Millennium Post

‘Want audience with open heart’

‘Want audience with open heart’
‘In the midst of final exams, when her classmates tumble about campus in sweatpants and bed head, she arrives at a morning meeting crisp and fresh, designer sunglasses perched atop a carefully arranged mane of blonde; high-heeled boots boosting her several inches into the rarified air of a professional musician’. This is how Harvard University Gazette describes Berenika Zakrzewski, class of ‘04.

Zakrzewski’s path through Harvard nonetheless stands out. She’s maintained a concert schedule. She stuffs her summers with performances and residencies at some of the world’s most prestigious music festivals. And somehow, she manages to spend five or six hours a day [‘That’s a good day,’ she admits] at one of Kirkland House’s pianos, it adds.

After Harvard, it is now Delhi’s turn to keep its date with pianist Berenika Zakrzewski, who will be performing in colloboration with Harvard Club New Delhi and the High Commission of Canada at the scenic Bahai temple. Millennium Post caught up with the pianist before her performance. Here are excerpts:

When did you take to the piano?

I was born in Warsaw and raised in Canada and started playing piano when I was three-years-old. I made my debut as a soloist when I was nine with an orchestra in my hometown Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario. Then I joined Juilliard School’s pre-college division and the Professional Children’s School, a private school that lets young performers shoehorn rigorous academics around their budding music, acting, or dance careers.

What kind of music do you like listening to?

I love all kinds of music — from the top 40 to 80s rock ballads to jazz and new compositions. This is in addition to classical music that I love.

What kind of music will your Indian tour get to see?

There will be something for everyone. I will play contemporary Philip Glass to Chopin, Schubert and Debussy.

What kind of audience are you expecting in India?
I always hope for an audience with an open heart, and I think this is what I will find in India.

Is your performance in India going to be any different from other countries?

My performance is made up of repertoire that I love. It is the programme that I have shared with people across Asia Pacific. India is my final stop on my tour, and I will give it my all.

Tips for young pianists...

Always play music that you love and feel you can share honestly.

Any experience during performing which moved you?

There are so many it is difficult. There was a time where I played Rachmaninoff in Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and the passion of the audience was so overwhelming. I also performed for
autistic children who had the best questions.


At: Auditorium, Baha’i House of Worship, Kalkaji
When: 11 July, 7 pm onwards
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