Lara started to play the piano at age of 6 and she has won the BBC Young Musician 2010 competition at age 16, performing Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No.2 in the final round, with Vasily Petrenko and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Cardiff.
Kawai has interviewed Lara and it was such a pleasure meeting her. She is not only a talented young musician, but really lovely person and we enjoyed talking to her. Here is what we found out. Please read on.
When did you start playing the piano? What other instrument do you play and which one is your favourite and why?
I was around six years old when I began playing the piano however it wasn't serious until later when I was about ten or eleven.
I also play the viola which I love very much, however obviously, piano is my favourite. When I was twelve/thirteen, neither my teachers nor I were sure which instrument I was going to take forward as my first study. I had to make a decision, as spending an equal amount of time on both was becoming increasingly difficult due to the different muscles used for each instrument.
Who are your inspirations?
Sergei Rachmaninov, Martha Argerich, Mitsuko Uchida, Arcadi Volodos, to name a few. I like to take inspiration from everyone, because as pianists we all have different ways of expressing the same music, which I think is incredible.
What sort of modern music do you listen to?
Apart from Classical, I enjoy listening to Jazz music.
What do you like doing in your spare time? Do you have other hobbies apart from the piano of course?
In my spare time I enjoy going swimming, playing pool with my friends and doing music technology, which I studied throughout Sixth Form at the Purcell School of Music. It's a great subject for musicians, as it is interesting to learn how to record a musician in a studio, as opposed to being the musician recorded.
What other competitions did you enter apart from the BBC Young Musician 2010?
I entered quite a few competitions that I won first prizes in when I was younger, like Ealing, EPTA and Wandsworth. It was quite standard for upcoming young musicians to enter these competitions to gain stage experience. In 2009 I was one of the finalists in the International Piano Competition in Weimar, Germany. I was also chosen to play at Wigmore Hall after competing in the Jaques Samuel Piano Competition, which is where I met Terry Lewis, who I am indebted to, as he introduced me to Neil Sale, from Kawai.
How did it feel when you won the BBC Young Musician prize?
When my name was announced I was literally speechless! It was the best moment of my life so far. The competition has opened so many doors for me and the experiences I have lived over the past few years are indescribable. My life has changed completely and I am giving recitals and concerto performances all over the UK and abroad. I'm enjoying it so much and am extremely grateful to the BBC Young Musician Competition for making my dreams a reality.
What other members of your family are musicians and what do they play? If yes, do you practice together sometimes?
My sister Melis is also a pianist and viola player. She has just graduated from Trinity College of Music and will be joining me next year at the Royal College of Music where she will be studying for her Masters. We do play duets when we can find time and we have done concerts together in the past. I believe we both got our musicality and talent from our mother, who used to sing.
What is your relationship with your piano? What do you think about touch and tone of Kawai piano?
The Kawai piano is really wonderful. I am really thankful to Kawai for giving me such an incredible opportunity by lending me an RX-3 from the RX Series. It’s so important for a pianist at this level to be able to practice on a high quality grand piano - it makes such a huge difference. I believe my progress is now quicker as a result.
The piano has a beautiful clarity of sound and I like the millennium action very much. One can achieve amazing variety of tone and colour on this piano.
Last year you have been in Turkey at the debut at the International Music Festival in Istanbul. How did you like performing in Turkey?
Playing the Grieg Piano Concerto with the incredible Borusan Philharmonic in the beautiful historic venue, Hagia Irene in Istanbul was a wonderful experience for me. It was broadcast live on Turkish Television and on outdoor screens all around Turkey.
What do you like about Turkey? Are there other countries you are planning to visit and play in the near future?
Sun, sea and the beach! And seeing my family and friends of course. My next engagement abroad is a recital in the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany on the 28th of July.
What are your goals (dreams) for the future? What would you like to do?
My dream is to carry on doing what I love, which is to share the music I am making with the people who appreciate it, because I believe that music is the only common language that can help to eliminate differences in the world.
What teacher do you study under at the moment? And what are your previous teachers?
Ian Jones is my current professor and I am going to continue studying with him for the next four years as I am going to the Royal College of Music for my Bmus undergraduate degree.
I began learning the piano with Emily Jeffrey at the age of six.
What conductors are you working with?
Most recently I worked with Kirill Karabits and the Northern Sinfonia for the BBC Young Musician 2012 final, where I played the second movement of Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto. Also fairly recently I performed Mozart's Piano Concerto in D minor live on BBC Radio 3 with Grant Llewellyn and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Other conductors I have worked with in the past include Vasily Petrenko, Nicholas Collon, Richard Dickins, Stephanie Gonley, Jacques Cohen, John Gibbons, Terry Edwards, Sascha Goetzel, David Greed, Brian Wright, Peter Bridle, Edward Longstaff, Quentin Poole, Robert Trory and Rachel Young.Her piano: RX-3 Grand
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