Rupert; I came to the piano through music therapy at the age of 3 or 4 - the instrument helped me to start communicating. I started lessons at the age of 5 & continued on/off with different teachers until I graduated. What / who brought YOU to the piano?
Jasmina: I got my first piano lessons at the age of 6 from my cousin, a professional pianist. Everything seemed easy at that age. I was also advised to play the violin because of a sharp ear, but the piano immediately became my passion. Even though I continued the usual classes at school, I won several national competitions between the ages of 12 and 16 and then entered the High Faculty of Music in Belgrade at the age of 17.
Afterwards I came to Paris to perfect my skills with a scholarship obtained by the French government. My life changed at that time, a new path was drawn to meet artists and teachers of international influence. I knew great names in French piano such as Yvonne Lefébure, France Clidat, and I continued the improvement in Switzerland & Belgium, with Édith Fischer & Aquiles Delle Vigne, disciples of Claudio Arrau. Masterclasses in Holland with Jasinski (Poland, Krystian Zimmerman's teacher), Kammerling (Germany), and John Perry (USA) also broadened my piano horizons.
To what extent has where you were born / grew up / spent most of your life influenced your interest in / passion for music, and the styles of music you've practiced / played / (re-)created?
Born in Belgrade, having as my first teacher a Czech pianist, I am inclined towards Slavic composers, including Chopin. On the other hand, my inner structure leads me to classicism – Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert. With a classical setting one can escape so high to humanity, as Beethoven does in his last symphony. Schubert also has a special place in my heart, and Mozart's creativity, under its appearance of simplicity, takes us into the realm of geniuses.
I feel good on stage, as a solo pianist or chamber musician. I also like to transmit: some periods of my life were devoted a lot to teaching that I conceive in a broad and holistic way. Accompanying the "human and musician" being of the students, helping them on their journey in different ways - by looking inside to unlock obstacles, by offering them concerts, while obviously working on the pianistic and musical side in a wide repertoire - fascinates me.
Right; piano quintet with her students
Jasmina Kulaglich recorded this in Sept 2020
How would you describe or explain your role as a musician?
What responsibilities do you have as an artist?
In my concerts, I like to imagine that the audience goes with me in other dimensions, more subtle than our daily life. I like to imagine that their emotions are touched and enriched, that I take them by the hand to walk together for a moment in wonderful imaginary countries, even if they can sometimes involve pain and suffering, as the composers have transmitted them.
I am often told at the end of my concerts: "We have gone elsewhere", and I am happy about that. When I work, after the first preparations, my intuition guides me to these invisible areas where we can shape reality and create it through sound. Above; Jasmine @ her recital in Salle Cortot
Right; Jasmina @ her recital in Salle Cortot
This year I released my new album Dumka (Calliope label) and got really great reviews in France & UK.
I dreamt of recording this album for a very long time and now, more than ever, I needed to realise this dream. I recorded the music with the help of Belgian sound engineer Frédéric Briant (Decca, Virgin, …) at famous french piano maker Stephen Paulello’s studio on his very special piano ‘Opus 102’; the original design of the instrument lends itself perfectly for this Slavic program.
My inspiration comes from the beauty of the Slavic lands, a place that I call my home. Its deep emotions, strength, and courage all run through my blood. The pieces I chose vary greatly; some are lyrical while others are filled with joy and show that happiness can be found even under the direst of circumstances. There are also some mischievous selections that will bring out the inner child in all of us.
Read more information about Jasmina's 2022 album Dumka on Medium
I like to be surrounded by orchestral musicians and to create with them in perfect agreement. I really like chamber music, but having a very pronounced soloist character, I will more often take the place of soloist with orchestra, the one that gave me so much joy in the past, especially in Great Britain.
I have a very nice memory of the concert at « Salle Gaveau » in Paris with the wonderful acoustic, where I played two Liszt Concertos with the European Romantic Orchestra.
In the years to come, I will devote myself less to teaching and much more to concert presence. Today, a new page in my life is to be built, purely artistic and creative, and I am thrilled about it.
Upcoming concert in UK: July 29th, 7.30pm Chester Cathedral