Q&A with Aleksandra Czerniecka, piano
This past summer the Bowdoin International Music Festival welcomed 255 student participants from 27 countries and 30 states, including 17 remarkable Festival Fellows. Sixty-five percent of these participants received scholarship funds from the Festival. In celebration of an incredible 2016 season and in anticipation of an even better 2017 season, we’ve reached out to last year’s participants to reflect on their experience at the Festival and their lives as musicians.
BIMF: What are some of your earliest musical memories?
Aleksandra: I remember singing at home when I was a kid. I couldn’t sing well yet and nobody wanted to hear me singing out of tune. I knew nothing about music, but fortunately my parents took care of that problem.
BIMF: At what age did you start playing your instrument?
Aleksandra: I started studying music at six years old. My real adventure began in middle school when I went to a school specifically for music. It was at that time that I realized I wanted to become a musician.
BIMF: What is the longest you’ve ever spent preparing a piece of music?
Aleksandra: The longest I’ve ever practiced one piece without a break was about four hours. In total it was a year and a half.
BIMF: If you could play with any musician who would it be?
Aleksandra: Martha Argerich. She is a sort of mentor for me. Her control and virtuosity are astonishing. I would love to play a duet with her.
BIMF: How do you make a well-known piece of music your own?
Aleksandra: I read as much as I can about the piece of music. It helps to understand the emotional and historical background of the piece. It’s important to know what happened in history at the time the piece was written and what the composer was doing at that time.
Every musician plays the same piece of music differently because everyone has a unique perspective. I think that the way to make a piece of music your own is just to play it from your heart.
BIMF: What’s next for you after the Festival?
Aleksandra: The Conservatory of Music in Warsaw.
BIMF: What advice would you offer to an aspiring musician?
Aleksandra: Keep practicing and never forget why you make music. Never give up, even if something looks unbearable. As my professor says, “there are no difficult pieces; there are only new skills to learn.”