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Music Without Quarantine – (BONUS) Interview with Varvara Kutuzova

This is a bonus interview of the series “Music connects People” on “Music Without Quarantine”, a project which has lasted for two months and a half while the 2020 COVID-19 confinement in many countries in the world. This is a very special one. The pianist I’m talking to is the youngest of all the artists participating in this project. By the time we recorded this interview, Varvara Kutuzova was 16 years old. I don’t speak Russian, and Varvara started learning English recently. However, I decided to go on with the interview because she is a very talented musician. May it remain as a document for the future and, who knows, maybe in 10 or 20 years time, when Varvara looks back, she’ll get a good memory of her first interview in English.

Interview with Varvara Kutuzova

On the previous interviews, the artists participating were:

Diego Ares (harpsichordist) https://youtu.be/pGbNflR3WzA
Joel Frederiksen (bass singer & lutenist) https://youtu.be/sBoBTXARLUM
Benedict Klöckner (cellist) https://youtu.be/DvyGfSLmXDM
Claudio Constantini (pianist & bandoneonis) https://youtu.be/gNKeLZWqEYM
Danae y Kiveli Doerken (pianists) https://youtu.be/FOT0EmewyA8
Anna Fedorova (pianist) https://youtu.be/PwTZXQFyoIM
José Elizondo (composer) https://youtu.be/HznX7KXUH6k
Dana Zemtsov (violist) https://youtu.be/Yakp6tlRZ7Y
Nicky Schwartz (counterbassist) https://youtu.be/lKZ9gND_1ag
Mikhail Pochekin (violin) https://youtu.be/s_lv69msDyk

In total, 30 artists participated in Music Without Quarantine with 17 different instruments and from 12 different countries.

Michael Thallium

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Music without Quarantine – An Interview with Mikhail Pochekin

Long Night of Music May 27th 2020Everything as a start and an end. This is the 10th and last interview of the series Music connects People of the project Music Without Quarantine. Here you are the list of the previous nine interview that you can see on this blog and on my YouTube channel as well:

  1. The Spanish harpsichordist Diego Ares
  2. The American bass singer & lutenist Joel Frederiksen
  3. The German cellist Benedict Klöckner
  4. The Peruvian pianist & bandoneonist Claudio Constantini,
  5. The German pianists Danae & Kiveli Doerken
  6. The Ukrainian pianist Anna Fedorova
  7. The Mexican composer based in Boston José Elizondo
  8. The Mexican violist Dana Zemtsov
  9. The American double bassist: Nicky Schwartz

Finally, it’s the turn of the father behind this idea of Music Without Quarantine, the amazing Spanish-Russian Mikhail Pochekin. Misha, that’s the way family and friends call him, came over to Madrid to celebrate his 30th birthday by the begining of March 2020. Hardly four days later, the confinement and quarantine due to COVID-19 came to many countries in the world. Misha was in Salzburg when it all started. I was in Móstoles (Madrid). He was preparing his concerts later being cancelled. I remember he called me saying he would like to keep playing and he was thinking about the possibility to do some online concerts on the Internet. Both of us saw this situation as an opportunity to put into practice something we had been talking about for some time: get music closer to people and viceversa. It all started a bit like a homemade experiment. We created the Facebook page Music Without Quarantine and, ever since, over 27 musicians from 12 countries playing 17 different instruments have taken part in this project. This fantastic experience has helped us show that music really connects people: musicians with musicians, audience with musicians and, ultimately, people with people. For over two months now, Wednesdays at 19:00 CET became the weekly meeting point for all of us, artists and the audience.

Interview with Mikhail Pochekin

I would personally like to thank all the artists for their participation, responsiveness and, above all, for the generosity: Joel FrederiksenDiego AresIvan PochekinBenedict Klöckner, Varvara KutuzovaAnna FedorovaNicky SchwartzKiveli DoerkenDanae DoerkenDana Zemtsov, Pau Codina, Cellist, Nastasya Leonova, Mario Prisuelos, José Hernández Pastor, Irina Kulikova, Callum SmartClaudio Constantini, Svetlana Korobova (by the way, she was the one making the drawings for our weekly banners), Petrit Çeku, David Moliner, Евгений Серебряный, Boris Kusnezow, Clemence De Forceville, Sophie Lamberbourg, Iñaki Alberdi, Zofia Neugebauer… and the Mexican composer Jose Elizondo.

The Long Night Of Music will be our final concert. It will take place on Wednesday, May 27th at 19:00 CET and 20 artists will be playing on Music Without Quarantine.

Michael Thallium

Global & Greatness Coach
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Music without Quarantine – An Interview with Nicky Schwartz

Nicky Schwarz & Michael ThalliumThis is the 9th interview of the series “Music connects People” on Music Without Quarantine. The eight previous interviews were with the Spanish harpsichordist Diego Ares, with the American bass & lutenist Joel Frederiksen, with the German cellist Benedict Klöckner, with the Peruvian pianist & bandoneonist Claudio Constantini, with the sisters and pianists Danae & Kiveli Doerken, with the Ukrainian pianist Anna Fedorova, with the Mexican composer based in Boston José Elizondo and with the great violist Dana Zemtsov. And now it’s the turn of the coolest double bassist on the planet: Nicky Schwartz. Nicky is currently playing for the Concertgebouw Orchestra. But more than a double bass player, Nicky is a great musician and communicator in every way. Besides his career as a musician, Nicky is an avid sportsman. Before he decided to go professional as a classical double bassist, he had won several skateboard and snowboard competitions. Nicky has been trained in jazz music as well as classical music. He started his musical education in the United States, where he was born. He joined the prestigious Berklee School of Music and he also took part in the Tanglewood program of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Then he continue his international education in Berlin, at the prestigious Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Married to the great pianist Anna Fedorova, Nicky has played with internationally renowned artists. Apart from the double bass, Nicky plays many other instruments. You can learn about all these things and more in the following interview:

Interview with Nicky Schwartz

Michael Thallium

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Music Without Quarantine – An Interview with Dana Zemtsov

Dana Zemtsov - Michael ThalliumThis is the interview no. 8 of the series “Music connects People” on Music Without Quarantine. The seven previous interviews were with the Spanish harpsichordist Diego Ares, with the American bass & lutenist Joel Frederiksen, with the German cellist Benedict Klöckner, with the Peruvian pianist & bandoneonist Claudio Constantini, with the sisters and pianists Danae & Kiveli Doerken, with the Ukrainian and great pianist Anna Fedorova and with the Mexican composer based in Boston José Elizondo. Now it’s the turn of a great violist, one of her kind: Dana Zemtsov. Dana was born to a family of musicians of Russian origin in which viola plays a very important role. Dana, however, was born in Mexico. She has travelled and played music in many countries. Multilingual and a woman of great artistic talent (not only musical), for those of you who don’t know her yet, this interview is the perfect starting point to do so. Dana has played with different internationally renowned artists and also is committed to the dissemination of chamber music by Mexican composers. In June 2020 an album with the pianist Anna Fedorova on Channel Classics is to be released. I strongly recommend it: Silhouettes, music of French composers for viola and piano. Here you are the interview. Enjoy it!:

Interview with Dana Zemtsov

Michael Thallium

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Music Without Quarantine – An Interview with Jose Elizondo

This is the interview no. 7 of the series “Music connects People” on Music Without Quarantine. The six previous interviews were with the Spanish harpsichordist Diego Ares, with the American bass & lutenist Joel Frederiksen, with the German cellist Benedict Klöckner, with the Peruvian pianist & bandoneonist Claudio Constantini, with the sisters and pianists Danae & Kiveli Doerken and with the Ukrainian and great pianist Anna Fedorova. On this occasion I had the opportunity to talk to the Mexican composer based in Boston José Elizondo. The story behind this interview is quite interesting. I hadn’t heard of José until a some weeks ago. He was part of the audience who follow us on Facebook every Wednesday in our online concerts. Meeting him online is the very proof that music connects people. Apart from working as an engineer specialized in artificial intelligence and voice recognition, José happened to be a composer as well. To make the story short, one of the musician participating in Music Without Quarantine, the cellist Benedict Klöckner, ended up playing Jose Elizondo’s work “The Dawn of Hope”. Here you are the interview. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when we recorded it:

Interview with José Elizondo

Michael Thallium

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Music Without Quarantine – An Interview with Anna Fedorova

Anna Fedorova InterviewThis is the interview no. 6 of the series “Music connects People” on Music Without Quarantine. The four previous interviews were with the Spanish harpsichordist Diego Ares, with the American bass & lutenist Joel Frederiksen, with the German cellist Benedict Klöckner, with the Peruvian pianist & bandoneonist Claudio Constantini and with the sisters and pianists Danae & Kiveli Doerken. This time, our guest is the great pianist Anna Fedorova whom I met back in 2012 at the Chamber Music Session in  Kiev, Ukraine. Anna is a very generous artist and person. She is the very example that behind a great artist there is also a great person. In my opinion, that makes her even a greater artist. This interview is very special to me, because we have not seen each other for eight years. The confinement has helped us connect again via Internet. Many things have happened in Anna’s life ever since. The interview is divided into two parts: one has to do more with her musical background (part I) and the other one (part II) has to do with her career and also with her personal life with her husband, the counterbassist of the Concertgebouw Orchestra Nicky Schwartz. In Anna Fedorova converge the best of both piano schools of Russia and the Western countries. Among her teachers and professors are Boris Fedorov, Leonid Margarius, Norma Fisher, Steven Isserlis, András Schiff, Menahem Pressler… Her recordings of the works by Sergei Rachmaninoff on Channel Classics are fabulous and I recommend any of the albums she has recorded either solo or along other great musicians such as the cellist Benedict Klöckner or the violist Dana Zemtsov, who also have participated in Music Without Quarantine:

Interview with Anna Fedorova

Michael Thallium

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Music Without Quarantine – An Interview with Danae & Kiveli Doerken

This is the 5th interview of the series “Music connects People” on Music Without Quarantine. The four previous interviews of the series were with the Spanish harpsichordist Diego Ares, the American bass singer & lutenist Joel Frederiksen, the German cellist Benedict Klöckner and the Peruvian pianist & bandoneonist Claudio Constantini. This time the guests to be interviewed are the German sisters and pianists Danae & Kiveli Doerken. Enjoy it!

Michael Thallium

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Music Without Quarantine – An Interview with Claudio Constantini

This is the third interview of the series “Music connects People” for Music Without Quarantine. The three previous interviews of the series were with the Spanish harpsichordist Diego Ares, the American bass singer & lutenist Joel Frederiksen and the German cellist Benedict Klöckner. On this occasion, I am really happy to speak with the great Peruvian pianist and bandoneist Claudio Constantini. Born to a family of musicians (his father was the pianist Gerardo Constantini and his mother is the orchestra conductor Carlota Mestanza), Claudio plays the piano and the bandoneon with equal virtuosity. This Peruvian musician currently living in Spain has offered numerous concerts in many different countries. I am sure you will enjoy it:

Michael Thallium

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(Español) ¡Qué ganas de gritar!

Sorry, this entry is only available in Español.

Music Without Quarantine – An Interview with Benedict Klöckner

Music Without Quarantine Benedict Klöckner Michael ThalliumThis is the third interview of the series “Music connects People” for Music Without Quarantine. The two previous interviews of the series were with the Spanish harpsichordist Diego Ares and the American bass singer & lutenist Joel Frederiksen. On this occasion, I had the privilege to speak with the great German cellist Benedict Klöckner. Benedict is one of the musicians who participated in the project Music Without Quarantine from a very early stage. He is a very active musician on social media since the COVID-19 quarantine and confinement started in many countries in the world by March 2020. A generous artist, always smiling and open to discover new horizons in music as well as in life, Benedict has played with many different orchestras and collaborated with outstanding musicians such as the Ukrainian pianist Anna Fedorova. Both recorded a fantastic album with works for cello and piano by Chopin and Franck. For those of you who wish to know a bit more about the career and professional activity of Benedict, please take a look at his web page: http://www.benedictkloeckner.de.

It’s a short and nice interview. It only takes 11 minutes and you’ll learn about the anecdote why Benedict’s left hand is bigger than his right hand… Enjoy it!

Michael Thallium

Global & Greatness Coach
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