I and the Minotaur, Eikones Bd. 89, 16.07.1986
… The interpreter should
always put his own thoughts and worries within the music, without
though, taking advantage of the composer. Otherwise the perfect
recording would have already existed without us needing to listen to
The composer draws the basic lines and the interpreter fills these
in, but one cannot express things that don’t fit within these
border-lines. In our music schools we learn to play a piece
accurately. This turns to be quite monotone; it is what we call
I would like to listen to someone playing who really has something
to say to me: saying something like: “this is what I do because I
quite believe in this.”
And because we live in a society in which everything is more or less
being reproduced, we do need this kind of people. Someone who works
seriously and knows really what he is doing is always right. …
Q: What about the
symphony orchestra of Cyprus? Could you picture yourself offering
your services in this project?
A: I could even take over as a conductor, provided that the work
will be done properly. The realization of a symphonic orchestra
should not be based upon bad terms and conditions. An orchestra like
that should have to be very good from the very beginning so that it
could be going on tours and staged abroad as well.
… I always encourage
the good ones (artists), not just Cypriots. This happens with other
foreign colleagues as well. Managers and companies are often
interested in just an image, if you are handsome, or if you have a
low décolleté… the western society - although it has dominated over
the soviets - is currently undergoing a total moral and spiritual
crisis. Just because now there’s no enemy left and “what are we
going to do without the barbarians now” as Kavafis says?! …
“The sparkle of
creation keeps the human race alive”
Arts are the sum of human experience having the future as a
perspective. That is why they give - besides hope- the noblest
consciousness that is automatically being called as man’s outmost
codex in human behaviour. That is what it is about. What does
knowledge has to offer us or even things like books, music,
philosophy and science if we continue ‘to steel our neighbour’s
hens’? … Our single behaviour gets to be judged as a single act. The
behaviour of us all is more like a political act. Man is a political
being just like Aristotle’s said, which means that although man is a
single being, he still is a part of a whole…
Kypria July-August 1987
… Living is for me a
continuous give and take from a certain society. Maybe I’ll come
back again sometime to Cyprus. But living here doesn’t mean I belong
to Cyprus…Even if I stay ten months in Cyprus and two abroad, I
would consider myself working abroad because there would only be
these two months that would guarantee my survival as a person and as
an artist. Living is for me a continuous give and take from a
society. So, even if I come back to Cyprus, I still wouldn’t be
really ‘living’ here because Cyprus wouldn’t be able to offer me
this possibility…in this continuous cultural battle, it is the
actual state that should have the leading part. And I don’t feel
that I picture myself as part of this state in any way. This doesn’t
mean that all Cypriots living in Cyprus shouldn’t be fighting for
… I consider interpretation as a sort of speech. We don’t just speak
to talk to ourselves but to communicate with others. I don’t agree
with the position ‘what I play is so great that you should try to
reach for me and understand me…’ On the contrary: I think that when
the audience realizes that one reaches for it, making it feel what
one is interpreting, it will then respond, participate and
communicate with the artist.
I would like to mention here an incident that happened in Germany.
Once I was invited to play in a German city with Chick Corea. Back
then, I wasn’t even known in Germany. The concert organization was
more like interested in non-classical music, that is merely in pop-,
jazz-, and generally light music. While we were both playing
together the audience were all talking and fizzling with each other.
Chick Corea played then pop-jazz and the noise went on relentlessly.
I then carried on with classical music: the noise only lasted for
about 1-2 minutes and then there was this perfect silence. Then I
realized that it is not what sort of music you play that counts but
how you play it.
Q: What was the best
review you’ve ever had Nicolas?
A: That was on a concert with Horowitz in Hamburg. I attended the
concert with Martha Argerich and another fellow pianist. There were
various pianists in that concert from all over the world. In the
review that followed the next day one could read: He played so good
that even Argerich and Economou stood up and clapped. No one else
from the other pianists was mentioned except of us. …
… The composer that stands on top of all is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Nobody could ever reach him. This was no human being. It was an
ever-flowing musical fountain. The second one was Bach, a noble man.
Beethoven was a rebel, a witty spirit, always reaching for the sky.
At the end of his life, when he went completely deaf, he really made
it. Nature seemed to have spared him the glory in his early days.
And you could feel this in his music. It is much heavier than
Mozart’s and it doesn’t fly above like Mozart’s does. Mozart is my
God; he is like a preannouncing element of the coming catastrophe. …
… Music is for the
ordinary people. Beethoven is for the ordinary people.
Q: Is there really music for the ordinary people and music for the
A: This position is quite reactionary, I think, because it carries
on with the classification made by the upper class itself. Our duty
is to show the world that everyone can listen to Beethoven and
really can enjoy his music. So, by giving the ordinary people its so
called ‘own’ kind of (ordinary-) music, the people are getting very
quickly satisfied but indeed very quickly misled. Of course it is
not just music culture that would change the way of thinking of the
world but it is just a small factor that should be delicately
treated. Just like the American way of life is imposed through
Cojack or Charlie’s Angels, it is very much so in music as well,
where a lot of people are trying to impose to us a certain kind of
Q: What should be done to avoid this?
A: One should fight this through different kind of measures. It is
impossible for a single human being to change things. We should
always carry a great responsibility towards people; we should bear
in mind that we simply do not exist without the people itself.
That’s why it is our duty to free their mind and intelligence…
… Classical music never
gets old. There is however a crisis regarding the way it passes on
to the public. This can be seen on concerts. Classical music should
never smell like naphthalene. A new approach has to be found. Older
music should be accompanied by modern music and vice-versa. And the
artist should count on the public’s high standards, particularly
among youngsters. …