Interview with Jakob Fichert,
Famous Concert Pianist, Teacher and Master Class Coach

from Riverview Arts Report April 2017

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Several years ago I met Jacob Fichert through Henry Beissel, poet, playwright and friend. Jacob Fichert is his godson. Jacob wanted to give his godfather a special Birthday gift of his performance of Annee de Pellerinage by Franz Liszt. Henry and I decided that our piano was the best, so I had the wonderful 'gift' of this well-known marvellous musician performing in our home in April.

Q: It is a great joy for us to have you perform a concert here in our home. You have come all the way from England to do this!
A: It is to celebrate Henry's Birthday and also to have some meetings in New York State and Vermont for further projects.

Q: When did you know that you wanted to be a concert pianist, and what spurred your decision?
A: At 8 years of age, hearing my parents perform as puppeteers with a pianist: "Babar and the Elephants" music by Francis Poulenc.

Q: When you begin learning new repertoire, what do you approach first with it?
A: First, I plan the fingering, then memorize, and then focus on everything else later.

Q: What, in your repertoire has changed in the last five years?
A: It is in the very many diverse and different styles. I am presently doing much more contemporary work.

Q: Some performers actually enjoy the recording studio more than live performance. What do you prefer?
A: I like both, but, after all, I enjoy the live performance more. I have a few CD's out.

Q: Do you teach as well?
A: I teach Master Classes, University of York at Leeds, in their College of Music.

Q: Many of the pianists in Ottawa are also collaborative pianists. What collaborative work have you performed?
A: I have performed with a violinist, clarinettist. I also play with a trio contemporary classical repertoire.

Q: Do you like it as much? Why or Why not?
A: I enjoy it very much In fact, I like it just as much as performing solo repertoire.

Q: Being a Musician can be lonely. Do you have colleagues who are also friends?
A: Yes, very much so. It is sometimes nice to have those who are not in the musical world.

Q: What hobbies do you enjoy?
A: I really enjoy reading books, hiking when I have the time, and gardening.

Q: In what countries have you performed and how often have you performed in them?
A: I've performed all over Europe many times, China, 4 times, Mexico, once.

Q: What venues do you enjoy the most?
A: I enjoy the big halls, but what I most enjoy are the more intimate venues: 900-2000 people.

Q: Where can you be reached in order for those of us who would like to have you perform and/or teach a Master Class?
A: School of Music,University of Leeds, Leeds,LS2 9JT,UK,Telephone: +44 (0)113 343 2583 and
Phone +44 (0) 333 123 1976

Thank you again, for performing for us. It has been a 'peak experience' in my life as a musician. I look forward very much, to your returning again as soon as you can, to give Master Classes, Concerts, and opening us up to new great performances with new exciting repertoire.

© Diane S. Schmolka, March 2017
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