From Elena’s interview
«Life and the creative process are one thing. Rather, life is a creative process, and vice versa».
«My first strong impressions are connected more with theatrical art. My parents were very fond of theater and the art of ballet – I inherited this love from them. In my childhood, we often went to the theater together. As for strong musical impressions, beyond the synthesis of the arts – that came later. I was about seven years old, I was already studying at the conservatory. I think that after this encounter with art, I began to understand that music is not just a beautiful sound that comes from playing the notes that we see; it is something more, it has a strong influence. This encounter happened almost by accident. I heard the finale of Chopin’s Second Concert on the radio. It was a deep emotional shock. I stood at the tape recorder, listened to the broadcast, and cried – from this perfect beauty of an inexplicable, crystal-clear world, which opened to me so unexpectedly. Now, when I approach this composition as a performer, I recall our first acquaintance – a bright room, rays of sunlight looking in through the window, the sounds of music from the tape recorder, excitement and tears of inexplicable, suddenly discovered happiness…»
«The happiness of my life is my teachers. This happiness was not only creative – after all, it was possible to talk confidentially about important life issues with them. There was never a “teacher-student” relationship; you became a member of the family. My first teacher, Olga Evgenievna Mechetina, trained me very carefully, attentively, sensitively. I am infinitely grateful to her for everything. The class of Sergey Leonidovich Dorensky, in which I studied at the conservatory and postgraduate school, was a huge family, which included students, post-graduate students, assistants, and graduates. The head of the family was strict but very loving, not indifferent to each member’s questions and problems. His creative communication with his assistants – Andrey Pisarev, Nikolai Lugansky, Pavel Nersessian – was always very warm and sincere. I spent a lot of time in the class of Pavel Nersessian».
«The fact that I have a taste for, a predisposition to this profession is the blessing of the Lord God; my knowledge and ability to work are from my parents and teachers; what I am doing now, independently, is my point of view, based, of course, on all of the above».
«I really liked the halls in Japan – for example, NHK Osaka Hall, Alti Hall, and Kyoto Concert Hall… It was very pleasant to play in France, I especially love project «Les Pianos Folies»… Concerts with the orchestra in Kazan’s Saidashev Hall and in Yekaterinburg’s Philharmonic Hall are also a pleasure! There are a lot of wonderful, good concert halls. But some are especially loved, native – the halls of the Moscow Conservatory, my alma mater. I appeared on the stages of the Small and Rachmaninov Halls when I was young – as a student of the school at the conservatory; I liked playing there even then. As for the Great Hall of the Conservatory, it is a special, magic space. Coming out onto the stage, you feel great creative wings behind your back.
I would call the entrance onto the stage an intermediate result. The concert is like a moment of truth, like a bright flash of light that illuminates the part of the path of artistic searching that you’ve already traversed and emphasizes something invisible to you earlier. There is also a feeling of happiness – from the fact that now you have done something in a new way, differently from before; I dare to hope, more deeply and interestingly».
«It seems to me that at this time, the most necessary role is that of peacemaker. And if the activity of a creative person, the thrust of his art takes place in this sphere – then it is not just very important, but urgent, vital».
«We need to understand – what is free time, and from what it should be free? If free time is the time when you do what you want, then my whole life is free time».
«In our age of speed, computerization and rapid development of Internet technology, it’s important not to get lost, not to lose the ability to feel deeply, to perceive and understand beauty — that is, to remain human».
«Authentic art is always based on Beauty. This is the main thing that sets it apart from many other phenomena in the field of music and art that are interesting as examples of the trend of their time and please audiences, but do not have this aesthetic category as their basis. By turning to authentic art based on an aesthetic and ethical foundation, to art that’s eternal yet always new, we can preserve depth in ourselves».
«The experiences are completely different. Watching a concert broadcast can’t give you what actually being there can. Imagine it: a huge group of people with different life philosophies and attitudes comes to the venue, and a few minutes after the concert starts, they become a single energy field with which the performer interacts. During this season, I gave several solo concerts at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. I received photo reports after those concerts, and only then did I see what I couldn’t see at the time: the faces of people listening to my music. They were beautiful. All those people were beautiful in their unity. Each of them revealed that subtle beauty that is difficult to see and discover in other people when you live as fast as we do today, at a pace that doesn’t allow us to admire how beautiful each person is. Perhaps this fragile beauty cannot be manifested in everyday life; however, it lives in each of us».
«I suspect that the moment we choose what our life’s work will be doesn’t happen when we come to a university, but when we ask ourselves, “Why am I in this world?”».
«It just occurred to me that there are a lot of happy people among the ranks of musicians who don’t use the word “work.” And I’m one of those happy people. You see, when I say, “I’m going to see my students at the Conservatory,” “I have a concert tonight” or “I’m going to a rehearsal,” these are all aspects of a single whole, what you’d call my “lifestyle.” Without a doubt, being a musician isn’t a profession or a job. It’s a lifestyle».
«It’s always interesting for me to invent the drama of a solo concert, come up with a programmatic concept through which I’ll be able to say something… to find arcs, parallels, “lines beyond style” to unite the compositions, so that a kind of super-idea appears in the program. A solo concert is a one-person show, and the musician is both the director and the performer, in dialogue with the composer outside of time, and co-creating with the audience in real time. Most likely, the idea of the acoustic performance “Sound Illusions. Collage” appeared as a natural continuation of these insights. This one-hour concert has an established structure including an arc, parallels and a “line beyond style” and assumes a performance uninterrupted by applause. At first, it was unusual and difficult for me to perform compositions for an hour without feedback from the audience in the form of applause. But I understood that there was a special magic in it. In a program dedicated to the music of the evening and the evening silence, silence itself appears as a necessary space for the birth and perception of sound illusion. Silence is almost a luxury in the modern world. The pause between compositions isn’t filled up with applause. It also becomes music, music of that evening. In the spring, Neue Sterne in Germany released a CD of this concert. As for my plans to continue working in this direction».
«I do projects because… as Tonino Guerra said, “Come together — that way it’s easier to save Beauty…”».
«My attitude to creativity… Well, I agree with the idea that “If you’re a gifted person, it doesn’t mean you’ve received something, it means you can give something.” If I’m not mistaken, that phrase was Carl Gustav Jung’s».
«There is a lot in common between a temple and a concert hall. These spaces make it easier to afford discovering the time of your own life, which is running so rapidly away from us into the hustle and bustle of mega city».
«There are moments when you feel the hall as if it is living and breathing along with you. This happens in the episodes of pianissimo. It is a very strong feeling».
“What does [home] library mean to me? It comes to mind to compare it with the smalt mosaic. Many dissimilar pieces are arranged together into something whole, a new world which, when a human comes into contact with it, adds diversity to the human persona. Each of us can choose our own pieces of smalt for our own ‘home mosaic».
«-… for me, a lot of technical innovations are already extraneous.
Women’s Time: – Why?
– Perhaps it is because more and more I see young couples who do not look into each other’s eyes, but at the screens of their phones.” Communication between friends is increasingly taking place on social networks – it seems that there is no time to meet; the illusion of the possibility of “being in touch” via the Internet does not encourage people to make the time to see each other. It turns out that this remarkable progress is increasingly separating people … It is becoming more difficult to hear yourself, your own voice – because the pace of life is incredibly high, the flow of information is immense, and free minutes are spent communicating on the Internet or watching television, which in its own way interferes with human relations. I remember the words of Tonino Guerra: “.. the voice coming out of soulless mechanisms fills the silence that reigns between a man and a woman, between parents and children. We should go back to a place where our children’s words are once again heard, and images ripen in our imagination … ”. An attentive, loving look, a kind word spoken at the right moment, an unexpectedly successful sketch for yourself in the margin of a notebook, a “living” book in your hands, an impression from a engaging with art not just reproduced in high quality and posted on the Internet, but the original in a museum, an evening in a concert hall with friends and the subsequent exchange of impressions after the concert – all these are moments of happiness in our lives, a life we only live once …».
«Creative people are people in the first place. They live in the modern world that is overwhelmed with information, analytics, forecasts. All this adds gravity to human existence. A musician can overcome this gravity to get to a significantly higher sphere for a while — there is and there can be no similar space in the real world. I think, creative people are of special need today. They do not share their thoughts about the modern world, but in this information and analytics era they believe in this world, and share their faith with us».