Posted on: June 5th, 2018 7:30 am
Maksim Mrvica (pronounced ‘Máravitsa’ with a rolled ‘r’) was proud of Gestures, his disc of contemporary Croatian piano pieces, he was realistic. He expected it to shift a handful of copies and languish on the shelves like so many other experimental CDs. But he was wrong.
It became one of the fastest-selling classical recordings ever to be released in Croatia, and ended up winning four Porin (Croatian Grammies) including one for Best Classical Album.
Maksim was even invited to open the Porin award ceremony – an honour not usually granted to a classical artist and caused a sensation with his performance of The Dance of the Baroness.
Maksim’s musical training has been rigorous. He was born in 1975 in Šibenik, a town on the Adriatic coast. He began piano lessons at 9 (giving his first public performance at the same age) and performed Haydn’s C major piano concerto with an orchestra just 3 years later. War broke out in 1990, but both Maksim and his professor Marija Sekso were determined that he should continue his musical studies.
‘There were a thousand grenades a day in my town,’ he says, ‘but you can’t just stop living – you must go on. And the only thing I could find to help me was my piano.’ Despite the awful circumstances, Maksim entered and won his first major competition in Zagreb in 1993.‘I’ve always felt that that was my greatest victory, and the most wonderful memory of my whole career,’ he says.
What are his hopes for this new ‘crossover’ project? ‘Well, it’s not a question of money,’ he chuckles. ‘I was earning quite enough from touring and playing classical concerts. It’s a question of experimenting. I always want to try something different, something new. I just want to reach as many people of all ages with classical music. That’s my dream.’
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