Now, the times of political troubles between Indonesia and Australia don't seem to hinder you from keeping your activities involving Australian music.
Ananda Sukarlan (AS) : Of course not. Music, and art in general, doesn't have anything to do with politics. Even real life should not have anything to do with politics, but unfortunately many people suffer and become victims of the selfishness of greedy politicians.
Tell us about your new Peter Sculthorpe recording.
AS : The most exciting thing of course is that this is the first time I did a recording "with myself" 4-hands, with Peter's Four Little Pieces. It wasn't as easy as I imagined ! Recording 4-hands, I realized that I am already a different person just one hour after I recorded "the other me". Apart from that, I also did the World Premiere Recording of that moving piece Peter dedicated to me, "Little Passacaglia", commemorating the victims of Bali terrorist attack October 2002. Other works I included are Mountains, Night Pieces, and the short and exquisite Sometimes when I'm dreaming (which, if I am not mistaken, is also a world premere recording). To fill up the CD I recorded with 2 fantastic string players from Plural Ensemble, two trios of Peter (Night Song and From Irkanda III) and some duo pieces. The CD is already released as a supplement of "Sibila" cultural magazine (I am sure you can get a copy of it at any Spanish embassies or cultural centres) this April, but this summer (which means winter in the southern hemisphere !) it will be released by the company Verso. By the way, my recording of the Complete Piano Works by Santiago Lanchares with this company has already won the Best Contemporary Music CD of the Year 2005 by the classical music magazine CD Compact in Spain. This is my second CD with them. So, I have great expectations !
You just came back, with your duo partner the cellist Rohan de Saram from Edinburgh, doing a program of Australasian music.
AS : Yes, it was an invitation from the Edinburgh Contemporary Arts Trust. After Rohan left the Arditti Quartet last November 2005 we have been intensely performing as a duo. In Edinburgh we did the new piece, "Cathedral" Barry Conyngham wrote for us. Also Matthew Hindson's fun and funky "Jungle Fever" of course provided us an upbeat closing piece for the recital ; it was an arrangement of an earlier piece for french horn and piano, but it works perfectly in the new instrumentation. Both are brilliant pieces, wonderful additions for the repertoire for cello and piano which is quite poor comparing, for example, to the repertory of violin and piano, or even piano trio. That is why we are actively asking composers to write for us. We are going to repeat the performances of those pieces at the new Queen Sofia Center, Madrid later this year, together with other pieces we commissioned by Santiago Lanchares, Polo Vallejo, Jesus Rueda and Tapio Tuomela.
Where and when did you and Rohan meet ?
AS : It was when he was still with the Arditti Quartet. We did a program of Jesus Rueda's music for quartets and quintets during the Alicante Festival, and then we recorded them for a double CD in London (adding his duos and trios). This recording became the last recording of Arditti Quartet with Rohan de Saram as their cellist. We also do mixed classical and contemporary program, since we believe that that is the best way to get public to listen and discover good contemporary music : they come to hear us play Beethoven or Brahms, and then find two or three contemporary pieces in the program, and hopefully find out that they are not bad at all ! Of course we are very selective in choosing which contemporary pieces should be programmed in those "classical" concerts.
Are you now concentrating more in your duo projects ?
Not really, although we are performing a lot as a duo. We both are still very much soloists ! I am now very much looking forward to the new Piano Concerto Barry Conyngham is writing for me. I'll premiere it in November 2007. Meanwhile, there is another Piano Concerto due to be premiered by me next week, closer to home. It will be in Madrid, and it is a big Symphony for Piano and Orchestra called "Nusantara" (the old name of the Indonesian archipelago) by the Spanish National Music Award winner, David del Puerto, which I hope to play the first movement (which can be played separately) together with Barry's new Concerto next year with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.