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Interview with Natalia Yurkanova

- Natalia, first of all, I would like to thank you for your time dedicated to us. As we approach the 21st Century International Piano Music Competition that will take place in February in Tokyo and whose jury member you are, I would like to ask you several questions.

- Yes please.

- In what way musical education changed in comparison with the Soviet era?

- After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a massive exodus of intelligentsia, conservatory graduates, sportsman, and coaches took place.

Unquestionably, political changes left their tremendous imprint, and creative intelligentsia migrated in large numbers to many countries where teachers with prestigious higher musical education received at the best Soviet Union conservatories and who are laureates are highly sought, as, for instance, Japan, China, Korea, if I am to speak about Asia.

For example, when considering neighboring China, it has, according to statistics, some million of pianists and large numbers of professors and private musical school teachers and concertmasters from Russia, Ukraine, and Belorussia. There are professors in Japan as well, and also people with musical education who give private lessons; some combine teaching and giving concerts.

After all, back home salaries of musicians-teachers and concertmasters are quite humble; 70-100 dollars a month.

What do you think, can an individual who receives this salary be also fully engaged in performing music?

- Against this background, it is remarkable that currently a considerable number of Asian students pay to study in the Moscow Conservatory and other conservatories in Russia and Ukraine to receive diplomas and because they care about the quality of education they receive.

- I know of many instances when professors or talented musicians who live and work abroad prepare foreigners for enrollment to prestigious post-soviet conservatories or for competitions. I personally am involved in teaching, balancing it with concert performance and management.



- Is it necessary to force students to study music?

- You know, as a child I was forced and I do not see anything bad in this, as long as positive results are achieved. Another question is the degree of influence and the individual, sensitive approach of a teacher. The key task is to instill Love of music, inflame the heart with Music, captivate a student in such a way that he or she begins to seek and self-improve, motivate a student with care, and inoculate him or her with a taste for music.

- Natalia, it should be noted that you were able to organize a multitude of concerts and you invited to Japan master-class, world-famous musicians and laureates of prestigious musical competitions.

- Yes, I am actively collaborating with several organizations, such as the Moscow Conservatory, the Kiev Conservatory, the International Competition for Young Pianists in Memory of Vladimir Horowitz, with well-known musicians and composers from the entire world, who live in Russia, the United States, Japan, as well as other countries; I organized a festival, and a series of concerts and master classes for them in Tokyo, Tiba, and Osaka. I just returned from Kiev, where I was kindly invited to work in the administration of Mykola Lysenko International Music Competition, held by the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture.

- What are your plans for artistic quest?

- To keep the desired pace, maintain rhythm, and gain creative momentum (laughs). Ahead of me - the International Competition of Pianists in Tokyo, where I will be a jury member, a series of master classes in Tokyo and Osaka, my concerts, and planned concert tours of my musicians, follow announcements at my website.

- Thank you for talking to me.

- I would like to thank you as well.

The interview was conducted by K. Kawashima


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