“Portraits” is the craziest idea I’ve ever had – invite people to the stage, to the piano, seat them, and then draw her or his musical portrait … Complete improvisation! Communication from scratch, and all this – live, in the presence of spectators and listeners,” says pianist, composer, arranger and producer Kristaps Vanadzins, talking about his new solo project, with which he will start touring Latvia from September 2.
Kristaps came to the Klásikas studio with a particularly beautiful gift: his self-titled album “Portraits” has just been released, which captures his solo concert, which took place at the Hansa Peron last year.
Inta Segnere: So you are alone on the stage, and then you invite one of the listeners to creative cooperation, right?
Yes exactly! The concert consists of two conditional parts. In the first one, I will play my original music, and there will also be a block with Latvian music – this is my tribute to those Latvian old masters with whom I played on stage, collaborated and became friends. For example, Martins Braun. I will dedicate his music to him in my arrangement. And then there will be a conditional second part, when I will draw portraits.
Usually I choose the characters, but of course, those who want to be portrayed and have the courage can come on stage … And then I try to draw them one by one in front of everyone.
Of course, not with a brush, but with a piano.
Yes, I draw a musical portrait – what kind of energy this person radiates, how I feel about him, how he looks in my eyes. And then the viewers try to compare it with their own eyes. I think this is where a good piece comes in, embellishing the indomitable nature of this improvisation.
By what criteria do you choose people for the image? By the color of the hair, the look of the eyes, the color of the suit, or who is seated closest to the stage?
I love very different portraits!
Usually I like it when there is an alternation: there is a lady, and there is a gentleman. I’m interested in not being the same. Let each of them have their own image, each their own truth, and each of them radiates something of their own – this is one and the same, the most beautiful thing that I always want to show!
(..) This is such a fairly organic process. You can also see those who want to be photographed – I try not to refuse anyone.
But if there are a lot of applications, the concert can drag on for three hours!
Of course, everything also has its limit.
drawing portraits requires extremely high concentration from me, so I can’t paint more than five or six portraits in one concert, but that’s why people have to be brave and come to me from the very beginning if they want their portrait.
If somewhere people are more fearful, I will take everything into my own hands and choose according to the prototype.
How is a portrait painting made? You also mention the words “collaboration” and “interaction” in the application for the concert tour.
I have a portrait chair hidden behind the piano. Then a person sits in it opposite me, in the fold of the piano, so that I can see him very well, and so that he can see me well, and then “drawing” occurs.
But when it comes to cooperation and interaction, these are different numbers. For example, I have a piece “Sicilian Lunch” that I wrote in the original version for my trio – it was also recorded on the trio’s album “Mīlestības gārdus ir azazudis” released last year. This composition is about a kind of family scandal, and I will invite people to take part in tour concerts: we will arrange a small performance of this composition in a real amateur theater.
I will be handing out various items to the audience – all sorts of rattles, and also plates, and you should come and listen to what will come out of all this – it can be good humor.
The description mentioned explosives…
Those are the plates! Real plates!
If an artist paints a portrait, the person depicted in that portrait receives or acquires the property. If you are painting a musical portrait of a person, this is one beautiful moment that is fleeting…
It might disappear, but it might not disappear! There are a lot of portraits in my zero album, which will be officially released on September 2, the opening day of the tour, because
there is a recording of a live concert in the album – this is my solo concert, which took place at the “Hanza Peron” last year: the album contains portraits made at this concert, with all the names of the people depicted … Here are these people you can get their portraits!
On this tour we will do the same, because the idea is to record concerts, otherwise I have a heretical idea that all the portraits could be collected on my website – there would be a separate gallery of portraits where everyone could enter after the concert and find their portrait, listen to it again. I thought it was a great idea.
The new album is amazing! In addition to the “Sicilian dinner” there are “Mathis”, “Lota”, “Davids”, “Rita”, “Signe”, “Christiana”, “Arvids”. And there is also a composition to the “Virgin Mary”.
“Dievmate” was born as a result of a boat trip: for three days we sailed with my wife and friends on the beautiful lakes of Latgale – Razne and others. Three days, ten kilometers every day!
When we finished the trip, I said that we should also enter Aglona, because we were a kilometer from the Aglona Basilica. We drove up, and this melody immediately came to me – somehow it played in my head. We went to the city, I sat down at the instrument, and “Dievmatey” was born.
More details in the audio.
About the solo tour “Portraits”
The solo tour “Portraits” is a new project by Kristaps Vanadzisna, combining a musical journey and personal experience. During the tour, Vanadziņš will not only improvise and play famous tunes that will be mixed with his own music, but will also invite the audience to take part in musical interaction. It means that
some lucky ones will be able to become a portrait of his piano music, creating it together with the artist on stage. “Portrait” promises to be a unique experience that will allow listeners, together with Kristaps Vanadzins, to enjoy and paint their musical portrait and share their emotions.
The center of the concert program will be impromptu portraits of the audience – musical miracles that arise here and now. But that’s not all! You, dear viewers, will also be invited to take part in musical interaction and create and inspire some more musical portraits with us.
“This is a game with the audience, where I invite people to the stage, they complement the performance with percussion instruments and various explosive objects. It’s a lively and fun interaction for both those who participate and those who listen. It will be a concert with audience involvement, emotions and literal closeness,” Vanadziņš says.
Kristaps Vanadziņš is one of the brightest modern jazz pianists in Latvia, who has revived jazz trio compositions in the musical space. Several genres always converge in the repertoire of his jazz ensembles, unusual harmonic solutions and creative novelties sound in the performed works. Vinyl album Vanadzisna Trio The garden of love is overgrownreleased by Jazz Music Publishing Jersey Recordsunder the wing, received the “Golden Microphone 2022” in the category “Jazz and Funk”, and was also nominated for “Album of the Year”.
Kristaps Vanadzins invites us to take part in this musical journey, where everyone can enjoy the beauty and energy hidden behind every portrait and melody!
September 2, 18:00 Riga, Daile Music House
3 September 17:00 Cesis, Cēsis Concert Hall
8 September 18:00 Dobele, Zinta Concert Hall
September 10, 17:00 Kuldiga, Kuldiga Cultural Center
September 15, 19:00 Liepaja, Concert Hall “Lielais Dzintars”
September 16, 19:00 Kalnmuiža, Kalnmuiža Castle
September 18, 18:00 Daugavpils, Daugavpils Palace of Culture
September 22, 19:00 Saldus, acoustic concert hall of the Saldus Music School
September 23, 19:00 Ventspils, Parventas Library
September 29, 19:00 Madonna, Madonna House of Culture
October 7, 18:00 Valmiera, Acoustics Concert Hall
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