I think I know very little

11. May 2017

The Polish-Hungarian Piotr Anderszewski, a favourite of the Budapest audience, is not only brilliant as a pianist but also has an exciting personality as an artist.

So much so that director Bruno Monsaingeon – who is famous for portraying musicians with a particular sensitivity and dedication – has shot three of his films focusing on him. Piotr Anderszewski is taking to the stage of the Grand Hall of the Liszt Academy alongside the Chamber Orchestra of Europe on 17 May. This event has prompted us to ask him some questions in a brief interview.

You were recently taking a four-month break from concerts. How did you spend this period?

I was shooting a movie on Warsaw. I have very close ties with the city and I had been planning to shoot a film of it for years.

You often act as a conductor while also playing the piano in your concerts. During the rehearsals, do you work with the orchestra also separately or do you always have the piano at hand?

The piano is always active. I try to get the musicians to listen to the music they play, to respond to the other instrumentalists and to the various points of the music instead of just following the conductor.

At your concert in Budapest, you are playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and one of the last piano concertos by Mozart.  Did you plan the concert programme this way because of the connection between the two compositions?

No. I can hardly notice Mozart’s impact on this work of Beethoven’s. I would much rather say that I have picked it for its exceptional freshness. This is Beethoven’s first really „great” concerto, his first revolutionary piece. As to Mozart’s work, I have a long-lasting relationship with this piano concerto K. 503, which has remained basically the same over the years. Naturally, with time I personally have changed, which has an effect on the interpretation, even if the relationship itself has not.

In an earlier interview you mentioned that on the stage of the Liszt Academy your stage-fright is stronger than usual, as you again feel like a student here.

Quite a few years, perhaps even a decade has passed since I last played in the Grand Hall, and I hope to have come over this nervousness by now. The audience normally helps, and the Hungarian audience is fantastic: cultivated, critical and enthusiastic.

Have you thought of passing on your knowledge and teach?

No. I have no gift for teaching, and I think I know very little…How could I possibly tell others what to do?  

How do you spend the time when you are not practising, rehearsing or travelling?

I really enjoy chilling out with friends, cooking, sampling wine or reading, of course. Books are my permanent and favourite companions.

As a child, you spent quite a bit of time at your grandma in Budapest. Would you care to share one of your childhood memories with us?

I am always happy to recall how we both went to the market at Bosnyák square. She selected the ingredients for the meals and talked with the people… it’s unforgettable.

Zsófia Hózsa