Interview with pianist Boris Kraljevic

With each project realized, the Citizens Association “CONVIVIUM MUSICUM” introduces novelties, some of which have grown into traditions and many years of excellent practices and cooperation. The Third international festival of chamber music Convivium Musicum, held in 2016, brought an opportunity to students of the Faculty of Philology and Arts in Kragujevac, from the Department of Music in the Media, to practically apply their acquired knowledge in the form of interviewing artists who performed at the Festival. This practice continued with great mutual satisfaction in 2017. The students, as well as in 2016, created and realized interviews under the mentorship of Dr Marija Ciric, associate professor.

Luka Zlatanović, a student of the second year, had the opportunity to talk with maestro Boris Kraljevic, after the third concert of the Festival. This interview was also published in the journal “Muzika klasika”, no. 27, year VIII, April – June 2017.



IMG_6736During the 4th International festival of chamber music Convivium Musicum, held from 14th to 17th March, we had the honour to talk with the pianist Boris Kraljevic. This prominent artist performed at the third evening of the Festival with Evenos string quartet. Kraljevic, a pianist of international reputation, completed his graduate and postgraduate studies at the State Conservatory “Tchaikovsky” in Moscow. He has won many international awards. He teaches master classes in several countries around Europe and Asia, and since 2006 he lives and teaches in Singapore. Additionally, he is the artistic director of the International Festival “Music Days” in his hometown, Herceg Novi, and is a member of the panel of many international pianist competitions.

You are on stage for the first time with the Evenos string quartet. How do you see your cooperation?
All good cooperation with good musicians is similar. It is always a pleasure and a fast result because of an acquisition of circumstances, which is the usual Festival practice in the whole world. My colleagues have already told you their impressions, and all I can say are just lovely things. Of course, it is because of the cooperation with excellent musicians, and because of the performance at an excellent Festival such as Convivium Musicum. As well as performance in front of to me the very known and dear Kragujevac audience. I am very grateful and appreciate that the audience so far is in large numbers, following all my performances. That has been for many years now, and I hope that we have succeeded in replicating the right way for this attention.

In Singapore, you are highly appreciated not only as a pianist, but also as a teacher and pedagogue. Do you perhaps notice differences in working methods with students there, in relation to the European context?
It is normal that the main tone and the main direction of this work with the students come from the pedagogue himself. I would rather insist on the similarities – that young, talented people are eager for knowledge and advancement. These are usually, I can say, the best kids. Those are the ones who deal with art, who are educated in art and who always or almost always achieve enviable results. So, the first thing that comes to mind is the similarity, not the difference. I have great students there, mostly graduate and postgraduate ages, and a couple of younger, highly talented pianists. To be honest, it would be best to present them to the Kragujevac public, so that you yourself make your own judgment, which is not impossible.

So far, you have recorded two compact discs with the works of Mozart, as well as Johannes Brahms. To which extent sound carriers today have impact on career. What is your experience?
I am primarily looking at the sound carrier as a document about the work and the result of the artist in a certain period. It certainly needs to exist somewhere. Of course, because of the lovers, because of the fervid listening of music in a better way, than it is, for example, through YouTube, which I unusually love, follow and for which I am very grateful. Small digression now. Often to my students and friends, I mention that if YouTube was at the period of my childhood, I probably would not leave the computer. But the compact disc means a certain, always high quality of production and sound. This is absolutely something that should continue to exist, regardless of a certain drop in the interest of any sound carrier, because those are sources of information about the creativity of artists, ensembles or orchestras. I think it’s very valuable and I’m preparing to go to the studio again to get some more recording. It’s just interesting for me too, to listen to my interpretations of the mentioned composers from a certain time distance.

You teach masters courses in several countries in Europe and Asia. Beside that how are you managing to hold concert around the world, as well as to dedicate yourself to the family?
I do not know even to tell you the answer myself. It’s not easy, but I like it and somehow I make it. I love pedagogy. Even when I was a student, I knew that I would enjoy working with younger colleagues and that this would be absolutely one of the priorities. How to disregard something like this tonight? Something like meeting with a wonderful, grateful and very attentive audience. When planning activities for a specific period, in the next few months or, say, a year, I try to be as balanced as possible. Sometimes I succeed in it, sometimes not quite, but I hope that health will serve me for a long time to deal with both one and the other.

What are your impressions of the organization of this Festival?
Great! I know very well what it means to organize a festival, what needs to be done, with what kind of expected and utterly unexpected obstacles the organizers can face, and what really happens. I am extremely satisfied with the organization of the Festival and with what I experienced as a performer tonight, as well as the part of an audience at the opening, with an excellent concert. Therefore I am delighted to be a part of this year’s Festival story. I hope this is not the last time that I play to Kragujevac audience as guest, in the capital of Sumadija and within Convivium Musicum.

Are you planning to repeat this program somewhere else in the same composition?
Knowing that these are great musicians, I had the idea that these days, perhaps somewhere in the region, we repeat this program. However, I was not surprised at all when they told me that all of them had to travel for Germany, urgently, where they are currently operating for a long time. It did not surprise me, and I wanted to play after this short, but inspiring work and after tonight’s concert. However, tonight’s – I hope – success is only an incentive to do something again in the very near future.

You record many successes in your career so far. What recognition is of special importance for you?
For me it is to perform in the halls and in front of an audience such as it was this evening. They were honestly interested in me, my colleagues from the quartet and this program from the first to the last. That’s the main thing. When it comes to pedagogy, I am unusually proud and happy when I recognize the progress of my students, and even if that progress gives a somewhat more concrete result, such as an award at an audition or an international pianist competition. There were also formal awards at various levels, and they are also very pleasant, but I hope nobody will reproach when I say that the first thing I mentioned is more important.

Do you have anything to tell young musicians in Kragujevac?
They need to listen to the professor and to practice. To work and not to miss a single concert afforded to them by enthusiasts like Filip Tomic and a complete organization of the Festival. To believe in yourself and, I repeat, to your pedagogues, that’s very important.

Author: Luka Zlatanovic, second year student at the Department of Music in Media, FILUM, Kragujevac
Translation: Ljubica Guzvic