Es kommt nicht häufig vor, dass Musiker aus dem Bereich der Klassik auch gern elektrische Gitarre gelernt hätten und mit Bearbeitungen von Songs der britischen Rockband Pink Floyd Klassik – und Rockfans einander näher bringen.
Die türkische Pianistin AyseDeniz ist so eine Musikerin. Sie war neun Jahre alt, als sie ihr Debut mit Werken von Bach gab, vier Jahre später hatte sie bereits zahlreiche Soloauftritte mit mehr als einem Dutzend Orchestern absolviert.
Jetzt hat sich die 27-jährige eine weitere Rocklegende vorgenommen. „Nirvana Project“ heißt das neue Album. Darin widmet sich die Künstlerin den letzten fünf Jahren von Kurt Cobain. Musikalisch verbindet sie dabei Rock, Grunge und klassische Musik.
Feuilletonscout: How would you explain to a Nirvana or respectively to a classic fan what you do?
AyseDeniz: As said by the great conductor Michael Tilson Thomas at Ted Talks, “the raw material of classical music, of course, is just the music of everyday life. But what classical music does is to distill all of these down, to condense them to their absolute essence, and from that essence create a new language, a language that speaks very lovingly and unflinchingly about who we really are. It’s a language that’s still evolving.”
In the Nirvana Project, what I do is to distill down the music and emotions of Kurt Cobain, and re-tell those feelings through the language of the piano. It’s not about imitating the music, but about creating my own way of expression, using the melodies of his songs.
Feuilletonscout: How do the different „camps“ react to your music?
AyseDeniz: First of all, my music is not for purists, because purists are against change. Yet, those who have open minds understand the aim of the project, and they really like it.
What gives me the most pleasure is when I hear a Nirvana fan telling me he now likes classical music, or vice versa. That means my mission to unite audiences is being successful.
Feuilletonscout: How and when did you become acquainted with Kurt Cobain’s music?
AyseDeniz: I was a teenager when I used to listen to Nirvana – they were very popular in my middle school. But I did not understand who Kurt Cobain was until I grew up. Behind the distorted guitars and power 5ths, there is a super sensitive human being, a feminist and a great guy who struggled with a lot of pressure coming from the music industry and media.
Feuilletonscout: What fascinates you about the person and the artist Kurt Cobain?
AyseDeniz: I started learning more about Kurt through his journals. There is so much information in there, that ranges from his childhood to adulthood. He was against racism, consumer culture, pressure to be perfect in the eyes of the society, and gender inequality. His drawings and sketches are a proof of how creative and talented he was. It was all surprising to see, especially because most of the media attention focuses on his death instead of who he was as a human being and what his messages were.
Feuilletonscout: How did you come to grips with – and revise – Kurt Cobain’s pieces of music?
AyseDeniz:I just began playing with the chord progressions and the intervals of notes in the melodies, trying to link them to classical music that I have played before. For example, In Bloom is very much Prokofiev inspired, as he used similar chords and passages in his First Piano Concerto and his Romeo & Juliet.
The album also includes my own composition, telling the story of the last 5 years of Kurt, which includes sounds that symbolize his heartbeats, movements, and emotional ups and downs.
Feuilletonscout: You peregrinate between worlds, mix rock and grunge with electronic and classic music. Would you have liked to have been a rock musician?
AyseDeniz: I would have loved to play the electric guitar. But besides that, the history of keyboard literature is so vast, that no other instrument can surpass the amount of different works of music you are provided with. Being a classical pianist, you can play basically the music of hundreds of years that has originally been written for your instrument. This gives me a huge resource to be inspired from.
Feuilletonscout: You present the „Nirvana Project“ on stage with an unusual choreography in which dance also advects. Was it not a gamble to produce the CD without images? Is there not a decisive component missing?
AyseDeniz: The project is actually a portable, flexible performance that works in any venue, in any combination. My aim was to be able to reach to wider audiences, and go to wherever they might be, including formal halls, to night clubs, to dance festivals. If they want me to play only classical versions, those are ready. If they want a more young, late night show I bring Ivan Shopov as a guest electronic artist/DJ. If they want a musical show, Ekin dances the emotions of Kurt Cobain and provides a visual guide to the listeners. The album, however, is the core of it all. Both electronic beats and dance came later to emphases the emotions and the storyline.
Feuilletonscout: What comes next, after Pink Floyd and now Kurt Cobain?
AyseDeniz: I have just started doing Coldplay arrangements. This is a great project that I am very excited about, as it won’t just include their songs but also my first minimalist compositions inspired by Coldplay.
Vielen Dank für das Gespäch, AyseDeniz!
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