Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and make it your career?
There was always music in my family, my father played the cello as a boy and my sister played piano for a few years. It was never a conscious decision to make it a career, more of a realisation that this is what I wanted to do with my life. I don’t want to sound too naïve, but I still view it that way.
Who or what are the most important influences on your playing?
In a way, the early influences are the most important ones, so I still consider the first recording I’ve heard of Murray Perahia as the single most powerful influence on my playing.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
There are lots of imperfect pianos out there, flight delays, last minute repertoire changes, etc. The main challenge is to have the right approach and try to make the best out of every situation.
Tell me about your new recording. How did you find the recording experience?
I feel very lucky, I’ve had a gorgeous Fazioli and an incredible team to work with. I’ve been in a studio many times before, but Henry Wood Hall felt different of course, a place with such rich history of recordings. At first you’re very aware of the situation, but once you let go it’s really just you and the music, and that’s a beautiful feeling.
I hear there is a second recording coming up in 2014?
Yes, I’m already hard at work. Very exciting repertoire, and it also gives me a chance to work with both my teachers again, Arie Vardi and Christopher Elton, so I’m very happy about that as well.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in?
I’ve performed several times in Wigmore Hall now and each time is special. So that’s probably my favourite.
Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?
Anything by Schubert, really. I hope that doesn’t sound too simplistic.
Which performances/compositions/recordings are you most proud of?
Well, I don’t compose, but I did write a few Cadenzas to some Mozart Concerti. Not proud enough I guess, in the end I’ve always played the original Mozart cadenza.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
Playing Mozart’s “Coronation” Concerto, and from the first note everything just clicked, it all fell into place straight away. That’s very rare.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
I think the most important thing is to understand the language, how music is written. There’s a strange Schenkerian consensus among too many people I think, that no one seems to question. To impose this method on every piece, every composer, is precisely to miss the point. It also goes without saying that one should be familiar with as much repertoire as possible, especially the kind you don’t find appealing at first.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m preparing for some concerts, playing Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet for the first time, as well as some new Liszt and Debussy. I’m also premièring a new work by Freya Waley-Cohen, titled “Five Breaths”.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I don’t know about “perfect”, but in one way or another it would include a David Aaronovitch piece, defending free expression and democratic values, a Mahler Symphony and most likely some Baklavas to go with my Turkish coffee.
Nadav Hertzka performs in the “Pietre Che Cantano” international Festival in Rocca di Mezzo, Italy.
Nadav’s Tchaikovsky disc (Skarbo) is available now from Amazon, iTunes and other retailers.
Israeli pianist Nadav Hertzka has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia in major venues such as Carnegie Weill Hall, Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, Shanghai Conservatory, and Avery Fisher Hall. His festival appearances include the Mostly Mozart Festival in Lincoln Center, the Beethoven Festival in Israel and the Mozart Festival in Malta, as well as engagements in China, Russia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, England and Scotland.
Mr. Hertzka made his orchestral debut at age 14 with the Haifa Symphony Orchestra, and has since worked with conductors Trevor Pinnock, Yi-An Xu, Mendi Rodan, Ishay Steckler, Eliezer Hachiti and Talia Ilan among others. He was featured on Radio and Television, including BBC3 and BBC Scotland. Winner of many international prizes and awards, including the Pinault Society International Piano Competition in New-York, the Frank Peleg and Ben-Haim competitions in Israel, the Rubin Academy Piano Prize, The Daniel Howard Trust Award, the Carlton House Award, and Howard de Walden Award. He is also a winner of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship Competition, and has won scholarships in both Piano and Chamber Music.
Born in Tel-Aviv in 1986, Mr. Hertzka began his studies at age seven with Mrs. Nina Tansky. In 1996, he continued his studies with Mrs. Hadassah Gonen at the Israeli Conservatory of Music. He received his BMus Degree from the Tel-Aviv Rubin Academy as a student of Prof. Arie Vardi, and his MA Degree with Mr. Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music, London.