"I love all the music I play"
Arina Antonosyan was born in 2002 in Anapa. She began her music education at Children's School of Arts No. 4 under the guidance of Irina Romanova. She also attended preparatory courses at the College of Arts named after D.D. Shostakovich in Novorossiysk, where Zelfira Iksanova was her teacher. In 2016, she enrolled in the Secondary Special Music School (college) at the Rostov State Rachmaninoff Conservatory, studying in Professor Sergey Osipenko's class. Since 2020, she has been a student at the conservatory in the same teacher's class and is a recipient of the Presidential Grant of the Russian Federation.. In 2018, she became a laureate of the 1st prize at the 11th International Competition of Young Pianists named after K.N. Igumnov. In 2021, she was awarded as a laureate of the 11th International Competition "BALYS DVARIONAS" in Vilnius. In 2022, she received the 2nd prize and a special prize at the 4th All-Russian Music Competition. Arina has performed with various symphony orchestras, including the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia named after E.F. Svetlanov and the State Symphony Orchestra of Armenia. In 2023, Arina Antonosyan became a laureate of the 1st prize at the 19th International Competition named after Aram Khachaturian in Yerevan and a finalist in the All-Russian project "River of Talents" by the Sain. Petersburg Music House.
Arina Antonosyan: The “River of Talents” project has been a true revelation for me! I absolutely love the concept. It's a unique opportunity for budding musicians to gain invaluable experience from real masters, and it's highly relevant in our time. What's especially important is that musicians from the farthest corners of our country can access this experience. I believe there are no equivalents to such a project. I extend my immense gratitude to the Saint Petersburg Music House and the Artistic Director, Sergei Pavlovich Roldugin, for their significant work in discovering new talents.
I think it's crucial for musicians who want to explore multiple avenues to try new things. I mean both interacting with masters and performing as a soloist. Equally important is the work and performances as a chamber musician, as it shapes a well-rounded musical mindset. Projects like these only contribute to accelerated growth. Everyone faces their own challenges; some find it difficult to build relationships with their mentors, while others struggle with stage nerves. It's all very individual. What's absolutely certain is that where it's tough and unclear, that's where attention should be directed.
Saint Petersburg Music House (SPMH): As part of the project, you will be performing Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto at the Yaroslavl Philharmonic on November 11. What is special about this composition for you and in general in the music of this composer?
Arina Antonosyan: For me, this piece is an embodiment of the scale of Russia. The composer very accurately conveys the cultural values of the people. At different times, the Concerto carries different meanings. I hear a lot of pain in this Concerto. Despite the fact that it ends in a major key, I don't think it asserts something great; it's more of a belief that it will be so. Overall, Rachmaninov's music, for me, is how Russia sounds.
SPMH: You perform very complex compositions, not only technically challenging but also emotionally and psychologically. How do you overcome the dissonance between your psychological age and the “mature” composition?
Arina Antonosyan: I often contemplate what is the most crucial factor that ultimately influences the final interpretation of a particular composition. There is no single answer. I can say that, on one hand, the teacher has an impact, revealing the meaning from a different perspective. However, it still relies on independent understanding. It's impossible to copy someone else's opinion; in that case, our art loses its meaning. For me, it's essential to hear the composer's language in the piece. Until that happens, the composition remains in an unfinished state. Each composition is unique, so the vision and work on each piece are incomparable.
SPMH: How do you build relationships with the orchestra and the conductor you are about to perform with? Do you ever find that your opinion as a soloist doesn't quite align with the conductor's, and if so, how do you compromise?
Arina Antonosyan: I always try to listen to the conductor. Problems often arise regarding tempo, not interpretation. Young soloists tend to "run away" from the orchestra. I understand that the conductor hears the music quite differently, and I usually compromise. However, this is required very rarely; usually, everything goes smoothly from the first rehearsal.
SPMH: Who introduced you to music? Are there any musicians in your family?
Arina Antonosyan: My introduction to the instrument began at the age of 4. Despite the fact that everyone in my family had perfect pitch, they were never professionally involved in classical music. My grandmother, Anna, was the one most acquainted with the world of arts. Her brother was a Greek painter and a master of wood carving. She noticed my abilities and interest in music, even though we didn't have an instrument at home at that time. She declared that her granddaughter would become a pianist and instructed my parents to urgently acquire an instrument and bring it home. It was only after that that I was enrolled in a music school. I'm very grateful and appreciative to her!
I remember my very first lesson at the music school with my beloved and wonderful teacher, Irina Rafaelovna Romanova. She works so delicately and correctly that a child feels like they are learning on their own at such a young age. She doesn't assert her authority. She always sees potential in all children. And she always "infects with love." You know, those teachers in small music schools who instill a love for music in little children are invaluable. They raise true musicians, it's all thanks to them! I thank God for giving me such a teacher. After completing my music school, I briefly studied at the Dmitry Shostakovich College in Novorossiysk under Zelfira Kairovna Iksanova. She is a very cultured and versatile person. She significantly expanded my horizons and, perhaps, taught me proper self-critique. After six years of music school and one year in college, I enrolled in the school (college) at the Rostov State Rachmaninoff Conservatory in Professor Sergei Ivanovich Osipenko's class. Our acquaintance began almost 15 years ago. He is truly a unique figure. His influence on my development as a musician is immense and continues to this day.
SPMH: Your teacher, Professor Sergey Osipenko, was a student of Lev Oborin. Do you think that besides the purely pedagogical connection, these musicians share something in their approach to music and the profession?
Arina Antonosyan: In our class, the role and significance of Lev Nikolaevich Oborin are very prominent. Quite often, during his classes with his students, Sergey Ivanovich talks about Lev Nikolaevich's teaching methods. I can still remember the phrase "according to Oborin's formula," and then he continues with his method. Undoubtedly, there is deep respect and admiration for the authority of the teacher. However, in terms of their personalities, they are different. After listening to recordings of Lev Oborin, it seems that Sergey Ivanovich is a person with a more delicate emotional disposition.
SPMH: Balancing a touring life, conservatory studies, and participation in competitions requires both time and intense focus. How do you manage to maintain equilibrium and harmony in such a demanding schedule?
Arina Antonosyan: I actually enjoy this kind of life. I love performing for people, and I embrace criticism and differing opinions. I have great respect for the professors at the conservatory in other disciplines, but sometimes attending classes can be more challenging than learning a concert piece in a week. Mentally, it helps to have the support of close friends and to read the right literature.
SPMH: Aside from your passion for music, what other interests do you have in life?
Arina Antonosyan: I've had a love for chess since childhood, though I haven't delved deeply into it. I closely follow the chess world, and I find it intriguing to witness the emergence of new chess talents. Currently, I'm particularly drawn to language learning. It significantly enhances my musical expression. Thinking in a different language reshapes how phrases come together. This phenomenon may also explain why many foreign musicians offer interpretations that differ from what we're accustomed to.
SPMH: Is there a composer with whom you haven't yet found that special connection but would like to? Conversely, are there certain styles of music that come naturally to you, making them easy to understand and integrate into your repertoire?
Arina Antonosyan: Every composer brings a unique signature to their music, and I genuinely love all the pieces I perform. There hasn't been a composer with whom I couldn't establish a connection. Some compositions might require more refinement, but that's just a matter of time and dedication. I can say that 20th-century music feels more accessible and resonates with me. It demands less preparation. However, when it comes to the emotional depth of a composition, that's a different matter. I feel a deep connection with the Romantic era in music, as do many. I also have a fondness for authentic music from various cultures. Even in the most renowned compositions, my ear picks up on unique melodies and motifs.
Interview by Tatiana Mikhailova