Today’s interview makes my memories come back to the long forgotten past, namely to my youth … innocent times in which I could be whoever I wanted to … one day a ballerina, and the other a rock singer … does it ring a bell? These times were good old days, in which mobile phones were dominated by playground Chinese whispers. At that time I was an innocent preschooler, who was visited by a lady, whose role was to place some kids on the left, and the other ones on the right hand side … don’t ask me which side was mine, as I’ve still got quite huge problems with making this kind of distinctions … but coming directly to the point … the task of the earlier mentioned woman was to decide which children had enough predispositions to attend music school. After my virtuoso performance in which I sang scales, I guess there were no fireworks and I didn’t rock it at all, since the lady, as firmly and as politely she could, stated that I should try myself in different spheres of art … at this point my brilliant music career was finished before it even began!
Despite that failure I know that music has an enormous impact on people’s lives, even if we don’t really realize that fact. It can change our moods, pointing at different shades of feelings and emotions. We are basically used to listening to mainstream music, and we tend to forget about classical music, which can arouse the same emotions in us, and besides this, it allows us to make up our own stories to the compositions we hear.
I’ve always admired artists who were able not only to play already existing pieces of music, but also to create musical compositions on their own. Today, I’m proud to present – Aleksander Dębicz, who doesn’t only steal his listeners’ hearts with improvisations of well-known musical works, but he also composes his own pieces of music.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Aleksander: I’m a concertizing pianist. A classical pianist – that’s my base – but I work with different kinds of music genres. I combine music styles which are close to my heart in improvisations. I dislike barriers in music, that’s why I try to break them through my own musical compositions or improvisations. I’ve been composing more often recently, both autonomous pieces of music and the ones for stage and screen.
Passion Piece: How did your adventure with music start?
Aleksander: When I was a few years old, my parents (who are not musicians) took me to the philharmonic hall. It was enough for me to get hooked on music.
Passion Piece: Why did you choose the piano?
Aleksander: In my childhood, I would listen breathlessly to vinyl records of a piano duet Marek and Wacek (masters Marek Tomaszewski and Wacław Kisielewski, who used to be very popular in the past). Later on, I got interested in some other pianists and I already knew that I wanted to become one in the future. The choice of the piano was obvious to me, I didn’t really think of any other instruments. That’s what I remember after about 25 years.
Passion Piece: How prizes and awards in numerous competitions have influenced your career?
Aleksander: Competitions motivate you to prepare quite a big repertoire in a given time. It’s always a huge challenge for a young musician and it was the same in my case. While preparing myself to different kinds of contests, I was becoming a better musician and pianist, which, all in all, is the most important from the artistic development point of view. Of course, awards received in prestigious competitions help artists to build their recognition, that’s why they have some impact on the career itself. However, in my opinion, the importance of contests has decreased recently. The most vital is to have a concept of yourself as an artist and then its consequent implementation.
Passion Piece: Did work under the guidance of world famous pianists and teachers give direction to you as an artist?
Aleksander: Of course. The role of teachers is of incredible importance. I was lucky to meet wonderful professors, who not only gave me the opportunity to get the right knowledge and skills, but also – which wasn’t of the less importance – they allowed me to search for my own way.
Passion Piece: Where did you come up with the idea for improvisations? How do your listeners react to them?
Aleksander: I love improvising, especially in front of my audience. We could compare improvisations in music with natural conversations in our everyday life. We talk and establish new human relationships without any extra preparation most of the times, it’s a natural process. In the same way artists can communicate with their audience during concerts, but of course, to be understood you need to use a specific language or languages – and one can learn them. Improvisation makes concerts more spontaneous, that’s why I really love combining it with musical compositions of classical masters. My listeners react enthusiastically, because improvisation means naturalness and honesty.
Passion Piece: What advice would you give to young musicians, the ones who would like to improve the image of classical music?
Aleksander: I think that these musicians, who really want to widen the audience of classical music, already know what to do. One needs to observe contemporary world and react to the changes, especially when it comes to perception of art. It’s important to be careful, and not to trivialize masterpieces and deprive them of their meaningfulness. We don’t realize how many sensitive to beauty people we could find around us. One needs to get to them, as for many reasons such people still need to discover this sensitivity in themselves. That’s why, music should also be conveyed in a less traditional way – by playing it in some less typical places, using the Internet, looking for common features between everyday life and the most popular art forms.
Passion Piece: While listening to one of your pieces titled ‘The Island’ coming from your debut album, I moved to a completely different world. Why did you become the ambassador of film music?
Aleksander: I think it’s a little exaggeration. However, it’s true that I love film music. On the record ‘Cinematic Piano’, in which you can find the earlier mentioned piece ‘The Island’, I decided to transfer, in my opinion, the most crucial features from contemporary film music to strictly piano music. I composed new pieces in the spirit of soundtracks, which I truly love listening to. I’m also interested in the relation of music and picture. In the contemporary film music one can find lots of kitsch, but there are also quite a few beautiful, atmospheric and electric compositions. I try to bring out this magic of cinema in music.
Passion Piece: You’re not only a musician, but also a composer. Where do you find your inspirations while creating new compositions?
Aleksander: There are no rules. I can get inspired by a travel, film, concert or even meeting my friends. However, I’ve noticed some regularity, I come up with more ideas only if I’m at optimal pianist form, whether I try to compose at the piano or not. That’s why, among other things, I practice everyday (laughter).
Passion Piece: Whom would you like to cooperate in the future with?
Aleksander: Preferably with musicians who are better than me, as then I could advance and learn new things. I love cooperating with various interesting and inspiring musicians and I hope to meet more such artists in the future. I’d also like to work with many film directors.
Passion Piece: Have you got any other passions?
Aleksander: Most of all the cinema. I attend majority of the most important premieres, I also watch quite a few of those brilliant TV series. The cinema is a kind of art, which besides music, inspires and excites me the most. I’m also interested in politics, but I wouldn’t like to talk about that, as I think that artists shouldn’t speak about politics.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Aleksander: Do your thing.
Passion Piece: Thank you for this truly inspiring conversation and I hope that you’ll manage to encourage more people to check out classical, as well as film compositions.
No matter how much educated you are in the art of music, you can always appreciate its beauty. I encourage you to listen not only to pop music, but also classical one which has a lot to offer you. It’s worth allowing music to become the passion of your lives!
See you around!