Piotr Szewczyk is an acclaimed violinist and composer, an American Prize winner, and has been hailed by Gramophone Magazine as a “violinist of exceptional finesse and flair” and a composer of “magical” works. Today, Szewczyk is our next featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to find out what Szewczyk’s guilty pleasure is…
When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist/composer/creator?
As I was studying violin and piano and playing standard repertoire as a young musician, I started asking myself: why do I have to play only other people’s music? Why do I have to express only other people’s feelings, creativity, emotions, and ideas? I felt the urge to express myself by creating and playing my own music, not just interpreting other people’s works. I actually started composing on piano first because I was drawn to exploring harmonies I liked and experimenting beyond what I’ve learned from classical music. Then I started incorporating violin and other instruments and started to pursue composition professionally, along with violin performance.
If you could do any job in the world and make a living at it, what would that be?
In a way, I feel I’m already doing most of that. I feel extremely lucky that I can be a performer and composer, do both professionally, and be surrounded and inspired by all kinds of wonderful musicians. I hope I can expand those pursuits in the future to include running my own new music festival where I could program and perform my music, music of other living composers that I find fascinating, and sharing that passion with audiences.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Dark chocolate! Can’t live without it!
What does this album mean to you personally?
Bliss Point represents the deepest artistic fulfillment to me, to be able to perform my own music with amazing musicians and share it with audiences and be able to express something deeply personal. It’s the riskiest, honest, and vulnerable statement to open yourself fully to others by creating and performing your original works. But the fulfillment is also the greatest, and I’m hoping the music will connect with listeners on a deep emotional level.
Is there a specific feeling you want listeners to tune into when hearing your work?
Just being open minded and receptive, and hopefully, the music will connect with the audience and may mean different things to different people. I hope the listener will be able to tune into my emotional soundscape I was exploring while writing the music and will be able to re-experience that while listening.
What was your favorite musical moment on the album?
Each piece means something different, but in the context of this album the title piece Bliss Point and its ending is the favorite part for me. I’m very happy with what I was able to accomplish musically and structurally in this work and hope the listener will get an emotional and intellectual satisfaction from experiencing this piece in the context of the full album.