Tania Stavreva–Interview and Preview of her Galapagos Art Space Multimedia Show

(This photo courtesy of Derrick Little; 2nd photo on bottom courtesy of Danny Steiawan)

On Thursday, May 10 at 8 PM, New York-based pianist-composer Tania Stavreva will perform a special event at the great Galapagos Art Space located in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn (Remember I was there covering Hilary Hahn’s fundraiser for the disaster in Japan last year?). At this event titled Rhythmic Movement Multimedia: A New Picture on Classical Music, Tania will be performing pieces by Erik Satie, Alberto Ginastera, Federico Mompou as well as original pieces by her and by Tim Daoust, but unlike what you expect from a piano recital, this is a multimedia event that will also feature the body paintings of Derrick Little and the work of acclaimed photographer Jack Dzamba. Tania spoke to me briefly about the show.

CM: Can you talk about this concert at Galapagos? What are you performing on the program, and what will make it unlike most piano recitals?

TS: This multimedia concert is unique because the ideas incorporated never happened before in the history of classical music. In college I got very addicted to the music of Alexander Scriabin and that is where I learned a lot about synesthesia and painter Wassily Kandinsky. I often feel music and see music as color. When I play pieces by Satie, Debussy, Scriabin, there is something in the air that is like a fog and it blends its colors. With the music by Satie and Scriabin the colors blend more and connect from one another smoothly while with Debussy I could often see more exact pictures. In this concert music and color are connected through body painting. The first time I got this idea happened when I met artist Danny Setiawan and we did something similar at the Metropolitan Room last year. Derrick Little has a different style and instead of using my back as a flat canvas, he connects the images to the body. Derrick uses more abstract style and he is more of a designer.

At the concert also there is a photography art multimedia where while I play “La barca” (The Boat) and “Cuna” (The Cradle) by Federico Mompou, while the photographs by artist Jack Dzamba will be projected on a screen above me. Another interesting element is Tim Daoust’s new work titled Quivering Filament of Incandescent Bulb where the composer incorporates the music for piano with live electronic sounds. It is a reflection of 20th century impressionism with 21st century world of high tech we live in featuring electronics and cosmic sound.

Rhythmic Movement is a symbol of live energy–an energy that gives light and electricity and keeps the world moving forward. Rhythmic Movement is time and space, music and silence, life and death, light and dark, love and loneliness–conditions that have their own rhythm and movement, conditions that each of us experiences early or late. In my interpretation of the idea death is the beginning of something new – not the end of life but a rebirth of life. It is a constant circle that has its own rhythm and movement. Light cannot exist without dark and the character of the music I’ve chosen to represent these ideas has its own nuances and rhythmic flow.

CM: What made you decide to do this kind of presentation?

TS: Danny Setiawan was the first painter I collaborated on a similar project last year. When I saw his work, I was very inspired. We got together, I told him how I felt about the music, what is my interpretation and how I see the colors. When we advertised this project Derrick Little heard about it and he was inspired to offer another view of the project coming through more abstract style. I’ve been truly blessed to have the opportunity to collaborate with 2 of the best body painters in NY and the world!

CM: Can this kind of show possibly change the way people feel about going to classical concerts?

TS: Well, this is a difficult question. The goal of this multimedia (not a piano recital) is not to say “this is it, this is how classical music has to be done from now on”. It is a way of expressing myself through my love and passion for art and it is a new way of how classical music could be presented and incorporated sometime. It is not the way it should be but it is the way it could be. I come from an old school and I have a big respect for composers such as Bach, Betthoven, Brahms, Chopin and etc. They really helped me become an artist and a musician. My passion at the moment is a lot of 20th century music and 21st century (but not atonal style, more 21st century influenced by jazz and electronica). I also find that a lot of Bulgarian music is rhythmic and melodic in a similar style as my favorites Ginastera and Prokofiev. My next project is to put together music by all Bulgarian composers using my home rhythms of 7/8, 9/8, 5/8, etc. Those composers had a hard time during the “iron-curtain” and they are not that well known in the US but the music is beautiful.

CM: Do you believe this kind of concert will be happening more frequently?

TS: I will be happy to do something art and music related in the future but I do not see myself perform body painted all the time 🙂 It all depends on the music and the ideas. In this particular case the body painting fits great the visual side of the composers I’ve chosen. I do not think that this project was going to work if I played Bach or Beethoven but I can really see it through the music of Satie and Mompou.

Tania Stavreva
Rhythmic Movement Multimedia
A New Picture on Classical Music

Thursday, May 10th
Doors open at 7 PM, Show begins at 8 PM
Galapagos Art Space
16 Main St.
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 222-8500

Galapagos Art Space.com

Tania Stavreva’s EPK


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