Magazine article Gramophone

ARTISTS & THEIR INSTRUMENTS: Alexandra Dariescu on Her Very First Piano, the 'Tchaikovsky'

Magazine article Gramophone

ARTISTS & THEIR INSTRUMENTS: Alexandra Dariescu on Her Very First Piano, the 'Tchaikovsky'

Article excerpt

"I was four years old when my mother bought us our first piano. It had always been her dream to have her own piano at home. She had wanted to play since she was a girl but her family couldn't afford to buy an instrument, so her grandparents would draw the keys on pieces on paper and she'd sit at the table and pretend to play. When she finally started playing properly, she learnt by ear.

I was born in 1985 in communist Romania. At that time, it was very difficult for anyone to have private lessons or to play an Instrument. But my mum was very careful with her money and saved a little each month. After a couple of years, she was able to put down the deposit for our piano--the total cost was 11 times her annual salary, and it took her a very long time to pay the balance.

Believe it or not, the piano is called the Tchaikovsky'. It's a Russian upright, and it was made in 1988--the year before my mother bought it. There was a music shop in our hometown of lasi, and only one piano a year came to the shop to be sold. When my mother heard about the 'Tchaikovsky', she knew she had to have it. She bought it just before the Romanian Revolution in December 1989--if she had waited any longer, all the money she had saved would have been worthless. So it was obviously meant to be.

It's made of mahogany--a really beautiful colour--and has a very mellow, velvety sound. Whenever I go home, I still play it it brings back such special memories. When I was seven, my mum took me to a specialist school because she thought I had a good ear. I got in straight away and when I was nine I performed my first concerto with an orchestra--Mozart's No 26 in D--which was the biggest thing ever! I remember at one point my piano teacher saying, 'We should sell that upright and invest more money in something better', but my mother said, 'I would really like to keep it'. It was one of the dearest possessions she had, and I'm so grateful to her for all the sacrifices she made to buy It. It's part of me, it's part of my childhood--it's where it all started.

I remember it was quite difficult to practise on--when I played the piano at school It always felt easier by comparison. …

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