Alejandra Cifuentes has been playing since she was five years old

"Classical music has a special way of saying things, emotions and stories that are not obvious" says pianist Alejandra Cifuentes

The 31-year-old pianist, born in Montreal to Chilean immigrants, will perform next Saturday, September 29 at the Marie Reine de la Paix Church in Pierrefonds. Since

Sergio Martinez


that will be an opportunity for many of our readers to listen to this local musician, learning about her views on music and her career is also interesting.

Q.- What were your first contacts with classical music and in particular with the piano?

A.- I remember when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old, I went to Place des Arts with my mom to see some lady singing. I don't remember what music she sang but somehow that was a defining moment in my life. At around that same age, I received a miniature baby grand piano as a toy. It sounded very metallic but I remember the shape of the instrument and I loved it instantly. My mother says she used to listen to classical music when she was pregnant with me, maybe that left a mark in my subconscious too.

Q.- Why classical music and no other genres like jazz or pop?

A.- I don't know myself why classical music has had such an enormous importance in my life, more than jazz or pop. It seems to mean more to me than any other genre. Classical music has a special way of saying things, emotions and stories that are not obvious. It's all so imaginative and personal and somehow that's the part I love most about classical music. You can say so much without being evident.You can share experiences that have been felt by other people, in other eras, in other countries, without saying anything concrete, but at the same time, saying everything that words are incapable of expressing.

Q.- What have been some of the main difficulties for a young musician like you to find a place in the classical music scene?

A.- Montreal is such a great city, so many cultural activities, so many amazing artists,so many venues available. It's hard for the public to know what to see, who to listen to, what's good and what's not that good.Every year so many students finish

Piano Recitals by Candlelight contribute to make Alejandra known

their studies and want to get on Montreal's biggest stages. Unfortunately, the artistic world is very small. For people like me, who don't have a big name yet, it's very hard to convince a large audience to come to their concerts. Usually people will go see names that are internationally known, that way they are confident that it will be a good show. That doesn't help the younger generations find their place. But with hard work, determination and specially lots and lots of patience, we can all find our position in the artistic sphere. I have been playing and organizing concerts for the past 15 years and it never gets easier.

Q.- And what have been your main satisfactions?

A.- I have had many satisfying moments in my musical career.The first time I got a 1st prize in a competition. My first concert contract. The first time I played with an orchestra (in Algeria).The first time I played at the Moscow Conservatory. When my album was released and played on the radio. Every single hand clapping during concerts, those are the most satisfactory moments in my musical career...even more when standing ovations occur!

Q.- Any advice for young musicians starting their careers?

A.- Music is a beautiful thing, it also involves travelling, meeting new people, learning new pieces. Classical music is one of the rare things in this world that has preserved its beauty and truthfulness. But to work as a musician is very hard. It's hard to make people realize that it's a job that it is worth something, the time and energy spent on it is not only for fun but for work. Besides that, we must be open to criticism and flexible to want to try new things, play with a new method, search for our sound and be very aware that this does not happen from one day to the next, it's a very long road but a nice one for sure!

Alejandra will be playing on September 29, at the Marie Reine de la Paix Church in Pierrefonds (11075 Gouin West), at 8 p.m. For more information visit: or:

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* SEPTEMBER 22, 2012 9

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