Based in Berlin, Germany - Aliya Vodovoza is a member of the Pacific Quintet (second prize winner, Carl Nielsen International Chamber Music Competition).
Enjoy today's Q&A:
MA: Hi Aliya, where are you these days and what are you up to at the moment?
AV: Hi, Berlin right now :-) I am very excited because next week I will play my first live concert after many months. I am really looking forward to the concert along with the preparation more than ever!
MA: That is really great! What have you been up to these past several months?
AV: It was difficult for me in the early months of the pandemic and I am sure for many. It was hard with concerts cancelled and being in lockdown but having the ability to communicate with loved ones via FaceTime helped me a lot. During these past months, I was cooking and working out (perfect combination for the quarantine 😅). A lot of Zoom workouts with friends and I can honestly say that I have tried almost all of the traditional Turkish and Russian dishes - in general my cooking skills have really improved 😆. I have also been reading quite a lot as I don’t have Netflix! I was fortunate to participate in the great show of Daniel Hope’s Hope at Home - the live streams on ARTE TV. What an incredible initiative...it was like fresh air for me during these times.
MA: I really enjoyed Daniel Hope’s online series. You have a really wide cultural background - where are you from and where have you lived?
AV: I am Tatar. But I also sometimes say I am Turkish, Ukrainian or Russian. Those countries are all my home so I cannot choose one! I grew up in Turkey but I spent each summer in Ukraine to visit my grandmother and grandfather. I am very lucky that my Babakay (grandfather) has a Skype (he is 89!!) - each day we are in contact, which has helped me during the lockdown, he is my favorite person.
In my teenaged years, I moved to Moscow for my studies - that was a big challenge for 12-13 year old me, everything was completely new: the culture, people, and language (even though my mom always spoke to me in Russian). Thinking back now it is hard to realize I was just a kid. In a new country, I felt that I grew up quickly. I lived with a family that hosted me (I was renting a room there) and it felt like I was living independently but it didn’t bother me and I adjusted quickly. I believe that my mom held a lot of trust in me to send me far away at that age to study. After Moscow, I was in Paris for awhile and now I am based in Berlin. In Berlin, I should say I feel also at “home” here.
MA: How many languages do you speak?
AV: Kind of 5!
MA: What is your favorite song, artist or album away from the classical music genre?
AV: I love Earth, Wind and Fire, Michael Jackson, Coldplay and some songs from even pop, R&B and jazz :)
MA: Which books have you been reading?
AV: I recently completed the book “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by G. Marquez. It was really imaginative, colorful, and an unordinary book. It took me a while to really jump into the story but once you are there - you will swim until the end. I was also reading many classics during the lockdown like “War and Peace” and “Notre‐ Dame de Paris”.
MA: What are you practicing these days?
AV: Next week I will have two concerts with the Pacific Quintet in the Konzerthaus Berlin, for the first time live after not playing concerts for such a long time! We are preparing M. Ravel «“Le tombeau de Couperin”», «J. Francaix Quintet no. 1» and M.Mussorgsky «“Pictures at an Exhibition”». I am really looking forward to it!
MA: Any words of advice to the viewers for unblocking into your highest self? Any words you feel that come to mind or quotes?
AV: I think it happens to every musician (having blocked moments) - I know it well at times. The most important thought is to try and not overreact to your failures. Because long term it may block other aspects in you. I feel it is important to avoid toxic and very judgmental environments. At times, the music world can be harsh 😅. Try to focus on just yourself. To find balance in your life. As a musician, do not forget that you are doing what you love.
© Michael Alampi - Unblocked Musician