Interview mit Vassilena Serafimova

geführt von Evgeniya Kavaldzhieva
(Siehe auch: Deutsche Übersetzung)
First of all I would like to congratulate you on your recent success - your price at ARD Competition. How do you feel after such a great effort?
If I tell you that I feel happy, maybe it won't be enough to express what I feel after this price. It was just a dream for me to participate in ARD Competition and now I realise that I made my dream happen.
It is great to see that the hard work that I did during this summer and the strong wishes gave me the pleasure to be one of the finalists and the pricewinners... I think that it was a precious experience for me and will never forget the feeling I had on the stage. The competition was organized perfectly - the staff made everything to make us feel comfortable, the competition's tours were in very good halls, all the concerts and the grand final were in two of the biggest halls in Munich, the audience - everytime enthusiastic and numerous, so it was wonderful to play there!!!
You are just 22 years old and you already have such a rich experience. Can we turn a little bit back and take a look at the beginning - when did you start playing percussions/marimba and why did you choose exactly this part of music?
It is not so difficult to explain the reason and maybe not so original... :)))) My father Simeon Serafimov is a professor in percussions and my mother is a professor in music analysis and polyphony, so I was born in a family of musicians and I have grown up praticly more in the music high school than at home... First I decided to play the violin. But after I lost my passion about this instrument I started to play alone, without telling my father, on the xylophone of my sister, also percussionist at this time... One month later I asked papa to listen to me... He told me "Next year you start to study percussion, if you want..." I was 7 years old. Since that time I have been studying percussion with all the love that I do...
What is it like to work professionally with somebody from your family?
Yeah... sometimes I miss that time :) hmm... it was of course difficult sometimes, but my father is a great pedagogue :) Maybe it is not so easy to say this as his daughter but I really think that. First of all he taught all of us with humanity values, the percussionists in the class were my friends, my "family". And second - my father has always given us the courage and helped us to participate in the concerts, festivals, competitions and master classes. He wanted to give us all possible information (something not so easy in Bulgaria at that time), but the most important is that he gave us the love and the strong will to play. Then we did the rest :) Of course I would like to say the he also created the Percussion ensemble Accent with help of my mother who made most of the arrangements for us, so with this ensemble I have been playing during 10 years already, and that gave me/us the chance to be all the time on the stage... There were a lot of percussionists, well known already, who played in Accent - Svetoslav Stoyanov, Georgy and Vladislav Varbanov, Vladimir Petrov, etc... So, yes, honestly said - it was the biggest chance that I have ever had! :)))
Recently you are living and studying in Paris. How long have you been there?
In 2003 I won the Grand Prix at the international competition "Music and the Earth" in Sofia, as well as First price with Percussion ensemble Accent... The ensemble has also received the special price of Chantal Stigliani, a great pianist as well as artistic director of the association Philomuses - 3 concerts in Paris for the summer 2004. That was the year that I graduated from the music high school in Pleven so I wanted to continue study abroad. In the summer of 2004 we made a tour in Austria, Germany and Paris. During the tour I've done the admission exams in the Hochschule in Munchen. I haven't succeeded on the exam and I was quite disappointed but our tour continued to Paris. Coming here I fell immediatelly in love with the spirit of the city... Later Chantal Stigliani told me that I still had the opportunity to apply and continue my studies with one of the best professors in France - Sylvio Gualda. Two months later I was already a student in his class. That is how I came here. So, I would like to give all my special thanks and my gratitude to Chantal Stigliani and her husband Haris Kanatsulis.
In the year 2006 you received three special prices at the International Marimba Competition in Linz, Austria. Was that your first international participation?
Yes and no... I have made some international competitions, but in Bulgaria, so it was the first international competition abroad for me. I was so happy to do this competition, it was really a beautiful experience. But it was quite difficult to believe in myself during the preparation.
Just few months after the Linz Competition you got another price, 2nd place at the International Marimba Competition in Paris. What sort of preparation program does a person need in order to succeed at two such hard competitions?
You have to be crazy enough :))) And to love the music and the instrument... I remember that after the Linz competition, the Accent ensemble came to Linz by bus because we had some concerts in France immediately after the final there. So they came to pick me and Vladi (Vladimir Petrov) up for the rehearsals the day after. During this period I have read in the internet about the competition in Paris. The programme was completely different and I had played only two of the pieces before. So I told myself - "This is a good reason to work on some new pieces, Vassi!". After the concerts with Accent I took some vacation and in October I started the preparation...
Let us go back to the ARD Competition. What comes after such a success - do you have a lot of concert opportunities or different future engagements?
Yes, some concerts in Paris, but honestly said I don't have concert invitations abroad now. I really hope to have this chance one day.
Tell us please, what are your future general plans?
To try to do some beautiful music!!! :)
Thank you very much for the interview and all the best!
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