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Pirlea Ioan-Octavian - Violin

Interview

1- At the age of 8 you had your first concert as a soloist with the Philharmonic of Brasov, Romania. Can you tell us about your recollections of the time and what pieces you played?

It was the most emotionally charged experience that I lived at the age of 8 as I had a large audience and at that age and I could not understand the complexity of playing in a concert as a soloist. The most amusing part was when they needed to use the conductor’s podium in order to make me look taller. The concert that I played was by Ferdinand Kuchler and it was highly appreciated by the Maestro Ilarion Ionescu Galati.

2- Is your family musical?

My father, Ionel Pirlea is the 1st clarinet at the Opera Brasov, which gave me the opportunity to watch many of the concerts either by him as a soloist or as part of the orchestra. Because of the facilities that I had from my father, when I was young, I was able to sing notes before being able to talk properly.
My mother, Maria Pirlea on the other side is an engineer and she works in the motor industry. As she is not part of the musical influence, she is my balance between music and general culture and because of my mother, I am a hard worker and a dreamer.

3- You later studied with one of the best violin teacher in Romania, Magdalena Ursu from aged 12 onwards. Can you tell us how this master influenced you?

Magdalena Ursu had a major impact in learning how to practice more and be prepared for a more challenging repertoire. She mastered my emotions on stage as she was travelling with her students to every concert, no matter how far the distance was. As we had so many concerts, almost 2 concerts every week, this was a huge step in order to become an artist with controlled emotions on stage.

4- Later at the Purcell school in London you studied the sixth form with the violinist and chamber music professor Charles Sewart. How did this master steer you in your further development?

Mr. Charles Sewart showed me how to practice efficiently, and always to read the ‘instructions’ written on top of any music scores. He mastered my abilities in listening beyond the violin score, and to understand how to dialogue while playing with someone. He is a great mentor and I was extremely lucky to have had lessons for two years at the Purcell school with him.

5- In the final year at The Purcell School, you were invited to play Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Arad Philharmonic orchestra and after that you have won the Purcell school chamber music award which gave you the opportunity to perform at the Wigmore Hall in London. How do you recall these 2 important concerts?

Preparing myself to play the Sibelius violin concerto with the orchestra as a soloist was a tremendous experience and at the same time difficult. As it was my first major violin concerto that I played as a soloist with an orchestra, I had to make sure I was prepared mentally to play for over half an hour and to build my resilience even further.

After this amazing experience I won the chamber music competition at the Purcell school which gave my piano trio the opportunity to perform at the Wigmore Hall in London. As we were part of a piano trio, we began to have a connection between us, not only as partners but also as friends which led us to create more music and communication in our playing.

6- You are currently a student at the Royal Academy of Music under the guidance of Maestro Remus Azoitei. How is this progressing?

There are no words to describe the amazing speed of my progress since I became a student of Maestro Remus Azoitei. The most amazing part in my progression while studying with him was the process of creating my own unique style and to become a soloist in the future. He is fully dedicated into my progression by breaking down all the limits I had, so that I can achieve the level of winning a major international violin competition.

7- What are your fondest musical memories, privately or performing?

I remember when I had my first national violin competition in Romania, and I went there with my father. Because I was nervous, he showed me how to act and to prepare mentally before entering on stage, and I was following him step by step in a similar way as I was building a Lego City. I started to be really confident with myself, and every time I had a concert/competition I never forgot his words: “Focus on the stage, feel the audience/jury as is your good friend, and show your passion of making music.”

8- How often do your practice?

I practice every day for over 5 hours, as a good contrast with sports, academic work, and hobbies.

9- Would you consider teaching in the future?

Totally! Sharing my experience and knowledge that I have gathered, and will gather, is by far the most important part for my career.

10- Who would your dream accompanist be, from the present or past?

Playing with one of the greatest violinist such as Itzhak Perlman or a recital accompanied by Yuja Wang is my dream since I was 5 years old.

11- What advice would you give to young musicians at the start of their journey?

Never give up! The road to a successful career is full of obstacles, but if you keep trying harder every day, the sacrifices you have done will be highly rewarded to you later.

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submission September 2020