Artwork Ensemble has been active on the German music stages for several years. The ensemble performs contemporary music and takes part in different music projects in Germany and around Europe. The members of the ensemble are two pianists and two percussionists. Artwork Ensemble performed at a concert during “Days of Macedonian Music” event, playing works by famous international and Macedonian composers. We are talking with Hajdi Elzeser, a founder and a member of Artwork Ensemble.
D.P. Tell us something about your own background?
H.E. I was born in Skopje where I also studied piano at the Faculty of Music. Parallel to my studies in Macedonia I was studying in Paris for some years. Afterwards I worked for a few years as an assistant at the Faculty in Skopje, but than I got the feeling that I had to continue my education. So I moved to Germany, in a little town named Detmold which has a great Music Academy (Hochschule).There I finished graduate studies in piano. For some time I worked in Detmold as an assistant of my professor, but I also got a lecture position for piano accompaniment at the same institution. During all that time, I have been giving concerts of all kind all around Europe – recitals and chamber music concerts with different musicians. Exploring new musical worlds and sharing them with the other people is very important to me.
#1 D.P. Tell us about the Artwork Ensemble. What was the idea and how it was formed, as well as its raison d’être?
H.E. The idea about Artwork Ensemble came somehow spontaneously. Being in Detmold, we all had the opportunity to go to WSC (Work Shop Concerts) of the percussion class of Prof. Peter Prommel. Entering this world for me was a fascinating experience. The Music Academy in Detmold is a relatively conservative musical institution where the emphasis is on classical music. But the world of the percussion class is the world of the music today, all that happens today. The students there are mainly stimulated to be chamber musicians or soloists, and orchestra players. That’s how I discovered a world of sounds that was new to me; I discovered that percussion is not only about rhythm but also about making music, creating unimaginable and wonderful sounds, colors and forms, which can touch the human being extremely deep.
After some time I had the luck to get an offer from Prof. Prommel to start working with the class. I realized that with some of the people I worked, we understand each other very well, so we decided to form an ensemble. Inspired by the Bartok Sonata, we formed an ensemble for two pianos and two percussionists. The idea was to perform pieces of living composers, to promote the music of today, but also to play music from 20th century, in collaboration with other instrumentalists – not necessarily only as a quartet – and perform solo duo and trio pieces as well. In that way a very colorful and versatile concert repertoire is created. It is also attractive for the audience, which is very important.
D.P. Does the ensemble’s playing style change along with the repertoire?
H.E. I don’t think so. The playing style generally remains, or eventually changes according to the nature and the need of the piece that is performed.
D.P. How do you all adjust your different playing styles to one another and achieve homogeneity and integration?
H.E. That’s the reason why is it very difficult to find musical partners. It is not about different playing styles, it is about different musical nature, or personalities. In music it’s exactly as it is in life: you meet someone, you get to know the person, you try to develop a contact, for days, months, but somehow the communication remains dry and boring, uncreative. Or, you meet someone, you know this person for few hours, but you have the feeling that you have a lot to exchange, to say to each other as if you know each other for years. In and through music we communicate on another, different level that is more subtle and more direct. And that is something that either happens or not. It is, or, it is not.
D.P. How do you select the works for your concerts?
H.E. We choose the repertoire we play either according to the concert on which we are supposed to play, or, simply, we choose to play a piece that we like. At the “Days of Macedonian Music” we performed Bells by G. Kolarovski.
D.P. How do you balance the need to put your personal “note” into the music you play with the invention of the composer who wrote it?
H.E. We are all individuals. No matter how objective we try to be, we see the world thorough our own perspective, having all our personal inherited background behind. That means no matter how objective we try to interpret and perform a piece, there is always a “personal note” within. The bigger the conviction (about the interpretation) – the bigger is the “personal note”. So, in fact there’s no need for putting it at all. It is there anyway.