February 2nd, 2015
Denis Kozhukhin makes his debut in Portland Sunday and Monday, January 25-26, as part of Portland Piano International’s 2014-2015 season. He talked with ArtsWatch about how he searches for good sounds, how Prokofiev relates to Haydn, and how pianists enter into the struggle of Prokofiev’s war sonatas.
On the piano it’s very much just imagining what you want. The problem is knowing exactly what you want. The piano is a percussive instrument: the hammer hits the strings. But the piano is also a magic instrument. When one knows what one can get from the piano, the piano has absolutely no limits whatsoever. This is what a real musician, a real piano master, does in his own life: he’s always searching for this better sound. And sound is a really relative thing. While it takes years of practice and good teachers, the piano has everything to do with imagination. It would be nice if one note in and of itself meant something, but it’s imagining how the notes fit together into one cohesive line. And then also the pedal, which is the lungs of the piano helping the music to breathe.