Maria pursues a career as a recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician throughout Russia and Europe. Her solo engagements have included the Russian State Symphony Cinema Orchestra, the Saratov Philharmonic Orchestra, the Nigniy Novgorod Philharmonic Orchestra, the “Kremlin”, “Four Seasons”, and the Chamber Orchestra of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. She has given solo recitals at music festivals all over the world, has been broadcast widely on Russian TV and radio, and she recorded her first solo CD in 2006. Her list of prestigious scholarships includes the “Russian Performing Arts” Fund for young people of outstanding talent.
On October 2nd, 2009, at 7PM, Maria Krushevskaya will perform at the 11th International Harp Festival in the Royal Palace of Gödöllő, Hungary. She will play a virtuoso programme you can find here. She asked Camac to lend her a harp for the concert, which we have done with great pleasure and pride.
Maria, can you tell me about studying the harp in Russia? How do you work? What are the values?
First I would like to say that in Russia we have a very rigorous education. Harp lessons happen twice a week, very regularly. We begin to study early, when we are about six, which gives us a long training to become musicians. Also I can say that Russians take their professional training very seriously: they want to win competitions, become famous, and get good work in the future.
The Russian school is very good technically. From the very beginning, every young harpist practices many different exercises to develop their technique. Sound is also very important: the Russian sound is very strong and round. Most importantly, each young harpist is taught to be a musician first and an instrumentalist second – learning to listen to himself, hear his own sound, and control the whole process of working himself.
You won the Bloomington Competition in 2007, which is obviously a huge achievement. How did you prepare for it, and how did you cope with the pressure when you were there? What do you think you need to have and do to be a serious competitor in a big competition?
Yes, I won the Bloomington Competition because, ever since I was very young, I had a great desire to win. I think the desire to win is a crucial reason behind competition success. That and hard work! I did several competitions before I won the big one in Bloomington, over seventeen years of practice and preparation. My first international competition was in France when I was fifteen – that was when my teacher, Milda Agazarian, decided that I was ready to try international harp competitions. Before the IHC in Bloomington, I played a lot of concerts in Russia and also some concerts abroad, to give me experience both of competitions and on the concert platform. I think I was ready to win Bloomington because of the experience I had accumulated by this time. It doesn’t happen overnight.
I've always had the impression that Russians understand competing very well. Do you think I am right?
I can say only that unfortunately in Russia, harpists don’t have much chance of a good job without notching up formal successes. You especially need the sort of CV competition wins build up to be able to play concerts. So we have to play some competitions, because our careers depend on them. That’s why Russian harpists take competitions so seriously; they understand that they are a chance to prove themselves to be a really talented musician, particularly in Russia. I dream that one day, Russia will be able to guarantee success for our most talented harpists without having to go through this.