by music from the very beginning. Since childhood, I remember listening Berlioz’s “Fantastic Symphony”, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto, Chopin Etudes and many other beautiful music compositions. It was one little song that inspired me to start playing piano. I loved the song so much that I would sing it over and over. I was only Four years old, and of course I didn’t know how to read notes, so I tried to pick up the music by ear. When I sat down to play the song, it came easily. It was joy for me to be able to “perform” my favorite song and share it with my family and friends.

I started playing on my own aged around 7 or 8. At 11 I had a handful of lessons by a teacher who struggled to sight-read my Grade 2 pieces.

Actually, although most people find this difficult to believe, there was never a time where I decided I wanted to become a pianist. Instead, my early passion for composing was the driving force in my decision to be a professional musician, and the pianist part just came naturally with that. Inherently, I have great angst when I compose, for I “hear” so much more than what can be created on the piano as it exists now or any other singular instruments for that matter. Having said that, the piano is truly unique and unparalleled.

 

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What was the first tune(s) you learned?

The Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto 2. This was a piece that I’ve always wanted to play, since high school, and I never had the opportunity to. I think it’s one of the most dramatic pieces out there, and I really wanted the opportunity to play it with an orchestra

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Is your family musical?

I grew up in a family of musicians. My mother is a piano teacher and my father was a conductor in Jerusalem, Israel. My mother had a large influence on my musical development; she was the one who introduced me to music. Thanks to her, I was surrounded by music from the very beginning. Since childhood, I remember listening Berlioz’s “Fantastic Symphony”, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto, Chopin Etudes and many other beautiful music compositions. It was one little song that inspired me to start playing piano. I loved the song so much that I would sing it over and over. I was only Four years old, and of course I didn’t know how to read notes, so I tried to pick up the music by ear. When I sat down to play the song, it came easily. It was joy for me to be able to “perform” my favorite song and share it with my family and friends.

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Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?

Mahler at first. A unique harmonious invention and a capacity to be granted no limits in language, nor at the same time to give nothing up.

Then, the composers-pianists Liszt, Scriabin and Chopin, to whom I dedicated several recordings (Complete Chopin Nocturnes, Complete Poems by Scriabin…)

Mine are Andras Schiff (I love his Hammerklavier sonata interpretation in particular, & his lyrical tone) & Wolf Harden for his Busoni Fantasia Contrappuntistica interpretation. But Busoni actually indicated breathing places in certain of his works.

So many it is difficult to pick! I love Pierre-Laurent Aimard, he is an inspiration. Argerich as well. I cannot live without her Prokofiev.

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Who was your first teacher? Other teachers?

I had always loved music and I sang ever since I can remember. My mother tells me that I started singing, quite in tune, even before I talked.

My first piano teacher’s name was Augustine Lama & Colin Stone. Because I was only four years old, Augustine Lama at 65 was older than my grandparents, and looked so old to me as to be very intimidating. On top of that, when he asked how old I was and realized I was four, he told me that I was too young to start piano lessons, and then maybe I should wait another year. I started crying so much that he said, “Okay, I will put you to the test.” He started beating very complicated rhythms that I should imitate, then he went to the piano and played a few notes, then chords, while I was turned around, looking in the other direction. I was able to go back to the piano and play exactly what he had played. When he realized I had perfect pitch, and after seeing how I had a good sense of rhythm, to my delight, he changed his mind and said, “You can start Monday.”

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How do you enjoy performing lesser known contemporary music? Is this more of a challenge as far as selling the audience of the performance?

Learning contemporary music can be a challenge because our starting point of reference is not the same. However, I think any good piece will eventually show itself to be worthwhile and of real value. I think most of us love what feels familiar, even if we don’t think we do, so communicating the unknown to any audience, takes belief, commitment and perhaps some explanation to set the scene. Let’s not forget that all music has been contemporary at some stage or another!

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Describe your first instrument. 

In the beginning, like many people, there was a gradual attraction to music and playing through the years of my very early childhood.

My interest in music and playing an instrument was the result of a gradual process of experimenting and playing around with pots, pans and toy drums, dancing and writing little songs. I remember really liking the tactile aspect of playing percussion instruments. By the time I was in primary school, I became very interested in writing songs. It was strongly suggested I learn piano as a means of developing this interest, but for me, I somehow had a very strong feeling I needed to play drums. I did however, start playing guitar a little bit and wrote songs on that instrument but not with the seriousness with which I studied and practiced drums.

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 What is the most unusual aspect of traveling as a concert artist?

When I travel to a distant city for a concert, sometimes I’ll stay in a hotel, but very often I’ll stay with a “host family”—a local family that is usually the patron of the concert hall I’ll be playing in or the orchestra I’ll be playing with. Living in their homes, I have developed very close relationships with these families who are like substitute parents for me when I travel. My host families have become some of my closest friends in the world.

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 Do you play any other types of music other than solo?

I love playing chamber music. Chamber music encourages interactive collaboration as a value that every musician should learn to have. Being a pianist can be a solitary pursuit; chamber music is broadening the ways in which one thinks about and expresses oneself as a musician. It also opens the door to more performance opportunities, rather than pursuing a career purely as a soloist. A chamber performance uniquely offers the musicians the opportunity to cooperate with each other while simultaneously communicating intimately with an audience in a manner that would not be possible in larger performance situations. As a solo pianist, you spend most of your time practicing alone in a room with just your instrument for company. But with a trio, you have to be in tune—literally and figuratively—with two other musicians. The three of you have to find a common interpretation of the music, or you’re not really a trio—you’re just three people who happen to be playing at the same time.

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What are you working on at the moment? Tell us a little about your current projects.

Composing is, for me, an inner necessity: music is a fruit of the spirit that can sometimes lead us to the Absolute. When you compose, it becomes possible to fulfill the desire to create a world of your own, a personal microcosm where you set the rules and also make their exceptions.

Make music that I love and be happy.

My current projects are moving me in two directions, which sometimes overlap. First, I am recording the words of Granados, whose works, including the complete version of “Goyescas,” are not really as well-known as they should be.

I have fallen in love with his works’ distinct Spanish flavor, color, and rhythm. In preparing the music, I immersed myself not just in Spanish music but also in Spanish art and literature; the music is very dramatic.

I will keep enjoying my collaboration as soloist, Composer recording for the music publication ‘Pianist Millennium Production’; a tour in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, New York for Christmas Melody, Texas,   at the end of the year with other concert activities as usual; and learn more Rachmaninov pieces!

In the opera version, two men meet a woman, flatter her, and fall in love with her. But eventually love turns into a duel to the death between the suitors, and the woman’s true love dies in her arms.

The second direction is finding ways to bring classical music to more listeners though the connections I have established with several world-renowned brands.

Dolce & Gabbana has supplied my concert gowns, and I have performed for Breguet, the distinguished Switzerland’s watchmaker, at the Frick Collection in New York. Right now, I am touring the showrooms of Roche Bobois, the leading French retailer of modern furniture.

While my music can be used to help these brands, I see these relationships as a great opportunity to bring classical music to new audiences.

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What advice would you give to anyone serious about being a classical musician?

Everyone in every business talks about the need to network and socialize. I realize that’s true, even in the arts; I see frequently that aspiring artists are overwhelmed by the business side of things and neglect their artistic developments.

But you can never let these roles take too much time away from the time you spend on your art itself. You should never lose sight of your dream!

Mino-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q-musician-spotlight-Mihran

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Tell us about your website/blog. What will readers find there?

http://www.mihrankalaydjianpiano.com/

http://www.mihranpiano.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MihranKalaydjianPianoMelodies

And finally, a few fun questions… 

A favorite movie?  Lawrence of Arabia
A musical instrument?  Piano
A composer?  Magnus Lindberg
A book?  The Black Swan of Nassim Nicholas Taleb
A city?  London
A song?  Bohemian Raphsody by Queen
A TV Series?  Juncal

“I’m an interpreter of stories. When I perform it’s like sitting down at my piano and telling fairy stories.”

~Nat King Cole

Connect with Mihran on Social Media

Facebook

Google+

Twitter

Instagram

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“I am still more and more aware of the true purpose of music and the people who play it: to heal and unite the planet.” 

~Mihran Kalaydjian

 

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Happiness Is A Thing To Be Practiced, Like A Violin.

13 Aug
Happiness Is A Thing To Be Practiced, Like A Violin.

David Garrett

Hello! Welcome to my blog. I love art, creativity and beauty, and I know these come in many forms. In this post I would like to introduce to you a record-breaking German classical and crossover violinist and recording artist David Garrett.

He gets his first violin at age four and makes his first appearance with the Hamburg Philharmonics at the early age of ten. At age thirteen he is the youngest artist to be awarded an exclusive contract with the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft. In 1999, at the height of his career, the shooting star redirects his energy, deciding to leave his predetermined path as a classical violinist and move to New York – not to take a time-out but rather to place his musical proficiency on a theoretical foundation and perfect his technique. He enrolls at the prestigious Julliard School, studying musicology and composition.

Instruction with Itzhak Perlmann lends his performance completely new facets. David Garrett’s particular enthusiasm for studying composition earns him a distinction in 2003 when he wins the renowned Composition Competition of Julliard School with a fugue composed in the style of Johann Sebastian Bach. In doing so, he lays the foundation for what have become legendary arrangements. His highly esteemed American composition teacher Eric Ewazen has said of him “As a violinist, his spectacular, heartfelt and expressive playing already dazzled – even when he was a student – those of us who had the great pleasure of teaching him, and we recognized his extraordinary gifts and his amazing talent.”  http://david-garrett.com/us/about/

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David Garrett’s personality and sex appeal is only surpassed by his talent.

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David Garrett breathes new life into the violin (classical music).

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Talent, personality and good looks makes David Garrett a “Super Star”

I hope you enjoyed!