|After last year's award, a return engagement.|
When she completes her master’s degree in Music Pedagogy at Zürich’s University of the Arts next month, Latvian pianist Arta Arnicane will already have five major competition awards to her credit. She took top prizes at the Animato-Stiftung competition in Switzerland, 1st Sussex International Piano Competition in the UK, Baltic International Piano Competition in Poland and Premio Iturbi in Spain – all in 2010 – and last year won the piano competition at Prague Spring. Already in demand as both a concert soloist and chamber music performer, Arnicane was invited back to Prague Spring this year to play a solo recital. Herewith, her thoughts on the awards, her career and playing in Prague.
How did you come to be a pianist? Was it something you always aspired to as you were growing up?
I started playing the piano at the age of four. My mother, Nora Luse, was my first teacher. Both of my parents are musicians and of course that influenced my choice of profession. And I always wanted to compose, although I have never had enough time to devote myself to composition. But for sure I could never imagine my life without music!
You won four international competitions in 2010. Was there something special about that time for you?
I wish I could offer an amazing story behind my achievements, but the truth is rather simple. It took some time for me to get to this moment of success – a journey of searching and doubts, of course. I suppose passion and patience is all it takes, as well as self-confidence and a bit of luck.
What was your experience like in the Prague Spring competition last year, and how did you feel when you won?
Winning the 2011 Prague Spring competition certainly was a very special moment. I had heard of the competition ever since I was a little girl, as my father was awarded Second Prize (with no First Prize given) twice in this prestigious competition for bassoon: 1974 and 1977. As I was playing at the Rudolfinum, I was thinking of him playing there about 30 years ago. I was very excited with all the additional prizes I was awarded at the competition, but the very most important prizes for me are the concert engagements!
What are your feelings about coming back to the festival as a performer this year?
Being back with concerts is exactly what makes me happy, so I am looking forward to the recital very much. Besides, the city of Prague is very beautiful and inspiring, I wish I could visit more often.
What direction do you hope to take your career, and what types of music or composers would you like to explore?
I am completely devoted to music and performance and would like to fill my life with it entirely. I hope to have more chances to play chamber music, and many opportunities to perform with an orchestra my favorite repertoire: piano concertos by W.A. Mozart. But there is an incredible amount of music to learn, and the world is changing, with new and interesting ideas regarding performances developing. So I rather look forward to having more time not only to perform music, but also create or take part in new and interesting projects.
What will you play at your Prague Spring recital?
Beethoven’s Piano Sonata, Opus 10 No. 3 and the full version of Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes, with my own interpretation of the order of additional variations. This enigmatic piece is fascinating, especially because of this almost compositional task. I look forward very much to presenting my concept to the festival audience.
What do you hope the Prague Spring audience will take away from your performance?
I always try to find beauty in all aspects of programming and interpretation, and then hand it over to the audience. I wish that people would experience something special at my concerts, like a magic journey, and leave with a heart full of positive emotions.
For more on Arta Arnicane: www.artaarnicane.com