1- You studied at the the Royal College of Music in London (2012-16). Who were the most influential teachers there you would like to mention?
It would be my piano teacher, Norma Fisher with whom I still study. She opened the world of possibilities in music for me… An incredible teacher and human being.
At the beginning of my undergraduate studies I was mentored by the Head of Keyboard – prof. Vanessa Latarche who supported me throughout my time at the RCM and I am so grateful to her.
2- Is your family musical?
Some of them are. My grandmother was a music teacher and she worked with children all her life both as a piano teacher and as an accompanist at a ballet school in Serbia. My grandfather was very musical – he played the violin and sang in various amateur choirs, so has my father, but they never pursued careers in music.
3- You are currently back at the Royal College of Music on the Master of Piano Performance programme in the class of Norma Fisher. How is this progressing?
The progress is mostly dependent on the amount of work one does, discipline and inspiration, but above all, it so important to be stimulated. I find having support from Talent Unlimited most encouraging as it provides opportunities worth working towards, and that way making progress.
4- Before your time in the UK you studied in Belgrade (Dr Vojislav Vuckovic Music School) with Branka Ziravac and privately with Igor Lazko (Rus/Fr). Can you recall some of the special methodology of these masters that allowed you to express talent that you clearly are now blessed with?
We have a very good music education system in Serbia which is based on the Eastern European methods of learning. I was lucky to have benefited from having piano lessons two to three times a week. My piano teacher Branka Ziravac (a student of Igor Lazko and Alexei Nasedkin in Moscow) knew exactly what to do with me. That was an intense period of learning and discovering things for the first time. The special principles of the methodology she used were discipline and motivation. Respecting her tremendously, I felt obliged to follow her guidance as I trusted her benevolence.
Another expert was Igor Lazko, with whom I worked periodically. He is a very modest man, but such a knowledgeable one. His references to other arts, history or such were fascinating, and most importantly, his particular and valuable pieces of advice were always helpful. I felt drawn to his teaching as he mostly did it in an advice-giving rather than prescriptive way.
5- You had your debut with the Symphony Orchestra of the Radio-Television of Serbia in February 2016 performing R. Schumann’s Piano concerto. How were your feelings at the time, and how was this received?
I was obviously most thrilled to have been invited to perform in Belgrade by maestro Bojan Sudjic, the Artistic director and principal conductor of the orchestra. Every first experience is something special and this one was no exception. It was an important learning experience and a great honour for me to collaborate with the maestro and our state orchestra.
6- You have received an impressive number of awards from competitions. Does any one particularly stand out for you?
It is difficult to pick one as the occasions on which I have received them were respectively special and important for me at their own time. Perhaps the Schumann competition in London, as I felt particularly connected to the work I played…
7- In 2010, you received the Dositeja Award from the Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sports for your achievements. How did this honour feel like?
It certainly felt like a great privilege, receiving this award from the Minister herself. Also, I was very humbled to be part of a fantastic group of other young people such as mathematicians, scientist, artists, sportsmen…
8- What are your fondest musical memories, privately or performing?
Playing for my grandmother on her very old Viennese mechanic piano. She was the one who introduced me to the world of music, for which I am eternally grateful. Not in a patronising, pushy way – which is very often the case… She was just my first advisor and most faithful public who shared her love for music and essentially enabled me to approach it in the healthiest of ways.
9- How often do you practice?
It depends on the occasion, circumstances and inspiration… Unfortunately, I don’t have a regular pattern!
10- Would you consider teaching in the future?
I was very fortunate to have such great teachers and believe this noble act of “passing on” is crucial for the survival of the future generations of artists. Doesn’t this apply to everything else in life? Therefore yes, most certainly.
11- Who would your dream accompanist be, from the present or past?
Probably maestro Leonard Bernstein...
12- What advice would you give to young musicians at the start of their journey?
Love, first and foremost. To be patient, dedicated and true to themselves.