Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan will open the 19th edition of international music festival Jazz Fest Sarajevo with a concert at Bosanski kulturni centar on 3 November.
Tigran is going to perform with his trio, Iranian-American bassist Sam Minaie and Swiss-American drummer Arthur Hnatek with whom the pianist recorded his seventh album as bandleader Mockroot, released this year for Nonesuch Records.
You are a highly productive, but also a rather inventive artist, which is a rare liaison. What is fundamental for your working process to be a creative and productive one – what are the stimulations and the limitations?
For me creation is everything. Whether it is a composition you are writing and working on or instant creation. I pay attention to the balance of a melody, structure, and the format/style of the piece. I never force myself to write anything, I just write whenever it’s the time to do so. Most of the time it takes me a while to finish a composition because I like leaving it to rest and then coming back to it.
Regarding limits – to me any composition is a limit itself. You have to limit yourself in one something so you can find freedom in it. In other words when you decide on a structure which is limited and you just spend a lot of time on it figuring out it’s possibilities and go really deep into that structure, then you find yourself moving around freely.
Aside from being creative, your work leaves an impression of almost dwelling in the world of surreal. Which corner of your imagination does this strangely attractive fable come from?
I don’t know but it’s definitely not “me“ that’s creating music, there is a connection to something from above, to God. The origin of music is unexplainable and it is also unexplainable why one is creating music this or that way. I am influenced by different things in life including nature, music, cinema and other visual arts but I can’t say that it is directly influencing me this or that way.
The spirit of your native Armenia always dwells over your music. Why do you think tradition and its music are important, and what are you learning from it?
Armenian music and other folk music as well have been a big inspiration for me. I feel like when you listen to a simple human being in a village sing a song that is as soulful as it is complex and you don’t understand how that man or woman can sing like this. It makes me feel like this is the most natural music can be and that there is a different kind of «education » and musicality these people have received. They don’t have to go to a conservatory to sing like that, the opposite would probably occur, conservatory teachers would kill the voices of these kind of singers. Folk music and also sacred music from Armenia and many other countries have direct ties to improvised music.
The audience of Jazz Fest Sarajevo is already familiar with your exceptional live performance since you presented your music at a solo concert in 2010. Now, you will perform in trio. Can you compare the experiences of playing solo and with the support of an ensemble?
I equally like both formats. Solo piano has its challenges and the trio has its challenges. When you play solo you can’t rely on anybody except for yourself.
Tickets for the Tigran Hamasyan Trio concert can be booked here.
Innerview by Amra Toska