"The music and guitar become one"
You are returning to Serbia for the new Guitar Art Festival. What do you expect from new edition of festival? The last time I performed at the Guitar Art Festival was an unforgettable experience that I think of often. I am hoping for the same kind of experience in terms of the kind of welcoming organization and public and the devotion of the festival to high artistic goals
This concert is dedicated to the composers of Latin America. You will play your solo recital in the first part of the concert. Does your great virtuosity and interpretation come to full expression in these pieces ? These works were originally composed for the guitar by composers who had a profound knowledge of the instrument. The combination of dedication to the instrument and to the music results in a cohesiveness and unity of virtuosity, interpretation and expression. The music and guitar become one.
Thanks to you, Astor Piazzolla composed a great piece "Cinco Piezas for guitar". How came to the cooperation between you and Piazzolla? Astor Piazzolla and I had friends in common. We met one night at dinner in Paris. I asked him why he had never composed for classical guitar and offered to play for him so that he might become more acquainted with the instrument. He invited me his home the next week. I played a whole concert for him. He appreciated my playing and was overwhelmed by William Walton’s Bagatelle no. 3 – the last piece I played. He was convinced and wanted to compose for the guitar and wrote the 5 pieces for me.
Critics assess your interpretation extraordinary. Once you said that for you guitar is like a string quartet. Is that your secret? It is not my secret! It is just how I conceive my work. For me the guitar is an orchestra or a string quartet and just thinking of the instrument in this way offers me a world of possibilities.
You performed at the most prestigious guitar festivals in the world. How do you see classical guitar scene in the world? The world of classical guitar is developing more and the guitar is increasingly valued in traditional classical music venues. At the same time, more and more young guitarists and playing better and better. This is a big change from years before when one could only hear this music in concert series devoted to the guitar and not in general chamber music series.
You are one of the most respected guitar professors in the world. You teach at the Cologne Conservatory and hold masterclasses world wide. Up to your opinion, what is the most important for young guitarists? Is there any universal advice for young guitarists? In my classes I have young guitarists who come to me from all over the world. They come to a country where they do not speak the language or know the culture. They make this courageous leap because of their passion for the instrument. They believe in themselves and think that I will help them. They are convinced that they will do something important. It is this base of passion and conviction that will permit them to go far and succeed. It is also important that a young guitarist not think only about being a virtuosic player but of becoming an interpreter of music and thinking of technique as a means of expressing it. In other words, technique must always be at the service of the music and not an end in itself.