TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — While the Polish pianist Kamil TokarskyChopin’s recent performance at Taipei’s Daan Park seemed effortless, it took him a lifetime to achieve this level of mastery.
Tokarski told Taiwan News that his interest in the piano started at an early age. He recalled that his pianist father practiced Chopin’s “Mazurkas” every day, which sparked his interest in the classical instrument. “The piano became a part of my life from day one,” he said.
His parents assure him a daily practice of the piano. He later realized that he enjoyed gambling more than other activities, which motivated him to practice even more.
Tokarski said he had always believed that the grand piano was “a very beautiful and majestic instrument”. Johann Sebastian Bach demonstrated the incredible things that could be done with the short keyboard, he said.
“With many innovations and mechanical upgrades, modern pianos can achieve colors and textures that provide artists with limitless possibilities for expression,” he said. When asked what type of piano was his favourite, he said he had preferred Steinway grand pianos for many years, but was increasingly impressed by the “incredible nuance and warmth” of the Fazioli piano.
Tokarski’s career has taken him to obtain a master’s degree and a doctorate. on the piano and took him around the world, but he says he continues to learn new tunes, practice daily, and challenge himself with new goals. “Every day I discover something new,” he said, adding that “work on technique is a never-ending process.”
Although the practice is a mentally demanding process, the Pole said his criteria for a good performance are quite simple: “If during the performance I felt comfortable and had a good time, I am generally satisfied.”
Tokarski said he had quite a few musical heroes; however, if forced to choose one, he would choose Ignacy Jan Paderewski, a 20th-century Polish pianist turned diplomat. He described Paderewski as an “inspiring personality” whose memoirs had a significant impact on his teenage years, adding that he returns to them often.
Tokarski mentioned that there are countless classical pieces that he loves, but the music of the Italian Baroque period has a special place in his heart. He also praised Pole Frederic Chopin for his ability to capture the spirit of the country through his music.
Tokarski said he first moved to Taiwan because of his Taiwanese wife. He said his favorite thing about Taiwan was its beautiful mountain scenery, while saying he liked the way Taipei felt like both a metropolis and a small city.
“I’m happy to live here,” he said, adding that he found Taiwanese to be sensitive and passionate people who “love and respect classical music very much.”
As for his plans for the future, Tokarski said, “I really like where I am and what I’m doing. I’m happy and I don’t feel any need for my career to take me anywhere.”