Ahead of tomorrow night's concert at the Queensland Conservatorium Theatre, we spoke with pianist Alex Raineri to learn how he fell in love with the instrument, his musical role models, who he would love to collaborate with from outside the chamber music world, and more.
Learn about Alex and be sure to book tickets to see him alongside Sofia Troncoso and Patrick Nolan tomorrow evening.
When did you first start learning the piano? Was it something you fell in love with straightaway?
I’ve been playing piano for 25 years, I started when I was 3 years old. I honestly don’t recall my relationship with the instrument when I was that young! I definitely built a head-over-heels situation through my teenage years and it burns bright to this day.
If you weren’t a pianist, which instrument would you have liked to specialise in and why?
I’m such a nerd. I love piano, and double on harpsichord whenever there’s a professional reason to do so (I want to buy my own one day, my neighbours aren’t looking forward to it). If I had to pick another instrument, classical guitar hits different, but I don’t think I’m cut out for the nail-care.
Who would you consider your pianist role models and why?
Fight me on this, I don’t think its healthy to idolise artists that have exactly the same job description as you. You can’t form individuality if you’re obsessed with how someone else is operating, there’s always going to be some aspect of follow-the-leader. Having said that, pianists who I could listen to forever include; Mitsuko Uchida, Radu Lupu, Sviatoslav Richter, Grigory Sokolov, Yuja Wang, Angela Hewitt, and so many more.
What’s the one piece of music, across any genre, that you haven’t been able to get out of your head recently?
Solid tie between Sofia Gubaidulina’s Chaconne and Elle King/Miranda Lambert’s Drunk (And I Don’t Wannna Go Home).
Is there a particular piece of piano music that you’re working on at the moment?
The solo numbers for this show…! I’m playing some Chopin and Szymanowski Preludes which are so beautiful.
If you had to collaborate with a non-classical artist, who would it be and what would you do?
My list is way too long. I’ve been doing more and more crossover work in the past couple of years and am loving the opportunity to grow aspects of my musicianship that aren’t particularly ‘classical’. I can’t think of a specific artist, though I have a particular soft spot for acoustic country music…
What’s the one piece of advice that you’ve returned to throughout your career?
Like most, my life and career has been a tapestry of ups and downs and I’ve had many amazing mentor figures in my journey. I don’t have fridge-magnet mantras that I refer to daily, the work is inspiring enough.
And what piece of advice would you give to young musicians?
Don’t abuse the comfort of studying, challenge yourself daily. Interrogate your comfort zones but also be kind to yourself. Only ever compete with yesterday-you.
Join us in the concert hall tomorrow night and watch Patrick Nolan, Sofia Troncoso and Alex Raineri perform works from Chopin, Debussy, Ravel and many more. Book your tickets here.