Q&A with Serbian pianist Aleksandar Madzar

15 September 2018
By Ellie Palmer
4x3-Aleksandar-Madzar-37082.jpg Aleksandar Madzar
The Serbian pianist talked to us about his key advice for young pianists, and mentioned his exciting upcoming concert.




Serbian pianist Aleksandar Madzar will be joining the London Schools Symphony Orchestra on the 17th September for a performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto at the Barbican, London. Aleksandar works frequently with young musicians, as he is also a teacher at the Royal Flemish Conservatoire in Brussels. We had a chat with him about his advice for pianists, and his upcoming performance.

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1. You will be joining the London Schools Symphony Orchestra for the fourth time in September to perform Schumann’s Piano Concerto. Why do you enjoy working with this particular orchestra so much?

Peter Ash (The London Schools Symphony Orchestra’s Artistic Director) is an old friend, and there's always something to learn from people who know us well. Also, the orchestra's always been fantastic! 


2. Do you find it more rewarding to work and perform with young musicians?

There is the particular atmosphere of working with a youth orchestra - the freshness of everybody's motivation, and a feeling that we are all also there to have a great time! You get the sense that life is too short for three hours of dull rehearsing, and that we will all only settle for an unforgettable concert!


3. In your role as teacher at the Royal Flemish Conservatoire in Brussels, what is the most important lesson you teach about performance?

As a teacher, you have various roles to play, and many important values to impart. Some of these include being serious about what you do and working hard (there is no escape!), being sincere, understanding that beauty comes in many guises, and cultivating the right kind of ambition.


4. What are the most important things for young musicians to consider when choosing new repertoire?

I'd say that working on new repertoire ought to be rather like travelling to a much-desired destination. Also - challenge yourself, you're young and this is the time your learning capacities are at their best!

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5. How do you approach a particularly gruelling rehearsal session?

Unfortunately, I enjoy rehearsing; try not to be hung-over...


6.  How would you recommend young pianists deal with the pressure of performing to a large audience for the first time?

Play the pieces through as much as possible. Perform for friends, family, and at least one person that you have never met, which will make it much harder.


7. The London Schools Symphony Orchestra offer equal access bursaries to give opportunities to children of all backgrounds. How do you believe we can further make music education accessible to young people?

My impression is that we need to work towards an environment where people need, and wish to make music on a daily basis, instead of escaping a gruelling reality. I also think that identity politics can be a dangerous distraction from the violence of our increasingly polarised societies. 


8. What one piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

One would probably be not to leave your home country, to try and make a difference in the place that you were brought up in. Had I stayed, however, this last answer may have been rather different!


Rhapsody and Concertos

London SchoolsSymphony Orchestra with Aleksandar Madzar

Monday 17 September 2018


Barbican Hall, London