I never liked works by the Austrian pianist and composer Carl Czerny (1791 – 1857) and thought I would probably never like them. However, a few months ago I changed my mind as quite unintentionally I found on YouTube an engrossing performance of Czerny’s ‘Etude op. 740 no. 50.’ The performer was Mark Fedorov, a young Russian boy to my surprise. His playing astonished me with its dexterity, but first of all with its maturity. I had to satisfy my curiosity about this child prodigy, so I contacted his mum, Ekaterina Fedorova who actually posted the aforementioned video on YouTube. Surprisingly, she appeared to be a Doctor of Economics and an expert on oil and natural gas and her articles are regularly published in the journal ‘Oil of Russia.’ However, she graduated from music school, so as she says, that is why she can help her son in his musical education. The interview was conducted in Russian, so I hope that I managed to pass on the beauty of this language in English, and above all, what Mark and his mum have to say to people who will read this piece of work.
Hello. How are you? The first question is to a mother. Your son is only 12 years old, but his playing style is very mature. How is Mark? (Obviously, I think of his character traits).
Mark turned 13 in July. His playing style stands out for its professionalism, as he studies at a special school at the conservatory with high quality teachers and is serious about his music lessons. He is a cheerful and sociable boy by nature, very inquisitive and friendly.
Mark, when did your passion for music start? Do you remember your first concert, contact with the audience and the first impressions?
When I was three years old, grandma brought us mother’s old piano. I started to pick up the melodies of Mozart and Bach. My parents took me to art school which I attended for about a year. Teachers of the piano and of the solfège, advised me to go to the Central Special Music School at Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov’s Saint Petersburg State Conservatory where I have been studying since 2004 in a class led by Vladimir Vladimirovich Suslov. I have had my first concert already in the art school, and I really remember it with affection. Among the spectators there were many children and I did not expect that I would be listened to so carefully. I managed to convey my emotions to the audience and after the concert different people approached me with congratulations and joy on their faces. Since then, every appearance on stage makes me happier.
Has Mark taken part in piano competitions?
Mark has participated in several competitions. He has a diploma from the 5th international competition’ Young Pianists. Dedication to Franz Liszt’ (Moscow, 15-21 November 2008) and from the 8th International Competition for Young Pianists dedicated to works by Chopin (Narva, Estonia, 31 January – February 7, 2010). He was the first prize winner of the International festival of arts ’Vivat talent!’ – ‘Petersburg’s Spring – 2010’, and winner of Alphathe international contest-festival ‘Wreath of Chopin’ (Novgorod, October 2010).
Mark, is there competition among your peers?
I can see my growth in music not in terms of competition with my peers in the training for some individual items, but through the expression of the individuality of my interpretations. Perhaps, this approach sets me apart from the competition.
Yekaterina, how do you support your son in his fight?
Professional music education does not seem to us like a fight. It is daily hard work, aimed at high results, as in any profession.
Mark, what do you think about your own style?
It depends on the work. I change on stage without losing individuality. At school, the basis is classic pianism.
How many hours a day is Mark practicing ? How does he combine music with school?
Mark is practicing for about four hours a day, sometimes more, sometimes less. The teaching of musical and general subjects is provided in his high school, and it is very well organized to receive a full education.
Mark, who are your favourite composers and why do you admire them?
My favourite composers are Johann Sebastian Bach and Franz Liszt. Works created by Bach are timeless, seemingly designed for modern instruments, and perhaps for those that will only appear in the future. I admire Liszt for the combination of all the ‘faces’ of his pianism: brilliance, tenderness and the ability to charm the audience.
What other interests besides music does Mark have?
Strategy games, chat online, he loves to read.
Mark, what is your biggest dream?
I want people to be tolerant and seek to understand (each other).
Yekaterina, do you think sometimes about his future?
An education in the special school suggests the next stage – the conservatory, that is why the Mark’s short-term future can be seen clearly.
Mark, how do you see your future profession: as a musician, composer, performer, or just an amateur?
At first I wanted to be a conductor. Now I am interested in pianism and would like to become a performer. I test myself by creating transcriptions of famous pieces.
Thank you very much to both of you for the conversation. I wish you much success and look forward to further videos of your performances on YouTube.