Interview with pianist Kseniia Vokhmianina

In addition to world-class artists, large scale of the audience and fantastic atmosphere, International festival of chamber music Convivium Musicum is proud of initiating and supporting volunteer work and very good cooperation with the Faculty of Philology and Arts in Kragujevac. Students from the Department of the Music in Media are Festival’s volunteers, and as part of this work they have the opportunity to interview artists and to apply in practice what they have learned. Under the mentorship of Dr. Marija Ciric, professor and master Katarina Lazarevic, assistant lecturer at subject Media forms of Music, students prepared and carried out interviews with the performers of this year’s Festival.

Pianist Kseniia Vokhmianina was interviewed by Lazar Jagličic, student of master academic studies, after the concert held on the third evening of the Festival at which Kseniia performed as a member of Festival chamber ensemble “Convivium Musicum”.

MUSIC SHOULD ERADIATE JOY

During the Third International Festival of Chamber Music Convivium Musicum, which was held in Kragujevac Ksenijafrom 14th to 17th of March, we had the opportunity to talk with the Ukrainian pianist Kseniia Vokhmianina. This young artist has been awarded the title of “Best graduate” and with it received a prestigious scholarship to attend studies at the Royal College of Music in the United Kingdom. In 2015 she finishes master studies at the National Pedagogical University in Kharkiv in Ukraine. She has won numerous awards at international competitions in France, Australia, Indonesia, Poland, Italy, Serbia, Malaysia and Singapore. She currently works as a professor in the School of Art SOTA in Singapore.

This is not your first time in Serbia. Tell us about your previous experience, how do you like it here and what do you think about our audience?

First off all, I’d like to say that every time that I come back to Serbia it’s a great experience for me, because people are so friendly, welcoming and warm. The hospitality is amazing. Food is great and the concert halls are wonderful. My first time in Serbia was four years ago, we were rehearsing with Filip Tomić for our upcoming concert tour in Montenegro. So at that time I saw this beautiful Hall of the First Kragujevac Gymnasium where we had rehearsals and I really liked it a lot. Second time I was here is this year, when I came for the piano competition in Niš and I won first place in my category then.

You already performed with Filip Tomić. How did this collaboration happen?

I performed with him on a concert tour. We had several concerts in Montenegro. One of them was recital at festival Dani muzike in Herceg Novi. And next year we had concerts in Ukraine, so it was always great pleasure to perform with him, particularly because we were doing duets at that time.

A Serbian name that attracted my attention in your biography is Boris Kraljević. What was your experience working with him?

It was wonderful. He was my professor for many years. I love him a lot because he is a great pianist, musician and pedagogue. It is a great honor to work with him.

You perform as a piano recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician. In what of those roles do you feel most comfortable in?

Actually in all roles, but experiences are different. I like to play chamber music because of great cooperation with other musicians, and this great energy which is transpiring between us and how we show it to the audience. It’s always very exciting to perform with other musicians. Even though when I play by myself I also love it. I have so much freedom in my ideas and in how I can bring them to the audience. With orchestra of course it’s amazing. I absolutely adore playing as a soloist with orchestra, and I was lucky to have multiple opportunities to do so.

It seems you have an affinity for Chopin and his music. Is he your favorite composer or is there another composer you like more?

I really like Rachmaninoff. His compositions are very similar to my nature. I always feel so passionate when I play his music. But also I love Chopin. I had a pleasure of learning and performing Chopin’s Piano concerto in e – minor with an orchestra in Singapore. I definitely love to play his solo pieces also.

You have a lot of ties to Singapore and Asia, and you spend a lot of time there. Is there any other country that you feel similarly about, somewhere you always go back to and where you feel almost like at home except Singapore?

Actually Serbia is one of those countries, because of its very welcoming people, wonderful atmosphere. It’s also similar to Ukraine in a way. In terms of food, recipes, and also I can understand a little bit of Serbian language after being here for a few times. I know a few words, and I have fun learning a couple more every time I come back.

What are you doing when you’re not playing the piano? What relaxes you and makes you satisfied?

I have many things I like to do. I really like to go to the seaside and swim. In Singapore there is an opportunity for me to do so because summer lasts for the most of the year. When I have a half day off, sometimes I go to the island in Singapore which is called Sentosa and I just swim there or stay at the beach, enjoy the horizon and draw in inspiration from nature. That’s what I love to do.

What are your aspirations in life?

My main goal is to always develop musically, every day. Wherever I go I try to learn something new and meet new wonderful people. I really like to develop all the time and to perform. I always wanted to be a performing artist, to have many concerts and bring joy to people if I can with my music.

Lazar Jagličić
Student master of academic studies at the Department of Music in the media, FILUM, Kragujevac