Violoncello / *1992 Bregenz
As Focus Artist (Fokus-Künstler), cellist Kian Soltani will be playing the great concertos by Schumann, Shostakovich and, while travelling, Elgar – but also traditional Persian music.
Who is he? Discover him in the following questionnaire! It is based on the legendary templates created by Marcel Proust and Max Frisch. These combine important and supposedly unimportant questions in a playful way, thus providing insights into the interviewee's personality. We have supplemented a selection of Proust’s and Frisch’s questions with inquiries about music.
Where would you like to live?
In Vienna or Zurich. And I do. Both. That suits me fine.
Which mistakes would you be most likely to excuse?
In terms of music: technical mistakes. Of course, they are absolutely excusable.
Your favourite fictional heroes?
The Count of Monte Cristo, because he achieved what he wanted to achieve – through so much suffering and difficulties. Nevertheless, he never lost hope. That is impressive.
Your favourite historical figure?
That’s a good question … There have been so many tyrants. Who has done good? Gandhi.
Your favourite designer or artist?
For clothes, Issey Miyake. And in art, Salvador Dalí.
Your most important character trait?
Your favourite flower?
Lavender or hibiscus.
Which natural gift would you like to possess?
The ability to paint. Unfortunately, I can’t paint at all.
Would you like to have absolute memory?
No, I think remembering everything would probably become a burden at some point. So I’d rather not. There are some things you want to forget.
Is there anything that you would like to forget?
I’ve already forgotten. (Laughs)
How old would you like to become?
Quantity isn’t important. It’s about asking oneself the question, «How do I want to grow old?» And I would very much like to stay healthy. For as long as possible.
Do you like travelling?
Yes, I do. With my job, it would be difficult if I didn’t. I like to travel, but I also like to be at home when I’m not travelling.
What do you do when you travel?
Mainly, I travel to play concerts. But when I’m on the road, in the process of travelling itself, I like to watch films or series. All the time, actually.
Let’s talk a little about music. Do you like practising?
Most of the time, yes.
When do you not like to practise?
It depends on the day. But there are days when I don’t really enjoy practising. But I do it anyway.
Your key classical work?
At the moment, I’m focusing intensively on Bach’s cello suites. When I was growing up, Schubert’s music was very, very important to me. There is only one sonata for cello – the «Arpeggione» Sonata – and even that wasn’t originally written for the cello. But it was very important for my development.
How would you describe your instrument?
Beautiful, elegant and profound.
How important is applause to you?
Of course, it is a great reward for playing a concert. To be honest, I’ve never thought about it before ... It would be a bit strange if you stopped and nobody clapped. Fortunately, that has never happened. Although … during Corona, I missed it. So yes, applause is important.
Do you have a pre-concert ritual?
On the day of a concert, sleep is very important. I sleep for an hour, sometimes a little more. Sometimes I don’t fall asleep at all, but I just lie there anyway. And then practise slowly. Slow practice is important before a concert.
What do you appreciate about conductors or performers?
Empathy – that is, when an orchestra can take a step back. Because I am only one cellist. And a cello is not a loud instrument. But an orchestra is very, very powerful. I really appreciate an orchestra that can play quietly. And I immensely appreciate a conductor who attaches importance to an orchestra playing quietly.
If you were to create a questionnaire, what question would it have to include?
The question about the favourite film.
And what would be your answer?
For me, the answer would be «The Godfather.» Parts one and two.
Why this particular film?
It’s been a long time since I saw the film for the first time – 15 years or so. I was still a teenager. I haven’t seen the film that often … Maybe five or six times. The best things come together in this film: the combination of brilliant actors, of course – Al Pacino, and Marlon Brando in the first film. The music is wonderful. The story is profound. It really is a perfect work of art.
Interview: Ulrike Thiele