Behzod Abduraimov is the concert pianist and artist-in-residence at the Park International Center for Music. Born in Uzbekistan, this twenty-something musician has been called the “most perfectly accomplished pianist of his generation.” Abduraimov first started playing the piano when he was five with his mother as his teacher. By the time he was 18 he had won the London International Piano Competition. Now, Kansas City is his home base as he shares his talents with students at Park University and travels the world performing.
❖ I hated practicing. I love music. Always. Really. But I wasn’t a child that wanted to practice all the time. I like performing. But yeah, I nearly quit a couple of times. It happened when I upset my teacher by not practicing.
❖ Every time I play, I feel like the instrument and myself are like one living body. We become one through the music. I feel the music. I feel the emotions of the music at that moment. I can feel when the audience is captured, and I have their whole attention in my hands. That’s a great feeling.
❖ If I play for one person, or if I play a concert hall or for 10,000 people like the Hollywood Bowl for instance, I try the same, I play the same. I mean, the music is still speaking to the audience no matter the size. Of course, when you see a big crowd, it’s a different experience and exhilarating, but overall the same.
❖ I found out that the best food before the concert is sushi because I feel full, I don’t feel heavy and my brain works well, which is what I need because it requires very high concentration on stage.
❖ When a lot of times I’m playing back-to-back concerts with travel in between, the next morning I might feel a little bit exhausted emotionally. But as soon as I come on stage again, I start playing, start hearing those sounds. Music itself inspires me and excites me, and immediately I get that energy from somewhere. I can’t really explain how it happens.
❖ When I was younger, it would take me a while to learn one concerto. A standard concerto, which is about 30 or 35 minutes, it would take me maybe four or five, even six months from start to finish. But with time, with a busy concert schedule, it shortened. My record, my personal record was a small piano concerto by Prokofiev, No. 1, which is 16 to 17 minutes long. I had to learn it in eight days.