wanderlust = n, [won-der-luhst], a strong innate desire to rove or travel about


Der Mann, der am Klavier geboren wurde: André Mehmari

Das Festival Glatt&Verkehrt  zieht auch dieses Jahr wieder in den Winzerhöfen der Wachau sowie im "Hauptquartier" bei den Winzern Krems ein. Von 22. bis 26. Juli spielen, zu unterschiedlichen Themen, faszinierende Stars der internationalen Musikszene auf. Sie alle bewegen sich zwischen Tradition und Folklore, zwischen Modernität und Zeitgenössischem. In ihren Werken bestechen musikalische Professionalität und akribische Improvisation (Widerspruch in sich?).

Ich durfte den Starpianisten und talentierten Instrumentalisten André Mehmari, der am 22. Juli, gemeinsam mit Hamilton de Holanda und Georg Breinschmid, auftritt, meine Fragen zukommen lassen. Zu dritt wenden sie sich dem Thema Brasilien - Österreich zu. Der Mann, der am Klavier geboren wurde:

One day in Rio de Janeiro...

Playing the piano is one of your main ways to make music. Where does your passion for the instrument come from?
Well, I was 'born' at the piano. My mother was playing this instrument when she started giving my birth. Since my father gave my mother a piano as a gift (when he got the news of her pregnancy), it has been a part of my life since the very beginning.

Andre Mehmari & Hamilton de HolandaII © Caetano Barreira
Andre Mehmari & Hamilton de Holanda © Caetano Barreira

How is the piano a „brazilian“ instrument?
Any instrument can be Brazilian, if played in a Brazilian way, truly. Of course the piano has this long and fantastic tradition in European music, that I study all the time and will continue studying it forever... but we have, for example, the great Ernesto Nazareth, that could be regarded as the 'inventor' of some kind of Brazilian piano playing that represents really well the ethnic mixture that happens there, and is reflected in our artistic expressions.

I recorded an entire album dedicated to the music of Nazareth, called Ouro Sobre Azul and his legacy is very much alive, always ready for new readings.

You are born close to Rio de Janeiro and raised in Sao Paulo - these two mega cities express musical passion and a intense way of living to me. Have you been influenced of traditional music? Which types are you most familiar with?

I've been exposed to a great variety of music since my earliest childhood. In our living room we could listen to anything from Vivaldi to Stravinsky, from Milton Nascimento to Elis Regina, from choro music to bad American popular songs... from the great Duke Ellington to some minor pop or rock music... so. I got exposed to all that without any prejudices. I must say that the great Brazilian songbook has been a part of my life and I feel very much connected to that tradition, but not only. We have the choro, Brazilian Instrumental Music... On the other hand, I've been working as a 'classical' composer for major orchestras and chamber ensembles in Brazil and also abroad, so I feel also connected to this huge tradition as well.

The most important thing, for me, is that all these different and rich traditions ARE TRULY CONNECTED, as rivers and streams that flows to a big sea of music.

Nowadays, musicians like you need to travel a lot. Which parts of the world inspired you? And why?
I feel very fortunate to travel the world and meet the most amazing people everywhere... Music takes me to places I'd never be if not invited by music itself. Japan impresses me a lot... I've been there several times and music there is not something decorative or superficial: it's an essential part of human life. They have these amazing pianos and I feel very happy to see my music 'talking' to these souls that have such a different cultural and social background than mine.

Arriving in Austria, Vienna, and coming to my home town Krems - how are you feeling about Austria? Which experiences have you already collected?
Austria is sacred territory for every musician... Mozart, Haydn, Mahler, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern... before this residence I've been to Austria only once, also with Hamilton de Holanda but it was a quick stop in a big european tour we're doing at the time... Now and can really breath Austrian air in a beautiful Sunday morning in Krems or Vienna... I've been working like crazy in several big orchestral pieces that I must deliver during my residence here.

The nature, that's always a major source of inspiration for me, is so powerful here, with the Donau and the mountains nearby that I feel very inspired to produce and create new music.

Andre Mehmari & Hamilton de HolandaII © Caetano Barreira
Andre Mehmari & Hamilton de Holanda © Caetano Barreira

At Glatt&Verkehrt Festival you will be playing with Hamilton de Holanda and Georg Breinschmid. How is playing together with different musician attractive to you? Do you practice together beforehand?
My duo with Hamilton started in 2004 and we've been playing with some regularity since then. He's been a major partner since then, as we've recorded two albums as a duo. Georg is new for me but I already feel very close to his music since we started exchanging emails and looking for music to play together. His playing is phenomenal and full of life. I'm sure we'll have a great time!

If you could wish for one thing, what would it be? A nice beer

Thank you very much for your time and I am looking forward to your concert in July! 

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