Pianist, Tania Stavreva, is living her dream in the cosmopolitan, creative, beating pulse that is New York. She started to play the piano at four years old and gave her first solo recital a year later in her native country of Bulgaria. She comes from a musical family who encouraged her and had a very typical classical “intensive” training from the age of four, but was grateful for that as it gave her a “solid foundation.” Tania is very passionate about her craft and a typical day includes piano practice which she factors into her routine as she would do taking a shower or having a meal, “It is important from early childhood to practice the piano every day. It’s like a religion, and you need that discipline.” She says, “something is wrong with my day if I can’t practice” and laughs when discussing her childhood as her family could only go to certain places for holidays as there had to be a piano for Tania to practice on. And now she is in New York where she has lived for over five years. She loves the US as “there are so many different blends of music” and it inspires her creatively.
Tania is releasing her debut album ‘Rhythmic Movement’ which she admits “she could talk for hours about.” She is incredibly enthusiastic and has put her heart, soul and everything else into creating it. She hadn’t really thought too much about making an album, but when touring and performing, people would often ask where they could buy her music. So when she met with renowned producer Ron St Germain (who has over forty years experience working with and developing a roster of ultra-famous artists such as Whitney Houston, Jimi Hendrix, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers) and he invited her to create a project together, there was no turning back. Each piece on the album is unique, has various influences and means something personally to Tania. There are references to her childhood, listening to Prokofiev as a student, baroque to contemporary during her classical training and the sounds of her home, Bulgaria, where they use a lot of “asymmetrical rhythms.” She also picked fast dance-like pieces, “traditional Bulgarian dance music”, folk melodies, percussive elements, very orchestral, big sounds as well as romantic moments.” She wanted to start the album with shorter pieces then build up to the rhythmic atmosphere, she “wanted the album to expand.” There is a ballad in there and some tracks she completely slowed down “to bring out the accents and rhythms, music you feel; the passion and the rhythm and not speed.” Tania has composed a few pieces, but somehow reluctantly at first, “It is intimidating when you are playing music by musicians such as Mozart and Chopin. Why would you do it?” Now composing her own music is something she would like to focus more on in the future. On the album, a track that particularly stands out is one performed with two-time Grammy Award-winning American drummer, Will Calhoun, who is best known for being a member of the rock/funk metal band Living Colour who also worked with B.B. King.You can almost feel Tania beaming down the telephone when she discusses this “really blessed and dream collaboration. Actually, better than a dream.” Working with Will and his talent “made the piece richer and expanded it from a smaller ensemble to a bigger ensemble.” It is so refreshing to see a classical pianist merge with a modern percussionist so effortlessly and this is what makes Tania so special and stand out from her peers. She wanted to work with artists “outside the classical range.”
Tania is all about bringing positivity to the world so wanted to record a bright and motivational album with a lot of energy. Classical music can typically be “sad and aggressive” and she wanted to alter that perspective; change it up. She says about the tracks, “for me as an artist, even though there are no lyrics, they are pieces, not songs. Music is a language where you can express yourself and tell a story.”
Next year is full of performances, concerts and exciting projects in the pipeline such as creating her own ensemble, working with new composers who will write music for her to play and working with electronic artists. Speaking to Tania is like watching a flower from a bud flourish into something extraordinary; she is full of passion for life and all the arts. She feels acting is something she would be taking more seriously if she weren’t a pianist.) However, “music is (her) mother language and focus.” And even though she fuses classic with contemporary, as she says, “once you’re in classical music, you’re in it for life.”
‘Rhythmic Movement’ will be released under Tania’s own record label on 7th January 2017 and you can pre-order now.