VP Bank Classic Festival: Interview with the «Artists in Residence»

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For 32 young and talented artists, the “VP Bank Classic Festival” in Bad Ragaz is the first highlight of this year. As Artists in Residence, the cellist Christoph Heesch and the pianist Dmytro Choni will be making a special appearance. VP Bank interviewed them both before the start of the Festival.

What does it mean for you to be Artists in Residence at this festival in Switzerland?

Christoph Heesch: The history of the Artists in Residence of this Festival shows that the respective young artists play music of the very highest standard. On the one hand, for me this means I am absolutely determined to meet these high expectations. On the other hand, it is for me an exceptional honour – particularly with my biography in Ensemble Esperanza – to have been selected for this role.

Dmytro Choni: For me, being an Artist in Residence at the VP Classic Festival means tremendous responsibility, but is also a source of great pleasure. In this position one has the opportunity to be there from the start to the finish of the Festival, and to attend all concerts – either on stage or as a member of the audience.


The history of the Festival demonstrates: Young people and classical music, it works. What was your experience as teenagers in the classical music scene?

Christoph Heesch: Fortunately, the classical music scene is growing steadily. It is the responsibility of every young artist to play not just for long-established classical music aficionados, but also to convey the fascination that we musicians experience every day to a broad and above all youthful audience.

Dmytro Choni: As a young musician, when I played a concert I was always fascinated by what kind of piano was on stage and what kind of acoustics awaited me. As a pianist, you have to connect with new grand pianos very quickly each time. This keeps you flexible and versatile.

Cellist Christoph Heesch
The German cellist Christoph Heesch (1995) is one of two Artists in Residence at the VP Bank Classic Festival.

What are you expecting from the other musicians, some of whom you have never met before?

Christoph Heesch: As a former member of the Ensemble Esperanza I am keen to learn how “my one-time peers” have developed. I am therefore very curious to see how the ensemble has progressed at this high level.

Dmytro Choni: All musicians who perform at the Festival play at the highest level. I am very much looking forward to hearing them all, and to playing together with them. If there’s someone I don't know, I’m sure we’ll get along just fine.


What in particular do you want to introduce to the audience with your programmes?

Christoph Heesch: I now see myself as a soloist and chamber musician in Bad Ragaz, the place where I started as a member of the Ensemble Esperanza some years ago. The expression of the variability of solo and orchestra, or between the chamber musicians, is an essential part of my programmes during the course of the Festival. The absolute flexibility and veritable fusion of the musicians within the ensemble means the interpretation can be free, to an extent that is only possible here.

Dmytro Choni: The planned programme is very attractive for the Festival audience and musicians. We endeavour to structure our concerts in such a way that people come to the concert with interest and retain the emotions and impressions for a long time after the concert. The focus on Beethoven is particularly important to me. The year 2020 is a major anniversary year – the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. This is being celebrated around the world, and we will also be doing so in Bad Ragaz.


Pianist Dmytro Choni
As the winner of numerous distinguished piano competitions, Dmytro Choni has already made an international name for himself as a concert pianist.

What do you personally want to gain from this Festival experience?

Christoph Heesch: As my appointment as Artist in Residence has already fulfilled a major ambition, I will be entering the Festival week with an open mind. Throughout the course of the Festival, I wish all musicians the best of health and perhaps a free minute or two. After all, there are not many festival locations that are so splendidly idyllic as Bad Ragaz.

Dmytro Choni: I hope that we all experience unforgettable musical moments – the audience as well as Festival participants. Every contact with the audience brings me new experiences, and I am very much looking forward to performing as Artist in Residence in numerous concerts during the Festival week.



About Christoph Heesch:
The German cellist Christoph Heesch (1995) is one of two Artists in Residence at the VP Bank Classic Festival. Berlin-born Heesch began playing the cello at the age of six. He later studied at the Julius Stern Institute of the University of the Arts in Berlin. Christoph Heesch made his début as a soloist at the age of eleven and has since then concentrated on solo and chamber music in numerous European countries and Japan.

About Dmytro Choni:
Dmytro Choni was born in 1993 in Kiev (Ukraine), and took his first piano lessons at the age of four. As the winner of numerous distinguished piano competitions, Dmytro Choni has already made an international name for himself as a concert pianist. The young pianist holds a scholarship from the International Music Academy in Liechtenstein and is a student in the class of Prof. Milana Chernyavska at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz.

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