“MU­SIC IS A RE­FLEC­TION OF LIFE”

TEO GHEORGHIU and pas­sion for the pi­ano.

Bulletin - - Contents -

Mr. Gheorghiu, when did your parents no­tice your in­ter­est in the pi­ano?

As far as I remember, my mother bought an old pi­ano, but she had lit­tle time to play it. But I liked to fid­dle around with it. I re­ceived pi­ano lessons for my fifth birth­day, and it was clear that I was able to learn quickly and make progress.

Do you think the term “child prodigy” is an ap­pro­pri­ate one?

Not at all. Of course, there are young peo­ple with a great deal of tal­ent, but in clas­si­cal mu­sic there are few with both the tech­ni­cal skills and the abil­ity to ex­press them­selves per­son­ally. This is only log­i­cal. Af­ter all, what does a 12-year-old know about life that they could ex­press in mu­sic? So-called child prodi­gies are of­ten just very well-trained chil­dren, and there is an un­usual fas­ci­na­tion with such chil­dren in so­ci­ety.

How did you go from be­ing a tal­ented child to a sought-af­ter pi­anist?

The an­swer is sim­ple: “Vi­tus.” That was the start of my ca­reer, but I was still just a child. It was only when I turned 19 that I found my own mu­si­cal voice.

At the age of 12 you played a child prodigy in the film “Vi­tus.” How much of your­self do you see in Vi­tus?

There were some par­al­lels, such as the pres­sure I in­creas­ingly felt in

con­nec­tion with mu­sic. But I never felt like an out­sider like the char­ac­ter I played in Vi­tus, for ex­am­ple. I never per­son­ally iden­ti­fied with Vi­tus.

But you’ve ex­pe­ri­enced crises, too?

Oh, yes. There have been times when I didn't have the space to de­velop my­self mu­si­cally and have fun with it. I was in­ter­ested in football, girls, par­ties. When I turned 18 I started to work with a new teacher in London. He taught me how to ex­press my­self through mu­sic, how it re­flects life.

Do you dream of mu­sic?

I rarely remember my dreams. If I'm not play­ing mu­sic, I'm lis­ten­ing to it. Mu­sic is such a part of my daily life that it rarely ap­pears in my dreams, and I tend to remember the ex­tra­or­di­nary events that oc­cur in dreams.

Do you fall into a sort of limbo af­ter a con­cert?

I def­i­nitely can't go to sleep af­ter­ward. There are mo­ments dur­ing a con­cert when I al­most lose con­trol over the mu­sic – but never en­tirely. This is the per­fect golden mean. The day af­ter a con­cert, I of­ten feel empty, the en­ergy is gone.

Is there any­thing else in your life that is com­pa­ra­ble to the pas­sion you feel for mu­sic?

I love football, cy­cling, art, dis­cov­er­ing new things while trav­el­ing – these are all pas­sions of mine. They are im­por­tant for my men­tal sta­bil­ity. If you spend the whole day just prac­tic­ing mu­sic, you won't have a con­nec­tion to real life. I need this in or­der to be able to de­velop my per­sonal vi­sion of a piece. The more in­tensely you live, the more in­tensely you can make mu­sic.

Teo Gheorghiu, 25, is a pi­anist and be­came fa­mous for his role in the Swiss film “Vi­tus,” in which he por­trays a highly tal­ented boy who wants to be­come a pi­anist. Gheorghiu, a na­tive of Zurich, has played pi­ano since he was 5 years old and is a grad­u­ate of the London Royal Academy of Mu­sic. He lives in London.

By David Sch­napp (text) and An­drew Woffinden (photo)

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