Hot on the heels of my latest blog, the Villa-Lobos CD release by Argentine pianist Daniela Salinas, it occurred to me that a proper blog interview should follow. Thankfully, Ms. Salinas accepted my invitation.
I’m pleased to introduce my students, readers, family and friends to my new friend in music, the accomplished pianist and educator, Ms. Daniela Salinas.
LRW: As a piano teacher and serious amateur pianist, I enjoy connecting with concert pianists who play music that feeds their soul. What is your style of playing referred to? For my piano students, would you please describe what this style means or represents?
DS: Defining a style of playing is complicated. I prefer to talk about how I think about music and how I approach it. Always the first issue for me is a sound representation. I have a first idea of how I want the piece to sound and all the subsequent work is about trying to reach that ideal. Of course, one makes adjustments along the way, because perception is slightly modified and new possibilities of realization also appear.
LRW: That makes sense. From where do you draw your inspiration?
DS: First of all, my inspiration comes from the music itself. It is different in each case, but the sound itself motivates me, too. Sometimes, I have a wonderful piano that allows me to create a variety of sounds, and that makes my imagination grow, and I change things in my interpretation. I am very open to this, always. But, many other things outside the music inspire me, like art, feelings, books, nature, performances by other artists, etc.
LRW: So nice to know you draw your inspiration from a variety of sources. Do you have a few styles, pieces, composers and venues that are closest to your heart? What about them inspires you to choose them as your top picks?
DS: Yes. I love Rachmaninoff, for example. Right now, I am focused mostly on music composed in the early 20th century. The music that has been influenced by popular music by composers from the Americas and post-romantic music attracts me a lot. But I like much more music! I listen to Bach and Mozart every week (as a necessity). The best thing is that I don’t know which repertoire I will prefer to play in a few years because these affinities change with one.
LRW: I love Rachmaninoff, too as well as early 20th century composers, especially Federico Mompou. Bach and Mozart are food for the soul. Do you also play with chamber ensembles and orchestras? If so, details please.
DS: Yes. I play chamber music and also as a soloist with orchestras. I have a viola and piano duo with one of the soloists of Colon Theater (one of the most important theatres in South America), Adrián Felizia, a great musician. We have been working together for about eight years.
I also play with other musicians, in duos, trios, quintets, etc.
My last concert with orchestra was in November 2019. I played Gershwin with the great Symphonic Band, Mar del Plata Symphonic Band / conductor, José María Ulla. It was a beautiful experience.
LRW: Wow! How exciting and rewarding! Since my students are interested in the latest rehearsal trends, tips and techniques, I have to ask, do you have a set routine (best days/times)? How long do you usually rehearse to prepare repertoire? How do you prepare before a concert? How do you prepare for a recording session?
DS: I organize my practice time in a way that is efficient for me. I do in the morning the weighty cognitive work (new readings), and what demands more physical effort, in the afternoon (when the muscles are warm). I rest one day a week.
On the day of the concert, I go over the program once, very calmly, and then I rest. Sleeping well is very important, so whenever I can, I take a nap before going to the concert hall.
I recorded my first CD very recently, so I don’t have a method for a recording session. I learned several things in this opportunity, but what is similar to a concert is that you have to know the repertoire impeccably and be untired.
LRW: All good strategies, duly noted. I’m a fan of naps, myself. 🙂 At what age did you realize you were a musical spirit?
DS: I never asked myself that question. But when I think about my childhood, I remember how I enjoyed music and couldn’t go a day without playing or listening to it.
LRW: I know the feeling! May I ask, did anyone try to talk you out of fulfilling your dream as a musician? If so, how did you handle it?
DS: Yes, some people spoke discouraging words to me. But there were no words that could break my passion for music. My love for music has made me work with perseverance and effort, and that I build a very personal relationship with what I do. And, we always have to remember that nobody can tell us what we can or cannot do.
LRW: Amen to that! How old were you when you performed your first professional concert? How did you get the gig? Was it through teacher connections or a professional manager?
DS: My first professional concert was organized by a Conservatory about 20 years ago. It was a beautiful experience.
LRW: That’s lovely. I learned from your bio that you are a piano professor at the Superior Conservatory of Buenos Aires and also teach master classes in universities and music schools. Was there a particular person or event that inspired your decision to teach?
DS: Teaching came first as a source of work, but I soon realized that I liked it. I have had great teachers who have inspired me, such as Dr. Luiz de Moura Castro, Susana Rome, Ludovica Mosca, and Alexander Panizza. Now, my artistic and teaching activities coexist in synergy.
LRW: That’s beautiful. I was wondering, have you composed works of your own? If so, what style are they in? Will you be recording any of them?
DS: No, I don’t compose music.
LRW: Thanks. Good to know. Music can touch people’s lives, bringing happiness and hope. For example, my school partners with CoachArt.org to provide free piano lessons or art classes for families impacted by childhood chronic illness. Is there a charity you are fond of or support, that you might like my readers to learn more about?
DS: I do not work permanently with any charitable foundation, but I have performed many free benefit concerts.
LRW: That’s wonderful to hear. In closing, do you have a favorite quote, mantra or process that you find inspiring or helpful when faced with a creative block, that you would like to share with my readers?
DS: Dr. Luiz de Moura Castro said that we are servants of music, and when we go on stage, it is to offer that love that we have towards music. I talk always about this with my students. Thinking this way helps me always to put what I do into perspective.
LRW: Wow. That gave me goosebumps. Thank you for sharing those spiritual words which I will look forward to sharing with my piano students.
It was a pleasure interviewing you and sharing your story with my readers. Best wishes for continued success as a pianist and educator. We look forward to hearing more now and in the future.
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To learn more about this creative and accomplished pianist, visit her website.
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