Pianist Ana – Marija Markovina is one of the few musicians whose performances remain as a permanent record in the memory. Her perfomances give you the experience of fullness that music can provide. It seems like its open some unidentified window located high above of many, which can be reached only by extraordinary, inspired played music, that exceed mostly technical and dinamic perfect performances.
First of all, Ana – Marija Markovina is an artist of exceptional musicality, power, energy, and virtuoso technique, with an impeccable craft in every tone and phrase, rounded and prominent theme. By extremely extroverted performing, she does not leave anything obscure, or unclear. Compositions become clear. Her free approach and courage in her way of interpretation with particularly pronounced dynamic accents, correctly identified, encircle and give special dynamics to performed pieces. That brings freshness and moves the audience.
In the concert, regardless of whose works are performed, she reveals with her interpretation that classic music is not a project of another time. She makes every music peace alive, magically keeping the audience concentrated and fulfilled.
Ana – Marija Markovina is exceptional also as a performer of lesser known or completely unknown works. She recorded and released albums with the complete works of Louis Adolph de Beau and Anton Urspruch, the student of Franz Liszt. She recorded the complete piano works of Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach on 26 CDs. They were released in February 2014 to mark the composer’s 300 th birthday. Ana- Marija Markovina has received the prestigious German Award Schallplattenkritik for her album with the complete piano works of Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach
In the interview I conducted with Ana – Marija Markovina early November 2014
she told me that it was her own idea to perform those composers, as well as to research them collecting data and literature about them.
Ana – Marija Markovina: “I do a lot of research, read biographies and investigate the archives where I always find a new name. In this way I get ideas what to perform. I did this in the case of Louis Adolphe de Beau and Anton Urspruch”.
Jasna Lovrinčević: “When you study one composer, do you start with his/her work or with his/her biography?”
Ana – Marija Markovina: It is mutually emphasized. At Urspruch I had started from the
music, and then I studied biography, where I found all confirmed about what I previousely had thought. I called his granddaughter, Weronika Kirche who lives in Münster and asked her if it was true that Anton Urspruch (her grandfather) was such and such and she said: “Yes, that’s true, he used to be alike… How did you find it?” Once can conclud a lot psychological elements from the music. Of course, the more I know about the person and his time I can more understand how the piece was written. Everything goes as a spiral.”
This meticulous approach to better understanding music pieces results in Markovina’s extremely convincing interpretation.
Ana – Marija Markovina has a wide repertory. She has performed almost all the works of the piano literature. It was interesting to hear why she decided to record one of Liszt’s students.
Jasna Lovrinčević: “Have you been atracted by the virtuosity of his opus?”
Ana – Marija Markovina: “I love to play Liszt because I believe that all his works are nice to play and listen to. That suits me very much. But there are many composers who came after him, and no one knows them. I feel a little bit like a lawyer who works against this ” musical Darwinism” in the world ; the most played pieces are the most known – the more we know a piece, the more we play it. But there are so many treasures beside these great and unique composers that I think the world deserves to listen to them as well. I like to listen and play something that I do not know. Anton Urspruch was Liszt’s most important student and he has written tremendously difficult pieces. I love to “sport” his virtuosity. I cannot say that I do not like it.”
Ana-Marija Markovina often has a concert, sometimes two concerts in a week. They are usually different concert programs.
Jasna Lovrinčević:” You have a lot of performances, recordings, theoretical work. I assume that you do not need a lot of exercise ?”
Ana – Marija Markovina:”I have a weekly practice-rate, but I don’t need too much practicing. I play non-stop. I live with it. I am preparing myself for concerts, this is normal, but it is not like when I was a small girl or a very young student that I needed to acquire some technics. It is all in a system. I have no technical limitations, I only have to learn the new notes, it is my daily work. I think I have played over 2000 solo concerts. I learn a new text very fast and memorize it very quickly. It is already from my childhood a small award for me; for that I do not need a lot of time to memorize the text.. The first movement of Mozart’s concerto (no. 12 in A Major KV) 414, I have memorized it in three and half hours It is not a lot, but then it begins the serious work.” (This concert and Concerto in D minor, Wq. 23 of Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach , Markovina played as a soloist with the Klassische Philharmonie Bonn during the great German tour in November 2014 just when we had our interview.)
Jasna Lovrinčević: “When you are on stage one has the feeling that you are completely relaxed with no stress.”
Ana – Marija Markovina:” Yes. I do’t feel any tension.”
During the year of 2014, Ana Marija Markovina had an intense program with many performances, concerts and master classes. In March at the Senate in Hamburg she held her album promotion with works of Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach. In September, she opened the gala concert in the concert hall at the German Embassy in Washington and had two tours with the master classes. In June she performed in Uzbekistan and in March in Central America. In November 2014, as a soloist of the Klassische Philharmonie Bonn she held a series of concert all over Germany including concerts in Hamburg and Cologne in addition to the German tour.
Ana – Marija Markovina is quite concentrated and completely dedicated to her performing despite the constant concert and pedagogical engagements, research, travel, and the care and upbringing of her daughter.
Jasna Lovrinčević: “You seem completely concentrated and dedicated during your performances? ”
Ana – Marija Markovina: “Of course, it’s a strange mix. In one way I repose during the concert , and on onother side I become very tired, what I usually feel on the following day, but at concert (that moment), the concentration is like that one of Zen Buddhism.”
The First Book
At the beginning of next year, Ana Marija Markovina said she would focus on writing and publishing her first book in which she shall gather her pedagogical experience and were she will also write about the importance of playing an instrument.
Ana-Marija Markovina: “I have a lot to say. I know that certain things have a good impact, for example with students to whom I give piano master classes. There are things that can directly help them and it is pity and difficult to keep them only for myself. I had started to write down notes and then an idea to write a book arise. That was three and a half years ago. The concept for the book had already been done, and then I became pregnant, I founded my agency, I gave the concerts and recorded the albums so there was no time to write a book..
Since January 2015 I’ll take a few months free to write the book. I willl do it together with my husband. There are many different aspects in the book. There are a lot of aspects when playing an instrument. That is simply good; good for the spirit, good for the body, good for the mind, good for the soul. I would like to motivate everyone who I can approach to sit down again at the piano and start to deal with the music. I am of the opinion that one can not do something better for his or her own spirit. I also would like to write about why we do not listen any more to contemporary music. Why contemporary art is popular, and music is not, why is humanity at all turning away from classical music, why we can no longer listen to an hour of music fully concentrated and so on. If two or three persons start playing the piano (inspired after reading my book) then I will attain what I want to achieve. Also I have collected a lot of conclusions about what one can learn from playing a musical instrument; like understanding his or her own life and about how we treat ourselves, what happens in the brain during the music pause and etc.. Olso, is it a break in the music a living matter or a black hole, what is the pulse, how do we divide the day, what are our expectations, what happens when the plans are not real…..I have so many practical things … it’s time to write it.”
Jasna Lovrinčević: “Frederic Chopin also wrote some kind of practical inctructions for good performances?”
Ana – Marija Markovina: “Chopin and Schumann were both enlightened. They had a tremendous knowledge.. It’s always the question: why do we start something new when everything has been already done?. I still think that maybe I could describe it in one easy way, and with a contemporary approach.”
Jasna Lovrinčević: “When would you like to finish your book?”
Ana Marija Markovina: “I would like to finish the book in the summer. All about the book is very challenging. After publishing the book I am going to do a new recording of Urspruch, one great project of Mozart and much more… ”
Music in Villa Henn
Ana – Marija Markovina brings music to the audience in a very nice way. Together with her husband, prof. dr. Helmuth Reuter, she regularly organizes concerts and scientific lectures in the great hall of their Villa Henn in Cologne.
Jasna Lovrinčević: “When did you begin with the series of music and lectures in Villa Henn?”
Ana Marija -Markovina: “Wir started spontaneously last year. Our house is inside and outside a protected monument. It has a lovely hall, so we spontaneously decided to do it our way, with our own approach and point of view of what culture should be, and respectively reviving an old saloon culture. We started with programs for our friends last year. There were so many requests that we decided to continue. Television channel WDR has provided one hour coverage about the work in Villa Henn. People like to come. It is free of charge. We do not charge entrance fees, if someone wants to voluntarily make a donation, then the donation is welcome, and the money goes for artists, or for lectures or charity. Free of charge, “Croatian croissant” and some wine, a small talk and discussions, it is part of the old culture. It is a place where there is still more time and space for reflection.”
Ana Marija -Markovina together with Prof. Dr. Helmuth Reuter prepare and hold a series of lectures entitled “Music and Psychology”, about the cultural and psychological significance of music in the spirit of times.
Ana Marija -Markovina: “This is something what we really love to do. In fact it is not self-evident what you can find in one piece of music, it has to be explained. People do not know any more, they don’t get any more that knowledge from the parental home or from the school. We should know something about music in order to understand it.”
Jasna Lovrinčević: “What does it mean for you your whole musical involvement?”
Ana Marija-Markovina: “It is something that allows me to grow.”