Interview with Anthony Marwood and Aleksandar Madžar – part 2

It sounds a bit like the beginning of an obscure riddle. What do a Serbian-born, Russian-trained pianist and British-born, London-trained violinist have in common? Marwood and Madžar have been performing together for almost two decades, with increasing frequency and to unvarying acclaim. Why does it work so well? A small clue lies in the way the two musicians speak of each other’s playing.

‘He has an extraordinarily natural, deep sense of architecture, a brilliance without display for the sake of it,’ says Marwood of Madžar. ‘Not a note is gratuitous. It’s all extraordinarily deeply felt.’

Aleksandar Madžar

‘He’s a player who works on many different levels,’ says Madžar of Marwood. ‘The emotional expressivity is there, but he also knows how to use his head. There’s a lot of thinking behind it, and there’s a certain physicality about it which I quite like as well.’

Both men’s careers have moved them well into international circles since early studies in their respective home countries; both say that national identity is neither a simple nor an obvious matter. Returning from a recent tour of Israel, Marwood said that he felt foreign in the UK. For Madžar, who was born into a country that no longer exists, the question of nationality is more complex.

‘If you turn out as a neurotic 40-year-old, is it because your country fell apart? Or is it because you always were going to be neurotic? I’m not quite sure,’ he says. ‘It did of course completely change my everyday existence. I don’t think I would be in Brussels if we hadn’t had those wars in the Balkans. In any case I’m incredibly glad that all of that is over.

‘For a long time, somehow, I personally identified with Yugoslavia. But then that melted away, little by little. Politically, my loyalties are very much Serbian. The fact that my father was born in Croatia doesn’t necessarily make me open-minded in that sense. But what is interesting is that after 20 years in Belgium, you start more or less understanding how this place functions. And of course you very much care. So there is a very strong attachment to this country, too.’

Shirley Apthorp © 2011

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Welcome to Musica Viva’s International Concert Season blog. Here you can follow and read more about our wonderful touring artists.

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