These are some questions & answers that I found scattered around in my emails with journalists, students who are doing research about my music (and me), etc. Thought they would be useful to you.
1. I know that you don't perform much now. but is there any advice for performance anxiety?
An unfortunate answer : NO. Even if one is so so prepared, it happens still ! And different kind of symptoms could happen to different kinds of people : I have the same one as Benjamin Britten's (he was famous for his rituals!) : stomach problems before going on stage.
2. Are there any advices for those who want to make career in performing and composing music?
Well, unfortunately I can't think of any other way but to join & win the competitions, although competitions are so so inartistic . But for me, it was the way. Afterwards I started to re-educate myself musically (meaning , playing for artistic reasons, and not to please the jury. Not even the audience; I do it for the music, which is sometimes too honest to please anyone ) .
3. What is "good music", according to you?
Simple. Good music is that which is always better than its performance(s). While not so good ones depend so much on their performers. I'll put it simpler: imagine Beethoven's Sonatas, or Bach's Well Tempered Klavier or Gustav Mahler's Symphonies. I believe that noone, NOBODY, until now can reach the height of their real quality. And I am a big fan of Glenn Gould's Bach performances and Leonard Bernstein's repeated renderings of Mahler! And there is even a better evidence for this : Rachmaninov as a pianist of his own works repeatedly did performances of the same pieces in different interpretations throughout the years. He, I consider, was the greatest pianist of the history (well I never heard recordings of Liszt!), but he was a step under his greatness as a composer.
That automatically explains my music : I am desperately counting on good performers to make my music better than it is!!
4. From which composers do you learn the most?
From almost everyone, even though it means I learned what I should NOT do in composition. That's why I am interested in "bad" (according to me) composers too (mostly contemporary ones). You can even learn from the hour long Mahler symphony to apply it in a very short piece, or from a complex orchestration of Britten for writing a, say, trio or quartet. Anyway, I do admit that there are "fixed" composers, such as Bach, Britten, Mahler and Stravinsky to turn to every time I got compositional problems (and even blocks, which happen not seldomly.
5. Could you share any visions / plans in the future?
Have you read about Mozart wanting only to write operas and nothing else? Well, I am like that. If I can, I would only write operas and more operas. But it poses a lot of problems, mostly economic ones. And it's so complicated to produce! And I feel that through operas we can express our preoccupations about things like human rights etc . Do you know Stravinsky's saying "Music is unable to express anything " ? Noooo way ! It is so powerful to express, but what is expressed cannot be done in words. Not even in an opera; it is the music, not the words, that reaches directly to the heart of the listener. And it hurts, sometimes.