Pianist Claudia Maria Racovicean has been on the Artistic Board of The Riot Ensemble since our very first concerts at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 2009. Claudia is currently preparing to record her first album, which will include Aaron Copland’s Piano Variations, which she started learning this summer while living at Copland House. Claudia will be performing in half-a-dozen Riot Ensemble concerts in 2015, none less than our series of concerts with Breathe AHR, which brings contemporary music into hospitals with live visual artists. Get to know Claudia a bit better, in her answers to our questions below.
What is the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you at a piano?
I was in my final year of my Masters at the Royal Academy of Music – and before the concerto exams every student gets about 20 minutes on their fantastic Steinway in the Duke’s Hall (where the exams eventually take place). I was the very first pianist to practice on the day, and I ran through my concerto (Saint-Saëns Second Piano Concerto) and on as I played the final fortissimo chord, a string on the piano snapped! It was this incredible, thunderous sound and my accompanist and I had no idea what had happened. When we saw a string had broken we quickly gathered our things a slipped out to let the piano technician know. I wondered if the rest of the pianists that day thought someone was trying to sabotage them…!
What are you looking forward to in 2015?
I’m really looking forward to recording my first full-length album. It’s going to include some works I’ve been playing for many years, such as the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, but I’m placing those pieces alongside much lesser known (but no less beautiful) works such as Matthias Pintscher’s On A Clear Day. With Riot Ensemble, I just look forward to every concert because there’s always some sort of crazy excitement happening on the day, and it’s just great to be making music with such close friends in concert after concert.
What is your favourite Riot Ensemble story, so far?
You know, I really love the concerts we do with Breathe Arts Health Research. It’s great to perform this – often very serious and high-minded – music in a venue where it has a very real affect and impact on people’s lives. The music always speaks really well in these concerts because of the informality of the event – and I also really like the experience of sitting down to play something, and then finding this artist has created this wonderful painting that you can look at and enjoy long after the music has finished.