I was born in Caracas from parent sensitive to the arts. My father was a polemic writer who had a ‘not too easy’ life. Sadly he died in 2000 at the age of 64. My mother raised my sister Valentina, (fashion designer), and I in the best possible way that a mother can: with lots of love, sacrificing her time, and taking me to music school from when I was 7. I had a great childhood, fantastic and fun (although strict) training at the Conservatorio Juan José Landaeta, located in a beautiful old villa in a ‘posh’ residential area of the city. There were some good old grand pianos and a lovely smell of polished woods and exotic plants. There was a friendly atmosphere and apart from my very elegant piano teacher -Guiomar Narváez- my harmony teacher was composer Angel Sauce, who also directed the place. When I was seventeen I won a scholarship to come to the Royal College of Music of London and I spent a year at the Junior Department (where I now teach) and six at the senior. There I met a ‘fairy of the piano’. She had met Ravel ,when she was in her teens, she had had Rachmaninov amongst her close acquaintances, she was sweet, very intelligent and had the highest standards in piano playing I have ever come across. Her name: Phyllis Sellick, an English rose.
Paul Badura-Skoda, Regina Smendzianka and Niel Immelman have also inspired me with their knowledge of piano playing.
Travelling, to play concerts, is a fantastic experience, but it can also be a bit daunting; the music you play and love in your house might not be what people of different cultures might like, or so I used to think. Going to India, Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, Egypt to play mixtures of the traditional European and Venezuelan music used to worry me a little, but now I know that people everywhere are eager and happy to receive it. It has been exactly the same reaction in both the European countries and in Venezuela where I have played. I enjoy performing solo recitals, as well as being a soloist with an orchestra, playing with the fun and incredibly musical El Cuarteto ensemble, with actors Karin Fernald and Alberto Rowinski in productions of our own: “Liszt in petticoats” (dedicated to Teresa Carreño) and “Con-cierto humor”.
I have a dream of putting on the Passionate Life of Isaac Albeniz, a script written by Trader Faulkner.
I have enjoyed, immensely, recording my five Venezuelan music CDs, but also it was very fulfilling, recording a CD of late piano music by Chopin, and the piano music by Ernesto Lecuona. There are CDs of music by Rachmaninov, Liszt and Mediterranean music in the pipeline.
Another of the activities I have undertaken is participating in interviews on the radio; the programme In Tune on BBC 3 is one of the more nerve racking programmes to do because one both plays, and talks ‘live’ on it! The last broadcast I did was particularly beautiful, because the other person appearing on it was the lovely mezzo-soprano, Sophie Van Otter.
Between 1993 and 1998 I founded and directed a Music Festival in Caracas at the Teatro San Martín. This was very rewarding, as it was wonderful to see the project really come to life, in an area of Caracas where before there had not been any music.
In London I have played nine solo recitals at Southbank Centre, a few others at the Wigmore and a number of concertos at St. John’s, Smith Square, (including Ravel in G, Rach 3, Nights in the Gardens of Spain and Federico Ruiz’s Second piano concerto - which you can hear on youtube.
Ah! My 13 years old has created a youtube channel for me called Venpianista where you will be welcome to listen to some playing of mine, live and from my CDs.
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