For full functionality of this page it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser CRISTINA ORTIZ: WHAT WOULD WE BE WITHOUT MUSIC? | George Enescu Festival


by Ruxandra Predescu

President of the Piano Jury at 2020/2021 George Enescu International Competition was Brazilian musician Cristina Ortiz – a high-spirited, worldwide acclaimed pianist, gifted professor, undaunted ambassador of Brazilian classical music, and… former competitor at the Enescu Competition.

I approached her at the end of the awards ceremony for the Piano Section and, even with her generous disposition, the interview was much shorter than I would have liked. Hopefully, the next one will be longer, because the unexpected combination of rigor and warmth in her was absolutely fascinating.

Oh, an interview – but what can I say? I don’t have much to say!

Of course, you do. Not only that you are the President of the Piano Jury, but you also have an impressive career as a musician.

I had, yes, a long one too, but now I’ve slowed down and I much rather enjoy life. But I was deeply moved to listen to all these young musicians.

I watched you during the three concertos in the final. You seemed truly enchanted by the music.

I was. I am. Without music… what would we be without music? And Tchaikovsky’s Concerto – I love it; I mean really – it’s wonderful. Chopin too, and Marcin’s performance was like a reincarnation of Chopin, so special indeed. And Park, no words!

It was great to return as a member of the jury,

having been a competitor myself a few decades ago

What was the experience of online judging like?

Ah, it was great, I loved it. I have a wonderful house, so I was able to listen to the recordings at home – carefully, attentively, with no pressure whatsoever. Every now and then I’d stop and take a break, I’d go out to swim, then I’d come back to the music. It was great! It was great to return as a member of the jury, having been a competitor myself a few decades ago.

What do you think makes a pianist special, a maestro of the instrument?

The sound first of all and an understanding of the composer, with everything that this involves. Language, style, complexity. There are so many who play Brahms, for instance, or Debussy, or Prokofiev, without having listened to their entire oeuvre, but only to the works for their instrument. You need to listen to the symphonies, to the chamber music, to understand a composer before you step onto the stage. You need to build a relationship with that composer and I think this is a problem with young musicians, they only study their score and that’s it.

You also need commitment, you need to know what your strengths are and recognize your weaknesses, and know how to choose your repertoire. Even here, in the Semifinal, there were some very good competitors, who were uninspired in choosing the works to play in the Competition or didn’t study them enough. It’s a pity.

I know you also teach. Do you tell your students these things?

Yes, yes, I teach, I like it very much; sometimes it’s a lot of fun. And yes, I do tell them, I try to guide everyone according to their aptitudes, to give them feedback. Sometimes I tell them to go play football, to have fun, to go out, something different from only instrument and practice. You have to live and, more importantly, you have to suffer to progress and you have to put all that feeling in the way you play.