I’m Gina with the Multicultural Arts Exchange in Philadelphia. I was able to interview a very special performer, musician, poet, and artist Asiya Korepanova, who just finished her event with us, dedicated to the legendary Tchaikovsky.
MAE project director recently had an impromptu interview with Asiya in their native Russian.
How do you start the process of writing a composition?
There is always an idea first, coming in the shape of a motive, or form, or set of instruments. I always write and correct, write and correct, trying to, in Michelangelo's words, cut out everything that doesn't fit :)
What sparks inspiration for your work?
Many things can be a point of start. It can be a pure artistic idea, or an event in life, or someone else's work that spiked new thoughts. Some inspirations get you to work immediately. Some burn for years before taking a finalized shape.
What were your biggest musical influences growing up? How have they changed over your training/career?
Both of my parents are musicians and people highly interested in all kinds of arts. They homeschooled me until age 10 and made sure I grew up surrounded by recordings, art catalogs, musical scores, poetry, literature, and that has definitely been the kickstart of my imagination and aspirations. I also have always been inspired by figures who embraced and developed many talents at once.
How did your family introduce you to the world of music?
My father, a composer, was listening to tons of different musical pieces on a daily basis. My mother, a pianist, was constantly practicing, rehearsing, performing, teaching. I don't think I ever realized growing up that life can be anything else, not including music in it! :)
Where/which event was the most memorable for you to perform?
It is impossible to pick one. Concert experiences become memorable because of either the overall circumstances or the personal feeling of artistic achievement.
I will never forget my performance at a teenage prison, where inmates cried hearing the music of Schubert for the first time in their lives, or the first time I played the first book of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier without an intermission and how this 2 hours 25 minute program felt to me like just 20 minutes, or my debut with an orchestra at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, or the concerts where I premiered my original music or projects, or my most recent 'Covid times' recital last week, where
I played for an extremely limited audience of 28 people, and those 28 felt like 2800 people of an enormous hall - they definitely made enough noise clapping and yelling at the end to "pass" for a huge crowd!
Or any of my recitals I play for kids at schools, where I perform the most difficult and intense repertoire for them and they stop moving and get completely absorbed by the music - that inspired me to create Music for Minds non-profit organization. Music shall not be introduced to children in a simplified or cheesy way, they are capable of absorbing and feeling it just like any other grown-up person, and it helps them to understand the beauty of this world on a completely different level.
What aspects of Tchaikovsky do you resonate with most? How do you portray them through your performance?
To me, he is very sentimental, not in an over-sweetened way, but in a major, profound, deep, touching, and colorful way. I am just trying to be the most sincere and open myself when playing him, and I am constantly searching for the new undertones and nuances to portray what his music makes me feel.
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