Edition #46 – Sophia Agranovich answers 7 questions

by | Mar 15, 2023

1. Why are you a musician?

As Beethoven said: “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy; music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.” In my childhood I was lucky to have outstanding teachers: Anna Stolyarevich and Alexander Eidelman—peers of Vladimir Horowitz. Winning Ukrainian Young Artists competition gave me opportunity to perform in many concerts, on radio and TV.

After immigrating to United States at 15, I entered the Juilliard School, studying with legendary professors Sascha Gorodnitzki and Nadia Reisenberg, where I received Bachelor and Master degrees and taught at Juilliard on a Fellowship.

I continued Doctoral studies at the Columbia University, but, in order to raise my family, I became a main bread-winner working 23 years in Computer Technology – the last 7 years of which as a VP/Project Manager. I also received certifications in various Holistic Healing disciplines, as well as in Yoga and Pilates, which I had taught for 2 years. I still practiced piano and gave occasional concerts!

When my children were grown, I went on to concertize, record and teach, resuming musical career: once a musician – always a musician!

2. Who are your musical inspirations?

I find inspiration in nature, theatre, opera, ballet, visual arts, philosophy, literature and poetry. I love music and art from all the time periods and styles, if it is expressive and well-done.

3. What is your practice routine?

In school I practiced 3-6 hours a day. When I started working full time in IT, my teachers gave me a valuable advice: practice no matter how difficult it is to find time and strength.

Playing piano kept me balanced and sane, while joggling demanding job and raising my children. Now I also don’t have a luxury to play as much as I did at Juilliard, but, besides teaching, I manage to keep my technique, learn new repertoire and produce recorded albums.

4. Why did you make this album?

Liszt: Rhapsodies, Études & Transcriptions
By: Sophia Agranovich

I have an affinity to Romantic music in general and Liszt is one of my favorite composers of that period. I had already released the album dedicated to Liszt’s Bicentennial, and some of his major works are on my other two albums. Liszt’s piano compositions considered being the most virtuosic and tremendously complex in all the respects, and all of his works were revolutionary in their impact on our contemporary music-making.

For this recording I selected Liszt’s compositions to represent many aspects of his piano output in 3 main categories. I chose my favorite pieces that happen to be extremely demanding technically and musically, and are rarely performed live.

5. What were the biggest obstacles in making this album?

I always play and record by memory, as it gives more artistic freedom; besides a lot of pieces are simply impossible to play with the score with their jumps in chords and octaves at mercurial speed and changing dynamics and emotions. I had to learn and perfect this repertoire in a very short time. Actually, learning in my mind helped a lot!

6. Who is featured on this album?

  • Joe DeVico – excellent recording engineer

7. Where may we find you online?