Ask Deniz Türkmen




Number of questions: 12

What is the most difficult concerto for you?

Deniz Türkmen: Of course the concertos by masters like Rachmaninoff, Ravel or Brahms are at a very high level, but for me Scriabin's concerto is the most difficult to interpret.

Which of Chopin's etudes is the easiest for you?

Deniz Türkmen: Each etude has its own difficulty, but for me the easiest is the octave etude. Many people can never believe their ears when I say that, but everyone is different. Playing fast octaves is like resting for me.

How do you start a new composition?

Deniz Türkmen: There is always something in my mind. For example, when I see a beautiful landscape, I am immediately inspired and I play the piano in my imagination. I love that feeling of inspiration!

Are there any of your own works that push yourself to the limit?

Deniz Türkmen: My composition "Poems", which is also known as the 2nd piano sonata, brings me to my limit - I have never performed it publicly. It is a work that makes me sweat a lot!

Are there pianists who still inspire you today?

Deniz Türkmen: There are many. I like to hear 20th century recordings by Rubinstein, Horowitz, Sofronitsky, Cortot, Gieseking - I could now list a number of legends.

Is there something like a best or right interpretation for you?

Deniz Türkmen: No, definitely not! Horowitz, for example, recorded Chopin's 2nd piano sonata so often - each recording is so different in tempo and dynamics. This is what makes the music so unique. You may have lost a loved one and now play some passages more thoughtfully and sensitively. Or you had a stressful day and now play some passages more energetically and aggressively. Everything that happens in life also affects how you play.

I like to play the piano, cello and violin. Should I continue playing all 3 instruments or choose one to professionalize it?
Deniz Türkmen: You have to differentiate between 'playing an instrument' and 'living an instrument'. The question is: What do you want to achieve? For example, if you want to perform Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto at Carnegie Hall, you should give your heart to the violin. If you want to be a common musician, you can continue playing all 3 instruments.

How did you discover your love for composing?
Deniz Türkmen: As a child and teenager I composed only for fun and curiosity. When I got older and performed here and there as a concert pianist, I sometimes felt like a record player playing works by Beethoven, Chopin or Rachmaninoff. So I started adding some of my own compositions to my concert programs. A highlight was when the audience got up and clapped when I premiered my 'Grand Sonata', it was a nice feeling because I knew it was a work by me and not by another composer. Composing is like breathing for me now.

Your last album has been heard 100,000 times in such a short time. How do you manage to assert yourself as a classical musician in this hard music branch full of rock and pop music?
Deniz Türkmen: My motto is always: Create something new. I found out a few years ago that Turkish and Azerbaijani art music hadn't been arranged much for piano yet, so I did it. When my album came out it was very popular because there was no such thing before. My album even hit the charts.

Do I need an academic music degree these days to start a successful music career?
Deniz Türkmen: No, I know a lot of musicians with no academic training who have a more successful career than those with an academic degree. You should never rely on a piece of paper. In the end, it all depends on your skills.

What is the best way to learn a new piece?
Deniz Türkmen: The most important thing is that you learn it effectively with full attention and concentration. You should always use time effectively in life. Most people always have excuses to postpone something to another day. What others need 8 hours for, you can do in 2 hours, discipline is everything.

I am currently experiencing a low point in my music career, how should I deal with it?
Deniz Türkmen: There are always ups and downs in a career, you should never get emotional, it could make things worse. Emotionality is the enemy of a successful career.