Maksim Mrvica

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RockCat
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Maksim Mrvica

Post by RockCat » 2006-11-13 1:38

Maksim Mrvica (pronounced ‘Máravitsa’ with a rolled ‘r’) was proud of Gestures, his disc of contemporary Croatian piano pieces, he was realistic. He expected it to shift a handful of copies and languish on the shelves like so many other experimental CDs. But he was wrong. It became one of the fastest-selling classical recordings ever to be released in Croatia, and ended up winning four Porin (Croatian Grammies) including one for Best Classical Album. Maksim was even invited to open the Porin award ceremony - an honor not usually granted to a classical artist and caused a sensation with his performance of The Dance of the Baroness.

And the reason for this success? Maksim believes passionately in attracting young audiences to classical music, and communicating with them in new and exciting ways. His performances involve drama. He’s not afraid to create atmosphere with video-screens, lighting and laser-shows. Articulate in his manner he likes to dress at the cutting edge of fashion. Most importantly he believes in the power of the music itself to reach people. It was this belief that sustained him when he was putting up his own concert posters in small Croatian towns. It also sustained him when grenades started exploding during the Croatian war, but he remained in the music school basement to practice. And it continues to sustain him now that he has the chance to reach larger audiences than ever before.
Maksim’s musical training has been rigorous. He was born in 1975 in Šibenik, a town on the Adriatic coast. He began piano lessons at 9 (giving his first public performance at the same age) and performed Haydn’s C major piano concerto with an orchestra just 3 years later. War broke out in 1990, but both Maksim and his professor Marija Sekso were determined that he should continue his musical studies. ‘There were a thousand grenades a day in my town,’ he says, ‘but you can’t just stop living - you must go on. And the only thing I could find to help me was my piano.’ Despite the awful circumstances, Maksim entered and won his first major competition in Zagreb in 1993. ‘I’ve always felt that that was my greatest victory, and the most wonderful memory of my whole career,’ he says.

After five years at the Music Academy in Zagreb studying with Professor Vladimir Krpan (a pupil of Arturo Benedetto Michelangeli), Maksim spent a year at the Ferenc Liszt Conservatoire in Budapest. During this period (1999) he won first prize in the Nicolai Rubinstein International Piano Competition. In 2000 he moved to Paris to study with Igor Lazko, and in 2001 he gained first prize in the Pontoise Piano Competition held in the French capital.

This proved to be a turning point in his career, and when he went back to Croatia he found himself in the middle of intense media interest. There were frequent television appearances and interviews, and soon he was recording his Gestures CD. The spectacular launch recital, in the 2000-seat Lisinski Hall in Zagreb, included a laser show, dry-ice and a video wall, and half of the audience was under 30. ‘I always wanted to take a different approach,’ says Maksim. ‘But when it comes to the music, I don’t allow anything to interfere with my performance or the people who are listening. When I start to play, the lasers stop. I just want to create an exciting atmosphere.’ For the second half of his concert, Maksim threw aside the lasers and videos, donned a suit and performed Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto. ‘I didn’t want to give the critics a chance to bully me!’ he says with a laugh.

Soon after this he was spotted by the musician, author and poet Tonci Huljic (composer of several tracks for crossover string quartet Bond), and he put Maksim in touch with impresario Mel Bush. Bush had been looking for some time for an exciting new pianist, and immediately recognized Maksim’s enormous potential to appeal to classical, crossover and pop audiences. EMI Classics was just as excited by the young pianist as Bush, and soon a new album was underway.

What are his hopes for this new ‘crossover’ project? ‘Well, it’s not a question of money,’ he chuckles. ‘I was earning quite enough from touring and playing classical concerts. It’s a question of experimenting. I always want to try something different, something new. I just want to reach as many people of all ages with classical music. That’s my dream.’

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danny2003
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Post by danny2003 » 2006-11-13 14:11

so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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