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Young pianist ends China tour with mood and music

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-06 07:10

Young pianist ends China tour with mood and music

Pianist Alice Sara Ott has developed her international career with a series of high-profile debuts. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Ahead of her debut recital in Beijing four years ago, Alice Sara Ott cut her long hair that she'd for years.

"I like closing chapters. I am not the person who looks in the past," says Ott, a 28-year-old German-Japanese pianist.

She applies the same philosophy to her music, she says.

"I don't want to hold on to anything that doesn't fit into a new environment."

During a recital she gave at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, which concluded her latest China tour in January, Ott took the audience both through "wonderland and hell" by playing pieces of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg and Hungarian composer Franz Liszt.

She fell in love with a Liszt sonata for piano from the time she started to learn it, she says.

"But it turned out to be a piece that is very difficult to couple with other pieces. It is too heavy and dark, like a trip to hell. For me, playing this sonata is one of the most emotional experiences I can have onstage," Ott says.

She describes Grieg's music as "light and dreamy" and a good balance for Liszt. She wore a yellow dress while performing Grieg's piece and changed into a black dress while playing Liszt.

"I did it for the first time in Japan last year," Ott says. "What I wanted is to make the audience understand more about the music. I cannot play such a dark piece (Liszt's sonata) in a bright color."

"We live in a time, where we complain about young people not coming to classical concerts," Ott says, adding that creating the right atmosphere is necessary.

The pianist also notes that classical concerts are often associated with expensive tickets and for the elite, which she says is wrong.

"Music is for anybody. If you want to enjoy classical music in jeans and T-shirt, that's fine."

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