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Piano Recital by Luka Okros

By Mariam Chanishvili
Friday, April 20
Piano Recital of the London-based Georgian pianist Luka Okros took place at the Grand Hall of the Tbilisi State Conservatoire on April 13.

Luka performed Prokofiev - Sonata Number 3, Op. 28 in A minor, Rachmaninov - Six Musical Moments, Op.16 and four Ballades by Chopin.

Born in 1991 (Tbilisi, Georgia), he began his piano studies at the age of 4. At the age of 5 Luka gave his first public performance and at 6 he made his debut with the Tbilisi State Orchestra under Revaz Takidze.

In 2013, Luka Okros graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. In the same year, he was awarded a full scholarship for a Master’s degree at the Royal College of Music in London.

His awards in international competitions include first prizes at the Hannover Chopin International Piano Competition (2017), Hong Kong International Piano Competition (2016), Morocco Philharmonic International Piano Competition (2016), Cergy Pontoise Piano Campus Competition (2015), and Iturbi Prize at the Valencia International Piano Competition (2015).

Luka Okros’s CD of works by Schumann was released on DiscAuverS Records and presented in Paris Salle Cortot in Autumn 2016.

The Messenger had an opportunity to interview Luka Okros.

What are your upcoming plans?

-My next trip is to Valencia, and then I am going to Dublin. The major thing is coming up in June –I’ll give a debut recital at the Het Concertgebouw of Amsterdam.

This year is quite busy with European trips, however in September, I am going back to Asia, I will have several performances in Hong Kong and a big debut in Singapore, at the Victoria Hall.

Before that I am going to Budapest, Hannover and Warsaw. I have never been to the birthplace of Chopin and it is actually very interesting to see how and where he lived before he left Poland.

I will have several concerts in the UK as well.

Are you going to offer the audience a new program?

The Chopin program I performed in Tbilisi is new and I am going to Valencia with the similar program. Most of my program consists of romantic composers.

Rachmaninov is my favorite one and I can assure you that his works will remain in the program.

The trips are quite tight this year in Europe and they ask to provide the program 7-8 month in advance. The program is already printed, so it is difficult to change things. But I already have some ideas for the upcoming season. Let me keep it as a secret for a while.

How has your popularity grown recently?

I’d say that it has grown gradually, because there is no success without hard work and passion.

I am doing a lot of work with social network. The amount of my Instagram followers has definitely grown a lot. Social media brings a lot of people together.

Even though the classical music is considered to be listened to among people of older age and by “fancy” people, I can assure you it is not true. As soon as you get to know a bit and gradually listen to more difficult pieces, you fall in love with it and it becomes a part of your life. It is all about gathering people and presenting it properly. It’s very important to try to present a program for both, professionals and those who might be listening to the classical music for the first time.

I am very happy to see new young faces attending my concert each time, including this one in Tbilisi.

Since 2016, I talk and introduce a piece before performing it. The audience has to know what I am playing about. It gives them quite different views and emotions. Music is a language which anyone can understand.

Which composers have influenced you throughout your career? You already mentioned Rachmaninov…

Rachmaninov has had a huge impact on me. My favorite composers are Rachmaninov, Chopin and Schumann. Schumann always makes me think with emotions, Chopin invokes heartbreaking and dramatic emotions and feelings, while Rachmaninov fills me with depth and new discoveries.

Beethoven has influenced me a lot of course, but I prefer to listen to him, rather than playing his music. You need some time to reach his philosophical level. Beethoven is the beginning of everything, which connects romantic and classical music.

What challenges did you have to face throughout your career? I think it would be a great advice for the future musicians…

You should have a very strong character in any profession. Another rule is – Never give up! There are many cases when you think you’re done. If you never give up, you will eventually get to the point.

All of it is about fighting for what you want to achieve. Being talented means bigger responsibility. Everyone expects more from you in default.

I would recommend reading more, getting to know the theatre, history. Musicians speak through their music. If you only stick to the piano for 9 hours a day and have nothing to say, it’s useless.

You have to have a full life with love, hate, friendship, enemies…

Otherwise it’s just notes. Anyone can play notes.

On a daily basis, how much time to you spend practicing?

I spend about 4-5 hours practicing. Except for the piano, I have a lot of paperwork to do.

London has taught me to be well-prepared in organizing things. Besides, it is very important to be accessible and communicate with public.

And the last question, what is the definition of success for you?

I would say, it is a combination of talent, hard work and luck. It is very important to be on the right time, in the right place. Something incredible might happen. Luck is really important, but as one said “fortune favors the prepared mind”.