Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and pursue a career in music?
I spent my childhood in a small scientific town in the south of Russia. I grew up in a creative family. My father is a radio physicist, my mother was a musician. She opened this fantastic world of music and art for me. She graduated from the College of Music as a pianist and also studied in Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg as an art historian. We had a lot of books about music and art at home. While I was a child my mother often played for me, or showed gramophone records of great musicians. When I was 6, my mother became my first piano teacher. Aside from that, I studied violin, but after two years I made the decision to play only the piano.
I remember one important moment in my life. I was 10 and I prepared for my first serious competition for young pianist in Moscow. At that time I already lived without parents, studied with another teacher in a town of Volgodonsk (approx. 700 km from my home). My mother also came to Moscow to support me. But everything was so difficult… I missed home, my parents missed me. My new teacher was very strict with me, forced me to practise more and more. When my mom saw how difficult the life of her 10-years-old daughter already was, she told me: “Let’s give up music and go back home?” To which I answered: “No, mommy, it is too late to go back”.
From that moment I never doubted that I was on the right way, and my mom always supported me.
Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?
For me there is no difference between musical and real life. Everything that happens to me affects my outlook. In other words, I learn from everything. My parents taught me to be always honest and analyze what is happening. I learn from my dear teachers, who are also teaching me to be honest and to listen to the sounds. They are the same important people for me as parents. By the way, my mountain skiing and swimming instructors taught me to be strong and always keep working, no matter what.
When I take the music scores, read them and play, I learn from composers. Some of them have greatly influenced me and my views. When I listen to great musicians, I get inspiration from their way of expression, but never try to copy them.
Life influences me every day and gives the most important lessons. And the music helps me to understand and express them.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
There are a lot of creative challenges in the life of a musician: for example, to play something, what you wanted to play before, but weren’t ready for; how to analyze and understand, how to unite the form of the piece in your mind. Sometimes this kind of problem interrupt my sleep. But for me, the more harder the challenge is, the more interesting it is. I will never stop searching for new musical challenges.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
It is very difficult for me to be satisfied with my playing. Every time after my performance I know how to make the piece better.
It is too early for me to be proud of something, which I played. The big and interesting endless searching is ahead. I hope I will be able to reach something genuine in the future. But I will start thinking about it no earlier than in 60 years.
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
The works which I love with all my heart I play well. If I open the score and don’t like the piece, it means that I didn’t looked at the score attentively. Then I try to find more interesting details (there are always a lot). I discover something new for me in the piece and attempt to better understand the intent of the composer. Step by step, I fall in love with the work and then I play the piece, which I love!
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
The choice of repertoire is a very serious thing. Sometimes I spend weeks choosing the programme for a concert. I often seek advice from my teachers who have more experience than me. We discuss each programme and decide together.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
When I go to the stage, I get into a special private space, where I can imagine around me whatever I want (big or small hall, empty or full audience and etc). There is no favourite concert venue for me. My feelings don’t depend on the external situation. I try not think about it while I’m on the stage.
Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?
I happy to play any kind of solo, chamber and orchestral music.
And I love to listen any musical genre in general.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
The main thing in music for me is to listen and hear.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
At home with my family, in front of a keyboard with scores and a pencil.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Fortunately, I don’t know yet. When the time comes and if I have a chance, I ask one man, who definitely knows about that.
What is your most treasured possession?
Health and happiness of my family.
Anna Tsybuleva was born in 1990 and started piano studies at the age of six. Anna is currently a post-graduate student at the Moscow Conservatory, while also studying at the Basel Music Academy with professor Claudio Martinez Mehner.
In 2012, Anna took part in the International Gilels Piano competition in Odessa (Ukraine), where she has won the 1st prize. The same year Anna was one of the winners of the prestigious Hamamatsu Piano competition (Hamamatsu, Japan).
Anna has performed at a number of international music festivals in Russia, the United States, Europe and Japan.
In June 2015, Anna Tsybuleva won 1st Prize at the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition in the United-Kingdom, leading to many important invitations to perform in the UK and internationally.