At a stage where kids point fingers at alphabets, Helena Basilovawas already tapping her fingers on the keyboard. A listener of Bach right from her infancy, this young girl today, has created waves around the world with her amazing performance of music notes on the piano. Meet the maverick, who eats, sleeps and dreams music!
Born to parents who were Musicians, how were the growing years in a family full of music?
Playing the piano was the same as eating, sleeping or doing groceries. I actually thought that all children played the piano and was surprised to find out later that this wasn’t the case! I still remember the pieces my mother practiced at home and am very thankful to have heard many music as a child. Sometimes, it was of course also hard, because my mother and grandmother forced me to practice and I often wouldn’t want to do this, so we had discussions about this a lot..;) As a child one prefers playing outside, but I’m happy they were strict with me because it made me learn a lot in the first years and those years are very important for the foundation as a pianist.
Tell us about a childhood incident you recall fondly?
When I was nine, I won my first ‘1st prize’ in a piano competition in The Netherlands. I had an interview for the newspaper and they asked me how I imagined my future. I answered that I wished to become a hairdresser for DOGS (!!) and so this was published in the newspaper ha-ha…
How has music been instrumental in balancing your life?
Music is the only thing in my life that is always there, is stable and supports me in every period of my life. It cannot leave me, hurt me, it cannot die, and it is simply always there however I feel or whatever I’m going through. It is my biggest support and friend in life.
Born in Russia and brought up in The Netherlands, yet your music has a strong influence of Russia’s famous composers. Did you miss not growing up in Russia?
Memories of my childhood in Russia are very dear to me. I lived in Russia until the age of seven and always think back of this time with big love. I’m sometimes sad that with age these seven years have become a smaller part of my life. Playing Russian composers keeps me connected to my motherland, to my memories and to my love for Russian composers as Scriabin, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov. It keeps my Russian soul alive and I find it important for these composers to be heard worldwide.
Which is your favourite composition?
This is a very difficult question and hard to answer, since I don’t have one favourite but many favourite pieces! Yet if one would force me to choose to bring only one Recording of a piece to a deserted island it actually would be a work of Bach, maybe the Goldberg Variations. Bach is for me the holy temple where everything else in music derives from, it is so perfect and owns such an exquisite balance that it is the only composer to me who I cannot compare with anyone else and who I can listen to 24/7 until the end of days.
Any plans for coming out with an exclusive album?
I have already released two albums on Quintone Records! One dedicated to composer Leos Janacek (2013) and one to Alexander Scriabin (2015). My next album will probably be with works by my late father Alexander Basilov (1946-2007), who was a wonderful composer.
You have been in India before, what is it about the country you like the most?
The people are very open and warmly hearted. The country breathes so much history and culture, this feels incredible! Because the country is so big, there are many interesting and sacred places to visit and every area has its own secrets, colours and architecture. I learn a lot from the differences between things I see here and how things are at home.
Any travel plans for India visit?
My India trip this time is only limited to my concerts in Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai where I will also teach at the KM Conservatory besides concerts. Next time I visit I would love to travel in Rajasthan and also would love to see the north of the country and the Himalaya Mountains.