Benedikt ter Braak (Alemania): Premio Concurso Internacional Permanente 'De la Creatividad al Piano'

Enhorabuena por su creatividad al piano!

El próximo día uno de mes impar el siguiente premiad@! Si quieres participar consulta las bases.

What is the first experience you remember with music?
The first experience I had with music was when I was little and I remember clearly someone handing me a vinyl of Peter and the wolf and Carnival of the Animals. I was so fascinated of the „Aquarium“ at that time that I kept sitting in front of the Vinyl-Player and readjusting the needle to the beginning of the „Aquarium“ over and over and over until the Vinyl had a really bad scratch at that point. When I realized that I cried a lot and my parents bought me the same Recording as a Cassette and a cassette Recorder as a result so I could listen to music on my own any time I wanted, and I most certainly did.

What musical personality do you think most influenced your career?

I would have to name a few, but most of all, there is an old Professor, that I was starting to go as a child once a year, she was an old Romanian Lady, had a lot of stories and a lot of inspiring views on music. I had lessons with her regularly once a year for almost 20 Years. And even if it was just once a year, there is probably no one who has inspired me more about what music is all about. She definitely laid the roots for my most important view on music: staying open minded and curious all the time. Without that, I maybe would never have been so generally interested in everything, Composing, producing, Classical music, Romantic music, modern music, pop, Jazz, Folk, … everything leads back to this women all the time telling me to stay interested and think without any boundaries.

What was the style or composer you liked study when you were young?

I was a Liszt Maniac. I wanted to play everything from Franz Liszt. Later I got a huge crush on the music of Dmitri Shostakovich. I studied all his symphonies and String Quartets with the music score and tried like a maniac to understand his harmonic structure.

What repertoire are more comfortable today for you? Tell us, please, any anecdote with the piano (in a course, or concert )

Today, I mainly play modern music for projects, my own music, Chamber music and Liedaccompaniments. But when I really want to dive into something deep, I practice Schubert Piano Pieces.
An anecdote one of my favorite anecdotes is when I was playing a competition with a singer, and I love to play without the music score. I just think that it is for me the self-evident understanding of every note that I do not need the score in front of me in order to embrace the music. It was not a big deal. But then I got a lot of irritated faces. "You play by heart? What if your singer gets lost? Isn’t it too risky?" And I was Like „well if the singer gets lost I follow him, I know the music… what is the big deal?“. I was very astonished when I found out that this was a thing for the jury also. One even said that he could not enjoy watching us because he was always kind of frightened of the risk that I took. I do not tell this story to just show off in a „look at my awesome brain“ fashion, I was really deeply surprised that people who play music all their live could not be able to think about if this might be just a better way for me or for the way I do music. There was little curiosity, there was just a blank not-understanding of how this could be ok in any way… but yet: I still would do it all again. 

What do you think of the current situation of teaching piano and music?

Teaching in piano music faces a lot of difficulties these times, because the digital revolution has also revolutionized the world of being a musician. Making music is for a very large portion of it something that you have to do „analogue“, without computers, without internet and without smartphones and Tablets. Those things can help you, yes, but the act of playing an instrument is and stays a physical, non-technological thing. A lot of young people struggle with that disconnection, they get their influences online, they know a lot of things about technology, their focus is mainly on technology. As a teacher, you have to be able to balance that situation with learning an instrument. You have to consider technology, but you have also to feed the awareness for the physical, non-digital act of playing.

What are your favorite musicians?

I have to say Franz Schubert, Maurice Ravel and Beethoven for the classical world. Then there is James Blake, Lapsley and Moderat for the Art of digitally enhancing the quality of Electronic music. And at last there are great musicians who embrace the crossover modernizing art of Music like Brandt-brauer-Frick Ensemble or Spark and even some of Hauschka's work (definitely not all of it!)

Do you think it is useful to know resources about improvisation? Why?

Improvisation has always been a key to understanding and embracing a style of music. Even finding your own voice in music. In My opinion, Improvising and composing have to be in a well tempered balance in order to create great music. Most great composers have also been great improvisers. It is like to not just learn a language but to be able to speak fluently and spontaneously.

How much important is for you developing creativity in a pianist?

In two words: a lot. You can be the best idiot playing flawless Chopin etudes and even then, you have to put in something that is to be called „your own voice. If you have no creativity, if you cannot think about things that others wont think about, if you just mimicry everything you see, you have nothing else to say, that is not interesting. You have to find your own voice outside the box of everything else. That is not possible without creativity

What musical projects do you have in mind?

Since I had my own Electronica Band, where I played the Synthesizer, I always dreamed about bringing the two worlds of Synthesizing, electronic music and classical music together. My arrangement of the Appassionata by Beethoven is a start, but I have a Piano-Trio that I would like to build a grand project with, to compose own music for Trio and Synthesizer, electronic music with a classical touch, own compositions and arrangements of classical pieces in a modern, dubsteby way 

What advice or recommendations would give now a piano beginner?

Be curious, stay curious, there is no better or worse music, there is just a language to be learned, there is this beautiful German word Zeitgeist“, which means in not very accurate translation the spirit of a time in all its habits, ways of feeling, ways of thinking. Every music has a Zeitgeist, every language has an own Zeitgeist. Try to be open minded to everything, because there is always something beautyful hidden in every language code.

Want to add something more about your relationship with piano?

I am glad that the piano found me. We just had a piano staying in our home. My parents are no musicians. It was a complete coincidence that easily could have not been there. I do not know if something completely else would have happened if there was a guitar instead of a piano, but I am truly grateful, that it was a piano.

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Musicógrafo influencer. Distinguido en Global Music Awards (EEUU). 1er Premio Concurso Piano Maestro Serrano. Especializado en Falla. Estrena Improvisaciones Albéniz y Granados (Boileau). Revistas: Música y Educación, Allegro, Ad Libitum, Polifonía y ArtsEduca. Coautor: 29 Maneras concebir silencio (Univ. Jaume I), Canto Natural (Bromera). Coord: Los poetas ante la música (Bubok). Autor: Piano Creativo (Rivera), Piano Español (Lulú) y Aprende a Improvisar al Piano (Redbook)

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