He's quite young but already considered one of the most significant talents of his time. Touching the ivories of the piano when he was barely more than a baby, he later shared the stage with the masters of classical music.
Sergio Tiempo, a pianist of Argentinean and Venezuelan origin, will come to İstanbul for a concert with an international team along with him. The Zurich Chamber Orchestra, founded after World War II, will accompany Tiempo on April 19 at İş Sanat Concert Hall. Armenian conductor Ruben Gazarian will conduct the orchestra, which will perform pieces by Chopin, Mozart and Dvořák.
“My mother, Lyl Tiempo, is a remarkable piano teacher who devoted her life to teaching children with her own wonderful method,” says Tiempo, who started playing the piano at the age of 2, in an interview with Today's Zaman. “Therefore the house was always filled with children playing the piano. I suppose I didn't want to feel left out, so I asked my Mom to teach me as well and since I was so motivated she conceded in spite of my age. I'm sure it must have been a lot of work for her.”
“My sister, Karin Lechner, who is seven years older than me, started making a professional career as a pianist before me,” says Tiempo, who started his professional career at quite an early age. “I would say that my professional career officially started when I was 14 years old and I played in a recital series at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. However, I had already been playing sporadically.”
Sergio Tiempo, a pianist of Argentinean and Venezuelan origin, will come to İstanbul for a concert, bringing with him an international group of musicians. The Zurich Chamber Orchestra and conductor Ruben Gazarian will accompany him at İş Sanat Concert Hall.
For Tiempo, his entire music career has been a process of learning and evolution. “The crucial points in my career were marked by musical encounters which transformed me as a musician rather than particular career-making events,” he says. “So I would have to say that my encounter with Martha Argerich, of course, was one of the most fundamental, and later my musical connection with Mischa Maisky, and my collaboration with Christoph Eschenbach, Gustavo Dudamel and Claudio Abbado, my very few but very moving encounters with Nelson Freire, just to mention a small handful. Each one of these events marked a turning point in my musical development as well as in my career.” Tiempo particularly qualifies his encounter with Argerich, one of the most prominent pianists today, as “one of the greatest gifts” in his life. “She continues to teach me without knowing it,” he says. “She is such an enormous source of inspiration that she doesn't even have to be there for her to continue teaching. It would take me days to explain what it was like and what I was able to take with me. But just imagine what it would be like if you admired Superman all your life and one day he came to teach you how to fly.”
Seeing the colors
“There are too many elements involved to describe in a few words one's way of relating to music, since it is as vast as one's relation to life itself,” says Tiempo, trying to define his own approach to music. “But if there is one characteristic that I would underscore it would be the fact that I always try to play any piece of music as if it was the first time that I had ever heard it, as if I was writing it myself.”
This is how Tiempo defines himself. Gramophone magazine describes Tiempo as “a colourist in love with the infinite variety a piano can produce.” “I just see the colors that I imagine in my mind,” says Tiempo “and I do everything I can to bring them to life through the piano. It's not always easy but if you don't let yourself see them in the first place then it is simply impossible.”
For Tiempo, it is too early to decide whether today's musicians are as creative as the great masters of classical music like Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin. “Most of these great composers weren't considered that great until later, and often until after their own deaths,” notes Tiempo. “There is so much music being written everywhere that only time and luck can filter the true masterpieces from lesser ones. Also, it is infinitely more difficult to compose at a time when so much has already been done! When a masterpiece is created, it is often something which breaks with what has been done before then and which speaks to the future, so by definition we are not ready for it yet.”
Tiempo's personal music preferences vary in a wide range of genres. “I love jazz and Brazilian music,” he says. “I also love tango. But I also enjoy pop, rock, rap, soul, salsa, meringue and so on. I have no limitations in taste as long as it's authentically and beautifully done.”
Despite coming to Turkey for the first time, Tiempo is already familiar with Turkish musicians. “I love Fazıl Say. He is a wonderful artist and a very warm and charming person,” he says. “I am so excited to go to Turkey. This will be my first time ever in this wonderful country. I'm just really happy to be going there soon.”
It seems that Tiempo will be very busy in the near future. “I have many exciting projects waiting for me,” he says. “Among them, I will be playing a Ginastera Concerto in Los Angeles with Gustavo [Dudamel] and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Also, I'm expecting a new CD to come out in September with tango music that I recorded with my sister, and another recording project involving Chopin's ‘Études' for next year. Several tours are lined up for me in South America, Asia and Europe.”