Interview with Young Pianist Alexander Panfilov (RVIPW 2014)

Can you tell us what it means for young musicians like you to be invited to play at festivals like RVIPW?

It is very flattering! And the same time it is quite challenging. One of the aspects is when just starting as a young musician, you don’t have enough planning experience, so thinking of the repertoire is extremely important. And when you have a full-length solo recital sometimes it’s really difficult to shape it well. I was lucky however to have a suggestion from Martin Roscoe, artistic director of RVIPW, to play the complete Rachmaninov Etudes-Tableux op.39 (that he heard me play before), and from me, added the rest of the programme.

Are events like this important for young musicians like you to gain performing experience?

I can’t even describe how important it is – I think performance practice is something that is absolutely crucial for an establishing young musician – and it is so helpful when you do get those invitations!

What did you think of the welcome you received, and the venue?

The venue is great, located in a nice scenery which gives a really pleasant feeling. At the same time the hall is good acoustically and the piano was a very high standard. The piano technician Marianne Bailey is absolutely fantastic! It was nice that even in a seemingly remote location, there was a big audience, and I could feel good connection, even though my repertoire was perhaps not the easiest one to listen to in a lunchtime recital.

Did you enjoy the whole experience?

It is always great to share music with people but when it is organised so well it is particularly a pleasure!

How long does it take to get the pieces you played for us up to performance standard?

It very much depends on the repertoire. In that particular case it took a very long time because the cycle of Rachmaninov’s Etude-Tableux is massive and rarely played as a whole, so I combined the etudes I have played before and learned some new ones until I came up with the idea of playing a whole cycle. In proper terms I would say it took more than two years to put my programme together.  (His progamme is HERE)

You went on to win several major International Piano competitions after your RVIPW concert. Are more planned?

Yes I was lucky to win top prizes in competitions in Spain, Italy and the UK. There are more planned of course – competitions are quite unpleasant and nerve wrecking  but can be very rewarding especially in terms of engagements, so I will probably do as many as I can. I try to see it as a way of getting through to the market!

Tell us about your up and coming concerts – anything exciting in the pipeline?

I have planned tours to Italy and Switzerland, upcoming Shostakovich Concerto with the RNCM orchestra and some more exciting engagements in the UK. I also really like playing chamber music so this spring I am happy to be a part of a trio at the Interlaken festival. I also hope to get a comeback performance in my own country at some point!