Young pianist Erdem Misirlioglu, RVIPW 2014, shares his enthusiasm for our intimate venue and our kind, appreciative audience
How important is it to you to be invited to play at festivals like RVIPW?
For a young musician like myself, it is hugely important to gain experience in front of a public. Even with all of the practice in the world, some aspects of a piece only reveal themselves in performance.
How important are festivals like RVIPW in the cultural life of the UK?
Very important – it means there is access to high quality music making in all corners of the UK, which is not necessarily the case abroad.
How do you go about selecting repertoire to play at events like RVIPW?
At this stage in my career, learning repertoire is important, so a lot of programmes are made up of new pieces. I tend to like starting with something familiar, so that the first few minutes are a bit less stressful! Otherwise, I think it’s important to find a good balance in a programme. Often a lot of thought goes into picking pieces and the order they should be performed, to optimise the experience for the listener.
How long does it take you to prepare for a concert like this?
The more preparation the better. The subconscious does a lot of work between practice sessions too so I find it’s good to spread out the work over a couple of months rather than cramming it into a short space of time. I suppose the same can be applied to learning anything in general.
How do small, intimate venues like ours compare with larger venues you’ve played in?
I love the more intimate venue. The feeling of communicating something is much more direct and the performer can ‘feel’ the listener a lot more. In some halls, the divide between the stage and the audience is so great, it almost feels like nobody is there
What did you think of the whole experience of coming to play for us?
I enjoyed it. I was pleased to see a very good turnout, and I was only playing in a lunchtime concert. People were very appreciative and kind – people from the North will probably always come across to me like that having spent a decade in London!
You have a great rapport with audiences, and seem genuinely to enjoy meeting the people who come to hear you play. How important is this aspect of your work as a musician?
I don’t see it as work. If people want to have a chat afterwards, that’s great, but it’s not work!
Is there a particular memory of RVIPW which stands out?
I remember it being very professionally run. I was well looked after and the conditions were perfect – excellent piano too.
Tell us about your up and coming projects. Do you have anything exciting in the pipeline?
I am mostly busy with my piano trio at the moment. We are looking forward to playing the Tchaikovsky Piano Trio in the Snape Maltings Proms this summer, as well as returning to the Wigmore Hall for a coffee concert later this year. Concerts in the next year will take us to Austria, China, Norway, France and Spain. I am also looking forward to playing my first Brahms 1st Piano Concerto next season, one of my favourite pieces!