Konstantin Lifschitz, pianist

Who or what inspired you to take up piano and pursue a career in music?

My family.

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

The greatest impact on my career has been nature: the brooks, the seas, pines and lilacs, “ye banks and braes” etc.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Not to stop.

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

My recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations in 2015, a more recent recording compared to the one I released in 1994. To my ears nothing could be more different between those 2 recordings. The 1994 one is a studio recording from Moscow and it shows the relative maturity, or prematurity as it were, of a 17-year-old aspiring youngster who is led by a relentless and critical teacher. The message is one of certainty, excessive self-assuredness and concision.

The newest one is a live recording of my performance at Würzburger Bachtage music festival in Germany. It captures the work of an almost 40-year-old who spent his life trying whatever was possible to grasp the nostalgic spirit of that work, failing more often than not and being well aware of that. It represents an open end, meanwhile inviting the listener to walk through the labyrinth of light and shadow, whispers and the cries so to say.

Which particular works do you think you play best?

All!

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

Depending on what I eat, how I breath and sleep.

Tell us about your programme in the London Piano Festival this October?

I will perform works inspired by mist, wandering, remembrance and nature perception. I would love the audience to enjoy this programme – in Mozart’s words – “without knowing why”.

Who are your favourite musicians?

Birds

What is your most memorable concert experience?

When I come off stage with a pleasant feeling.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

When I know that it really wasn’t bad.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Love music and let yourself be intoxicated by art.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

Performing much more actively than today. Conducting Bach Cantatas and Mozart Operas etc.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Looking at something endless: sky with stars and/or clouds, the sea or river in a nice landscape while knowing that my loved ones are doing all right. In other words, never.

What is your most treasured possession?

The remainder of my brain.

What is your present state of mind?

Dark with short sparks of clarity.

Konstantin Lifschitz performs a solo recital of Schubert, Janáček and Debussy on 4 October and in the Two-Piano Marathon on 6 October as part of the London Piano Festival 2018 at Kings Place.

Further information and tickets here.

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