I still don’t know musically where I belong. Being classically trained as a pianist, but listening also to Jazz, World, Indi Pop, Nordic, Heavy Metal or Ambient music, and loving them all, I keep losing myself in whichever direction I go. I wouldn’t say I want to compose Heavy Metal, but I am influenced by many genres and many composers…
Also, maybe because, as a child, I never had this feeling of having a home. Being Armenian – although born in Lebanon and living the last twenty years in Germany – has had a huge impact on me. I’ve never been in Armenia although I always wanted to visit; at least to experience how it feels to be in the motherland.
Instead, I learned to believe home is where I feel safe and where I feel happy. Mostly, I am happy when I am creative; when I sit on the piano and ideas flow from my head into my fingers, without knowing what I’m playing, but it just feels right, at least in that moment.
Then, I think to myself “you’re doing great, this is beautiful”. I continue writing, I dedicate all my energy, ideas start to flow one after another, until the time comes, where I feel I have something to share.
That’s the moment where my self-destructiveness appears, as I begin to paint black thoughts, telling myself that what I have created is actually pretty boring. I start comparing myself to artists I love and respect.
I know that it is not the right thing to do. But I have no control over my thoughts. I keep pulling myself down until I hit rock bottom. Then there is only one way up. I gather myself and continue the work I started.
After many years of dealing with this situation, I am still the same, this habit is part of my daily life, sometimes I have better moods, other times less so.
The one thing I have really learned is to remind myself nothing stays the same. Creating music is like bringing life to something: once it emerges from your mind, it doesn’t belong to you any longer.
A mother will never think that her child isn’t good enough. I try to remind myself that after the thoughts are on paper: these doesn’t belong to me, and it’s not up to me to judge the piece. It is out into this world, and it will find its way.
I have to continue what I have started, and trust that work and effort are the only seeds to plant. Also, to live and feel alive. Music tells a story, and to tell a story you need to live. Sometimes, it’s sunny, other times stormy; life is full of such movements. Duality is part of this world, and I believe only when we accept both sides of the coin, will life become exciting.
I grew up with music, my father was a musician and had a band that performed Armenian music. I even used to sing on stage with him, when I was as young five. Almost every day growing up there were band rehearsals. Music was everywhere. And then I discovered the piano and Classical music.
I remember at aged thirteen it becoming clear to me that I wanted to be a pianist. So every day I came home after school and sat for many hours on the piano, before doing anything else. Playing Classical music became my own world. There I could create my own stories, be anything I wanted to be, transferring my feelings and emotions into the music and finding peace.
Music is now part of my being. One of the biggest achievements of my Classical career was playing the Schuman concerto with the Lebanese National Symphonic Orchestra, while I was studying in Germany. But that was also one of my latest concerts. A few years later, I developed a passion for composing, and my life took another path.
My latest album ’Una Corda Diaries’ is very special to me, as it was recorded on the Klavins concert Una Corda M189 in Budapest.
It is a musical diary. The idea came to me as I was visiting the Klavins workshop. Seven Days-Seven Pieces, is the story of the people, the atmosphere, the Una corda and my own experience discovering this unique instrument. I was also very lucky that I managed to complete the recording just few weeks before the pandemic hit and borders were closed.
After arriving in Germany to continue my studies, I realised that interpretation alone was not enough for me. I didn’t want to just repeat and play the repertoire which have been played a million times perfectly.
Also, I started feeling lonely and froze at the stage playing Classical music. I don’t know why, but the thing that I loved the most in the world started to make feel isolated. So I decided to stop, but again, after a while it was too difficult to live without the world I had created for myself through music. The place where I used to feel free was missing. Music had become part of my being. Tt was what I had become. And then I discovered composing.
My music is not purely Classical, nor is it neoClassical, nor jazz, and not Armenian. It dives through the lines, just like my feelings, belonging nowhere, which makes me feel awkward while also holding a wish to belong.
I love layers of melancholic melodies over each other, telling the same story from different perspectives, mostly centred around my instrument. My piano draws out all the emotions I want to express, sometimes through elegant soft notes, at other times with restless melodies, merging into each other. I also improvise sometimes, even though I like the process of working on an idea.
When I feel creatively blocked, and I have nothing but a dark space to wonder around, I prefer to stay still and take my time. My mind doesn’t stop working. I listen to a lot of music, I do research, I discover new artists, until I find my calmness and a clear path to put the melodies back on a paper.
One thing is for sure, whatever I write is the expression of my authentic feelings, which emerge out of my life experiences. I work through myself, confronting all the joy and the struggles I have inside me, to understand myself better, with the hope that people will connect to those musical and emotional expressions and find comfort in recognising their own stories.
All those words sound like I am pessimistic, but I am not. I’m only too self-critical, and about the music I create. But I also believe that only by repeating and failing can we get better.
I know that everything is a process to get somewhere. Perhaps I just need to enjoy the path more. I don’t want to belong to a genre or a style. The most important thing is for music to touch the heart, whether it is Classical or jazz, technical or slow; there is enough space in these world for all kinds of expression, as long as it is honest and true. True to the the artist first, and then to the person who feels connected to it.
I will never be entirely happy with what I have created, because I know there is always a better version, but I have learned to accept things the way they are for that moment, letting it go, making space for new experiences, and trusting the path that I am dedicated to walk.