DAVID GOMEZ“The best music is the one I think of in silence”
If music has the power to engage all our senses and make us feel, David Gomez certainly has a way with notes.
Also known as the “Pianist of the 200 Candles”, David has performed in many different countries, offering concerts and shows at the most renowned theatres such as; Carnegie Hall-New York, The Royal Concertgebouw-Amsterdam, The National Concert Hall-Dublin, St Martin-in-the-Fields-London, Cairo Opera House, Concertgebouw de Doelen-Rotterdam, Chicago Cultural Center, The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts- Moscow among many others, seducing and impressing his audience wherever he goes.
But despite of what at first may seem a life of glitter and glamour, solitude and loneliness are the predominant emotional themes which emerge from his pieces, laying open the solitariness of long hours spent rehearsing, the lack of companionship when he travels. Yet, they carry nothing dramatic. Just like poetry, his music is fluid and soulful, soft and melting, the tones flowing gently into one another, his touch is light on the keyboards. He is a romantic and his compositions are an expression of his dreams and the stories he creates.
David, how did you get into music and do you agree that a musician chooses the instrument according to his own character?
“As a matter of fact, when you start studying music you are too young to make a choice, you play a particular instrument usually under the influence of someone else.
In my case, it was my mother who made that choice for me. She is an accordion player herself and was the one who wanted to learn to play the piano. I was seven, I did not know what I wanted to be back then, although I did love the arts in general and had a passion for music.
Only later, when I was about 12, I started feeling the need to communicate what I was learning. A bit like when you study a foreign language and feel the need to go out and talk with someone to put it to practice. I gave my first concert at the age of 14, that is when I knew I wanted to become a pianist.”
You studied in Switzerland, the Netherlands and then moved to Spain, where you have been for 14 years now. Has that been reflected in your repertoire?
“I am very lucky to have the opportunity to travel extensively throughout five continents. That enriches me very much as a person and hence enriches the music I compose. However, I write from home. During my travels I absorb everything about people I meet and places I see, but I need to be in my own corner at home to be able to process my experiences, develop my ideas and turn them into music.” “Likewise, I am very grateful for the life I lead. It feels like my biggest accomplishment just being able to work with my creativity."
What do you believe are the most important things that help people become creative?
“Actually, I believe that we are all born to be creative but not everyone develops the creative part of their brain. I think you have to be open to experimenting, but it is education that plays the biggest role”.
In other words David, as Pablo Picasso said: "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."
“Indeed. Children’s’ creativity should be encouraged, and from a very young age. In Swedish schools, for example, children get a lot of creative stimulation on a daily basis. In Spain, unfortunately,exposure to the arts may not be as readily available. And while there are a lot of gifted people here, their talent is not nourished enough.
I believe that being able to express your creativity helps you to become a better person and enjoy life more. Just consider that we spend most of our life at work, and if all those work hours could be turned into something creative, we would live a better life. Moreover, when you are creating, whether it is art or music, you set off a whole emotional inner process which triggers feelings of joy, it is as if you are connecting to something magical”.
Most likely, a musician’s mission, whether historical or contemporary, is also to inspire and remind people that there is magic in this world and that near or far, we are all connected; and that by following your artistic impulses as much as you can, you will be bringing balance and fulfillment in your life. Which pianists do you admire the most and why?
“I admire Bach. He is the one and only composer I could be playing here now for hours without tiring or getting the feeling I am out of tune. Balance is a key part of his compositions; and what’s more, the more you play Bach the more you feel you are learning something new.”
I know that musicians are often hesitant to list their influences, as they want to be considered entirely unique. However, are there any pianists or composers who have influenced you?
“There are several I like and they are all very good so it is hard just to mention one. I try to be open, but to be honest, for the past few years I have been trying not to listen to any music at all in order to avoid being influenced and thus produce something unique that is mine alone.”
Which has been the highlight of your career so far and which has been the low?
“I cannot mention one particularly good moment as there are many. Each time a concert ends it is a special moment because it makes me feel so happy and privileged. And each time I am in front of an appreciative audience, that is such a gift. As for bad moments, maybe years ago when I was on tour in Australia. It was my very first time being so far away from home and it was a demanding tour of four concerts in all, followed by a further one in Mexico right after. That involved a massive quantity of details to deal with and I was personally responsible for the most part of them. That must have felt so overwhelming and built up such an insecurity in myself, that at some point, I became very nervous and anxious, like I never felt before. However, as I went and sat at the piano, all my nerves were gone. Nevertheless, each time before a concert begins, I do still ask myself the question: “Why did I ever choose to become a pianist? “
Which has been your most appreciative audience and which the coldest?
“The most appreciative of all… is the Latin audience. Let’s see, a Spanish audience is great and very warm, but the Mexican audience is absolutely amazing, their response to my performance is always so heartfelt and spontaneous that it stirs my emotions. And besides, everyone wants to talk to you and tell you how he or she feels.
The coldest audience in my experience has been the Japanese. There is no repartee at all. This does not mean that they don’t like you, it is just a form of respect in their culture, but it is all very conventional, very controlled. It leaves me with a weird feeling, wondering whether they really liked me.
On the other hand, people in Korea, though they are close neighbors of the Japanese, are more like Latins.
Then there are audiences you simply feel totally comfortable with because you know that they are not judging your playing but are there to enjoy. This happens to me in Holland.”
And it was in Holland where David got the inspiration for his candlelit concerts. Staged both indoors and outdoors, this concept is carried out in unusual venues that offer a visual impact such as lighthouses, prehistoric sites, train stations, cemeteries, historic ruins etc.
“I have been performing “1 Piano and 200 Candles” concerts for about 8 years. I came up with the idea during my study years in Holland, where people use candles in their homes. And, as I personally dislike artificial light, the candlelight idea for a piano concert appealed to me."
“1 Piano, 200 Candles” and a wonderful Project, I would add. David’s own musical journey has made him very passionate about children’s education, and so he created the 1 DONATION and 200 DREAMS program. David, can you tell me about that?
"Through my travels and my job I regularly come into contact with different charities helping orphans and children in need. But being a musician I wanted to do something different.
I wanted to give disadvantaged children an opportunity that they otherwise wouldn’t have, I wanted them to learn to play an instrument and build up a musical career that would allow them to create a secure future for themselves and provide a better life to their families. Therefore I have created a merchandising line, and a portion of the benefits from the sale thereof is devoted to buying musical instruments for those children.
I am currently working on the first instrument, a saxophone for Casa Ayuda, a foster home in Mexico. Casa Ayuda’s aim is to help orphans and disadvantaged children to be brought up within a family environment by giving them a home and access to a solid education. The work they do at Casa Ayuda is remarkable; my contribution is just a small one for the moment. This is just a beginning, but I plan to get more and more involved in their musical education, giving them lessons and also finding more volunteers willing to teach music."
Not long ago, David signed a deal with RIVERFISH that marked the release of the “The Island”, his first recording as a composer containing 12 pieces for solo piano dedicated to aspects of Mallorca, and which includes his favorite soundtracks ‘The Lighthouse’ and ‘16 years old’ .
Beguiling and contemplative, this album is a timeless collection of cinematic soundtracks.
What’s next for you? What are your other goals or aspirations?
"I always loved acting and I’d love to star in a movie for which I would also compose the soundtrack. Or, for a change, present a music program.
My big dream would be to combine all these things, but I think I would settle for winning an Oscar for best soundtrack, yes, I think I would be happy with that….."
Enza Valiante Valentini
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