Q & A with pianist Daniel de Borah

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Pianist Daniel de Borah will perform with violinist Anna McMichael at Theme & Variations Brisbane showroom on Friday 30 March 2012 as part of the Commercial Road Chamber Music Series.


On 19 January 2012, Daniel generously gave up some of his time to answer a few questions.


Do you prefer playing solo or within a group/orchestra?

I don’t find that there is too much difference when it comes to performing solo or in a chamber context – it is all music making at the end of the day! Solo performances perhaps allow for more freedom of expression, whilst during chamber performances the responsibility is shared amongst more players which makes for a lovely stimulating, more relaxing (I speak for myself!) environment in which to make music. Concertos with orchestra are always an exciting prospect, coming as they do less regularly than solo or chamber opportunities. My ideal setting is perhaps being the soloist in a Mozart concerto, which combines all of the above benefits with the most glorious music!


What has been your most memorable concert to date?

Hard to say! Performing Prokofiev’s 2nd Piano Concerto with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in the Opera house Concert Hall during the finals of the Sydney International Piano Competition would have to be up there – the buzz of the whole occasion and being on a high having made it that far made it a special performance for me. Also, performing Scriabin’s “Prometheus – Poem of Fire” with the Jena Philharmonie in Germany accompanied by a high-tech and other-wordly colourful light installation stays in the memory!


What is your favourite concert hall to perform in?

I think I’d have to say London’s Wigmore Hall – such a beautiful and intimate venue with a lovely warm acoustic. I’ve had the good fortune to perform there many times whilst living in London so playing there feels a bit like coming home.


Do you have any advice for a young pianist trying to kick-start their career?

Yes: do not try to kick start-your career! Focus on your music making, expand your repertoire, play chamber music – in short, work at your art. And take every opportunity to perform or collaborate. A career should never be the goal, rather the consequence.


What are your plans for the rest of 2012?

2012 has started in busy fashion with performances in the UK and Singapore, followed by a tour with the Australian String Quartet in March playing Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet. I will join the ASQ again at their festival in Dunkeld in Victoria in April to perform Schubert’s “Trout Quintet”, joined by Max McBride on double bass, as well as performing solo and with my long time duo partner, tenor Andrew Goodwin. That will be followed by a busy couple of weeks at the Canberra International Music Festival in May, and performances of Schubert’s wonderful song cycle “Die Schöne Mullerin” in June, after which I plan to take a bit of a break!


What are you listening to at the moment?

A heady mix of Mozart, Brahms and Brad Mehldau.


Who is your inspiration?

As a child I was very much inspired and influenced by two pianists: Horowitz, whose live recording from Leningrad in 1986 remains one of my absolute favourite discs, particularly for the sublime “Kreisleriana” (and the man was 82 years old!) and Oscar Peterson who piqued my interest in jazz. These days I suppose I am less prone to influence, but amongst those whose playing I most admire are Rosalyn Tureck, Nelson Freire, Emil Gilels, Clara Haskil, Dinu Lipatti and Radu Lupu.



Concert details


7pm Friday 30th March


Anna McMichael and Daniel de Borah (violin and piano)


Biber “Passacaglia” for solo violin

Brahms Sonata No.2, Op. 100 for violin and piano

R. Schumann 2 Novelettes Op.21 for solo piano

Satie “Chose vues a droite et a gauche (sans lunettes) 3 pieces for violin and piano

Cesar Franck Sonata in A major for violin and piano


Tickets $25; Concession $20; Student $10


Bookings recommended: Phone (07) 3666 0650


Workshop with Anna McMichael and Daniel de Borah
30th March, 4:00pm – 5.30pm – violin and piano.  Open to public.


Venue: Theme & Variations Piano Services, 60 Commercial Road, Newstead, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


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