Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and pursue a career in music?
My grandfather who had a natural musical talent and could not imagine his life without his violin. He was played it passionately at every family gathering. He also bought our piano. Later, my mother taught me how to play a C major scale. Since then, I am still learning how to play it….
Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?
Musically, it is J.S.Bach. He has always moved me, paralyzed any fear or disbelief. Later, recordings of great Rubinstein, Horowitz, Gilels, Gould, Richter, Michelangeli, Karajan, Callas, Oistrakh, Rostropovich. Then live concerts of Zacharias, Zimerman, Schiff, Argerich, Perahia, Maazel, Bartoli, Rattle and many others. They all form my musical taste and repertoire.
As per career, I should be influenced by the PR company of Lang Lang but sadly I am not!
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
To actually have a career.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
Ibert – Le petit ane (avalable on YouTube) when I was 10 years old because it made my mum proud.
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
4’33” by John Cage.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
Concert promoters always want a Moonlight sonata but I try to spice it up with some Bach & Ligeti (this season).
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
There are so many of them. I am not so obsessed with venue what worries me is no audience, empty hall or just a few people with ringing mobile phones.
Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?
It is great to share great music with good audience. Yet the most non-judgemental experience was when I was playing “Peter and the wolf” to the 5-year old kids.
I like to listen to all sorts of music, I have my Ramstein moments, yet I listen to a lot of classical music, often jazz and some good pop/rock.
Who are your favourite musicians?
What is your most memorable concert experience?
My very first concert at the age of 5 or 6 – very scary but I loved the applause.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Being a musician is a life-long service. It is hard, non-profitable and lonely. But it is a very important input into people’s minds and hearts. It gives another dimension to our being. And without this dimension it would be too miserable and too technical.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
At the piano, safe, warm and loved.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
What do you enjoy doing most?
Being happily quiet.
Olga Jegunova’s disc ‘Poetic Piano Sonatas’ is available now
(photo © Gerard Uferas)