Elbphilharmonie Talk with Tamara Stefanovich

»If someone from the audience wants to ask me something, they’re all very welcome«: star pianist Tamara Stefanovich on her five-hour sonata marathon.

It’s about form and logic, about melody and thematic work, about the highest artistic standards: the sonata is for the solo instrument what the symphony is for the orchestra, and what the string quartet is for chamber music: the supreme genre. And for composers, it is the supreme discipline: those writing a sonata really have to say something.

»And that’s exactly what interests me«, explains Tamara Stefanovich, the pianist from the former Yugoslavia. »Why have people been exploring this form for centuries, always embellishing it in new ways?« In her three-part concert tour, she strings together sonatas by Bach, Busoni, Soler, Ives, Scriabin and Ustvolskaya seemingly without transition. The Baroque composer Domenico Scarlatti is »my signpost, my museum guide«, reveals Stefanovich in her »Elbphilharmonie Talk«.

She also discusses today’s cult of the interpreter, moments of flow when improvising with other musicians, musical influences from her childhood and a small turning point in her career. She explains why she didn’t play the piano for ten years and how she came to draw with an eyeliner while sick with Covid. This conversation with the versatile pianist reveals the intensity with which she lives her life and her art.

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