Who or what inspired you to take up the piano, and pursue a career in music?
I don’t remember myself NOT playing piano. As I was told by my parents (non-musicians but avid music lovers) I was drawn to the piano from a very young age. I was not that interested in toys – the piano was my toy. Pursuing a career in music must have been my first teacher’s idea: Natalia Litvinova was and has been a very important influence in my life (musical and not). My conservatory professor, Lev Naumov, remains to this very day an inspiration and a driving force for my musical endeavors.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
Can’t put challenges on the scale. Everything becomes a challenge and a reward when done with utmost dedication.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
I believe they are to come. There is a light at the end of the tunnel….
Which particular works do you think you play best?
I try to play works that I play best.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
I choose whatever fascinates me hoping my audience doesn’t mind my whims.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
There are many and they change. I suspect it has nothing to do with geography.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
Once I was scheduled to perform a concerto in Santiago, Chile. At the rehearsal ( fortunately not at the performance itself) I found out that the conductor and the orchestra were playing a different version of the piece. I had to change the concerto on the spot. Will never forget that.
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
I don’t have one. I just want to do my job well.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
To be a musician is a privilege.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
I hope I am still around in 10 years ( roviding the world is still there as well)
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Would not be perfect happiness if I were able to explain it.
What is your most treasured possession?
I don’t treasure my possessions.
What do you enjoy doing most?
I enjoy non-doing most
What is your present state of mind?
Ilya Itin performs sonatas in D by Schubert and Rachmaninov on Saturday 7th October, part of the London Piano Festival at King’s Place. Further information here