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Interview of the week – “For a young musician, it is very important that institutions offer these kinds of opportunities, particularly in such an emblematic venue as the Palau de la Música. Clearly there is a passion for music”, Aleksandr Kliuchko, finalista del Concurs Internacional Maria Canals

We spoke to the finalist of 65 edició del Concurs Internacional Maria Canals. This year, a total of 88 young pianists from 33 different countries have taken part in the Competition. Daumants Liepiņš, a 24 year-old pianist from Latvia, has won the First Prize; Aleksandr Kliuchko, a 18 year-old pianist from Russia has won the Second Prize; and KaJeng Wong, a 28 year-old pianist from Hong Kong has won the Third Prize.

What does reaching the final of the Maria Canals International Music Competition mean to you?

Daumants Liepins: It’s a great honor, especially this year that the level is so high. It’s a great opportunity to play in front of an audience.

Aleksandr KliuchkoI’m very fortunate and grateful to the jury. Being in the final really brings a lot of happiness to any pianist.

KaJeng Wong: The Maria Canals Competition means a lot to me because my favorite pianist is Alicia de Larrocha, and for many years I have been listening to her recordings every day. In addition, I will have the opportunity to play the Chopin concerto at the Palau de la Música Catalana.

How do you value ​​that entities such as Maria Canals or Fundació Banc Sabadell offer young pianists the opportunity to show their talent in such an emblematic venue as the Palau de la Música?

Daumants Liepins: I’m very pleased that institutions like these support us. I have seen many Banc Sabadell offices on the street and I think it’s very important to support classical music.

Aleksandr KliuchkoI think it’s great. For a young musician, it is very important that institutions offer these kinds of opportunities, particularly in such an emblematic venue as the Palau de la Música. Clearly there is a passion for music.

KaJeng Wong: It’s more than a competition; it’s a festival for the people. And the involvement of institutions such as Banc Sabadell is obviously great, because art is not only for artists but a gift to the public, a way to bring warmth to people. It is very important that Fundació Banc Sabadell supports the competition; this does not only affect Barcelona but has an international impact, in places like Russia, Hong Kong, Canada, etc. It is a celebration following the highest standards.

What is your professional dream? 

Daumants Liepins: My dream is to play for audiences in concerts. Most pianists who take part in competitions want to have more opportunities to play and become professionals.

Aleksandr KliuchkoI think I’m still a young man, but I know that I want to be a professional pianist; play around the world, in different countries; and in the future I would like to become a conductor. In fact, I have read some theoretical books on the subject but I haven’t had time to study yet. I will do so when I finish my piano studies.

KaJeng Wong: The best answer is to play the piano. Make a living from it but also from other activities such as the production and artistic direction of festivals or appear on TV talking about music. I have come here to give meaning to my life by sharing the art of Spain with that of my country. At the end of the day, artists only want to enrich the lives of others.

What do you feel when you are in front of the piano?

Daumants Liepins: It depends a lot on the circumstances. In a competition you have feelings that are very different from those of a concert; everyone is judging you, and to keep on going you need to recover this sense of concert. Performances in competitions are more complicated, much more than a recording or a recital, because everything is being judged. But when you see the people in the hall you think you can do it.

Aleksandr KliuchkoI think about music and I try to give my best and show everyone what I feel when I play. In addition, I like to discover new repertoires of famous composers such as Scarlatti or Bach.

KaJeng Wong: I feel that I have the honor of sharing the most intimate secrets of the composer through music.