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Nikhil Sardana: At what age did you start your music education? Which musicians and composers have inspired you ever since?

Natalia K. Kapylova: I started learning music at the age of 7 when my teacher discovered me as “a musically gifted kid’’, in a small town kindergarten and invited me to study in a Republic Boarding School of Music and Arts. It was difficult to get into that school as competition was very serious. Most of the kids were from musical families (I am not) and played some instruments already.

My next inspiration was Professor Leonid Youshkevich who was my teacher at Belarus Conservatoire where I studied for 5 years. He helped me discover the joy of public performances. I played some of most beautiful, emotionally and technically complex music of Bach, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Beethoven, Mozart, Scriabin and Rachmaninov during that time.

My first teacher was the kindest and with her Master’s degree in Music, she worked with beginners as well as 18 years olds. She was my first inspiration in music and life. She had a huge collection of music recordings and books at her home and treated me with homemade Mille-feuille cake and strong black coffee. There was a lot of listening to and playing music whenever I visited her. From her, not only did I learn Music, but, culture and style as well. I studied with her for 11 years. Her name is Natallia Cherstvaya.

Every summer, teachers from my School travelled all over the country in search of talented kids who were then invited to join the school after successfully passing a few exams. The school is one of its kind in the entire country and we had the best teachers from the earliest grades.

 

NS: How were your studies at The Belarus College of Art? How was your course structured?

NK: My next inspiration was Professor Leonid Youshkevich who was my teacher at Belarus Conservatoire where I studied for 5 years. He is a Concert Pianist, who, at 77 still actively teaches and performs. He helped me discover the joy of public performances. I played some of most beautiful, emotionally and technically complex music of Bach, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Beethoven, Mozart, Scriabin and Rachmaninov during that time.

Apart from the 3 weekly hours of Special Piano Classes with the Professor, we had individual Concert Master classes, Chamber Ensemble, as well as group classes of Music History, Aesthetics, Literature, Theory and Harmony, Pedagogy, Psychology and Philosophy.

I look for the music story or topic which moves me and share it with my audience. Sincerity is the key. I love what I play and people will always sense it.

 

NS: Tell us about your move to India from Belarus. What was the music scene when you came here and how has it evolved over the years?

NK: In 2002 I moved to India because I got married and my husband is Indian. For a few years I thought it will not be possible for me to continue being a classical pianist, as the Indian music culture is so rich and totally different from the Western tradition. Then I discovered a wonderful audience who loves and appreciates Western classical music.

My advice for young pianists in Bangalore would be to listen to their hearts and if Western classical music makes it beat faster, they must find a good teacher and an instrument and start to practice. Later, they must get on the stage and share their love with people whose hearts beat in a similar way.

 

NS: How do you go about choosing repertoire before planning a concert? Tell us about your upcoming concert with Liudmila this week?

NK: I am so happy I can be free in choosing the repertoire for my concerts. I look for the music story or topic which moves me and share it with my audience. Sincerity is the key. I love what I play and people will always sense it.

My upcoming program is called ‘’Fantasy for Two’’, and I am happy to share a stage with my dear college friend and colleague Liudmila Alizarchyk. She is a Music Professor at Christ University, Bangalore. We will play all Romantic music from the beginning of era (Schubert’s Fantasy in F minor), to some French (Saint-Saens and Debussy), German (Brahms) and Russian (Tchaikovsky) masterpieces, and we will end with a 20th century romance of Tango Argentino (Guastavino and Piazzolla). We simply want to share our passion for this music with our audience. This music makes a few hours of our everyday practice time we are looking for.

 

NS: What is your advice for young pianists in Bangalore?

NK: My advice for young pianists in Bangalore would be to listen to their hearts and if Western classical music makes it beat faster, they must find a good teacher and an instrument and start to practice. Later, they must get on the stage and share their love with people whose hearts beat in a similar way.

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