How was your self-isolation?

Rena Shereshevskaya: All this time I worked with my students on Skype, but not all of it was possible: someone didn’t have a normal Internet connection, someone who lives on campus, had access to the tool. Coincidentally, my students has qualified for all major competitions: the Queen Elisabeth in Brussels, Chopin in Warsaw, the Arthur Rubinstein in tel Aviv, at the international competition in Sydney, an international competition in Cleveland and everyone of them had to be prepared. Now, however, all the competitions were postponed for a year.

I’ll Tell you what to do on Skype very difficult. I remember the first time we worked with Lucas Debarge. It was in 2015, immediately after the Tchaikovsky Competition. He then called Valery Gergiev said: July 14, you will have a concert at the Mariinsky theatre. At that time I already flew from Moscow, and Luke grabbed me at the airport: don’t leave. And I said, I will leave tired, but I will be with you, at least via satellite, even from the planet Mars! In the end we were doing on Skype. Then it worked, because the program he was absolutely ready. But when, after a while, we tried to work on Skype on a new program, it was already a disaster, and I decided – never again! Now, the coronavirus has put us all in a hopeless situation.

However, I found my key in the classroom. I usually say to my students: the audience you have only three things – architectonics, sound, and expression time. But in Skype there is no sound, I began to study the form, structure, harmony – what usually not enough time. I said to myself: after listening to I archival records of Charles Reynard, the young men who played Schumann, or of Theodor leschetizky, Camille Saint-saëns, who was not only a composer but also an outstanding pianist. So why not in the case with Skype just to rethink the sound, imagine if you have a punch card, and it sounds entry 1905! I was sound so far as it was possible.

somehow, listening to one of my students, I realized that the sound of his piano is similar in Skype to upset the harpsichord, then I asked him to work out the Baroque music of Rameau. The solution can always be found. If not for the technical problems! I was nervous when I didn’t have to hand their notes, and the disciples he sent me a photo of the notes in WhatsApp. And here began: the notes disappeared from the screen and I have to look for them, they appeared, and I have a finger to hold so they don’t run away, while I had yet to listen to them play the most. At some point, I said, all pause! But here again began easing in quarantine.

What will now be the end of the year, the regulations of the examinations in the conservatories of France?

Rena Shereshevskaya: At the state Conservatory examinations will nott in General, all the assessment we will put in the work (although the Conservatory have the right to make independent decisions). In Paris, private Higher school of music. Corti, where I teach, has also decided to cancel. At first the idea was to break the basic Diploma of concertista to: someone will play in July, someone in the fall. But it is financially very difficult.

In France, all the exams of the Conservatory is carried out with an invited jury, and a Diploma at the Ecole Normal is at a very high level as a true international competition. The jury from the time of Alfred korto are very great musicians. We had Martha Argerich. To collect this level trains several times impossible. To carry a diploma of six months is also problematic because the spring semester was paid for, and it turns out that in the fall or the teachers should work for free, or students re-pay.

the Difficulty in the fact that our students live in different countries, many during the isolation flew home, and macron said that most likely the Schengen area will be closed. In General, we are in a difficult situation in all respects. But the decision was made that the Diploma will transfer.

in fact, in France, music schools were closed until autumn?

Rena Shereshevskaya: Classes online will continue until the end of June, but to go to work, we will not. Suppose I’ll come out and begin to engage in the class. I will put in the class of gel, will be given masks. But the students may forget to wipe the gel hands or the keyboard, etc. We’re not used to such gestures. And our profession in this sense is dangerous: the virus can be transmitted through the keyboard.

the winners of the Tchaikovsky Competition – Lucas Debarge and Alexander Cantor who offered continue to work?

Rena Shereshevskaya: Officially they are done, and not learning from me. Luke is sitting somewhere in his house, where his electric piano, teaches a new program. Alex Cantor also sits c a father in the house in the South of France and teaches a new program. Not long ago, we worked with him before his concert in Carnegie hall, not held as a result of the pandemic. When we worked with him in the class I went to my colleague and said, “Oh! Again, Cantor! What are you doing here?” Alexander replied: “We’ll go off the rails, and Ren we re-puts on the rails”.

They all come to me: Lucas Debargue, which only flies into Paris, is calling and resorted to the Conservatory, Alexander Kantorov, Mary Jeanty, rémi Geniet. Of course, they do not have to do every week: the older they get, the more independent. But I’m always ready to listen to them. Sviatoslav Richter at the time, asked Lev Naumov to come to his rehearsals. And the stunning Brigitte Engerer asked me to listen to her before she wrote arrangements of Bach. This is normal. Only reason for For��hell it doesn’t count.

what are the specifics of performing training in France?

Rena Shereshevskaya: I teach at two conservatories in the Paris private Higher school of music (École normale Alfred Cortot) and state in the city of RUEIL-Malmaison, and only because of this my students have the opportunity to engage with me two hours a week. In France, unlike Russia, students have only one hour per week in the specialty. But what can be done in an hour if my students only program we are preparing for the competition, almost four hours! A few years ago, when I came to the Ecole Normal, it was generally half an hour per week with each student, and teachers gave private lessons to his own students, which aroused the indignation of colleagues from the state universities – the same Paris Conservatoire.

in addition, teachers in the periphery often had no special musical education. They never said: I’m a teacher, not a performer. Some trumpet player could teach piano, or of the teacher did not have any diploma, and only two or three years of lessons on the instrument. I struggled with it! Eventually was introduced the entrance examination in the specialty courses for teachers, and it was a blow to those who wanted to teach simply because she loves music.

I Think I played some role in the fact that in France, everywhere began to demand that teachers at least a minimum level of performance. But a couple of years ago and there was again the old story. The mayor of Paris has banned the combination of: either you play or teach. And I was everywhere where they can, to Express their disagreement: well, as you can, for example, to teach the surgery of a scalpel in the hands not kept?

How the mayor can intervene in issues relating exclusively to the professional environment?

Rena Shereshevskaya: Here it is accepted, unlike Russia. By the way, I read that in Russia in recent times is not the best way functioning methodology center. Take all the stupid that is in the West, their weapons. When I read about these debates, which leads Katia Mechetina, I just have hair stand on end. I completely sympathize with her. What a position: the object is not needed, this item is not needed, it should be fun! Is it possible to read with pleasure, not being able to put the letters?

Another thing that should have more focus on listening to music, history of music, to introduce such wonderful subjects as improvisation, selection hearing. But don’t touch you ear training, piano! Need to have all this literature, is supposedly not of interest to children – Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, etc., Not to abolish schools reading Tolstoy, Pushkin, Chekhov, Balzac and stay on comic books, fairy tales and nursery rhymes! PRyou just have to podavati so that was interesting.

I had a great teacher – Lilia L. Filatov in Baku, the Special music school, and every day I thank her for the knowledge that she put in me. And here in France I every day talking about the need for a serious approach to music education. When I was assigned in France to the rank of Knight of the order of arts and letters, the culture Minister at the ceremony and said: Madam Shereshevskaya of those people who are fighting for their serious approach to music education. I always say to the parents of their students: school musical is not a place where you can leave the child, while the parents do their business. It’s a school where there are certain requirements, assignments, exams. And suddenly I find out that in Russia the same problems.

It is especially absurd for the country, a hundred years to create their unique and admired worldwide system of music education.

Rena Shereshevskaya: Yes, and that system of music education can not break! It is necessary to instill a love of music, learning to understand its language. Here is an example: once I was flying on the plane and the lady sitting next to me learned that I am a teacher. She asked how to make her seven-month-old daughter fell in love with classical music? I wrote her a list of works and said, let not Intrusive, very quiet – if the baby sleeps, is awake, classical music. Three years later, give me a call.

Three years later, the phone rang: “Hello, this is Clemence”. Ask: “so, how’s your girl?” “You know, she’s no classical music is not living.” And I just for tomorrow was to be held on a cool evening in the Ecole Normal. I invited them to come and he communicated with the audience to understand me baby. She knew that if she tired, I can when the pianist finished playing, quietly go home. At some point, they left the hall. Then he called Clemence says: you know, as soon as we came home, she said she will not go to sleep until I find on YouTube the Variations of Haydn. She really liked it there something seemed very cheerful. Here is the answer to the question.

France will now gradually be restored after the pandemic. It would have, in your opinion, to rethink in a new reality?

Rena Shereshevskaya: Specifically it showed that France was initially ill-prepared for such events. Some years ago, when the Minister of health of the government of Nicolas Sarkozy roselyn Bachelot offered after the outbreak of the Asian epidemics to buy masks, it unanimously ridiculed. Now that turned pandemic in France elementary was not even masks. The state hospitals are in poor condition.

I live in France for thirty years, and since Mitterrand every President necessarily indicate that it is necessary to improve the condition of hospitals. But no one does. In addition, France has a very conservative Protocol of treatment, not giving to react quickly in extreme situations. Says Didier Raoult, who saved the lives of more than 1,000 patients in Marseille: in war should be treated, and not to debate!

There is another serious problem: in September should open schools and universities, will begin group classes. But the children weren’t taught from birth not to touch the nose, eyes, that it is necessary to keep distance, etc. But the human history is the history of wars and epidemics. View Bosch painting: there he doctors with the beak masks in a long doctoral robes! Many perceive it as surrealism. Nothing of the sort. But we have practically ceased to take sanitary standards.

In France, even the doctors coming to patients who do not wash their hands: it is believed that around and so full of germs. Paris itself is a very dirty city with lots of rats. Not by chance, when in March, there were elections for mayor of Paris, the most important question in the debate was the question of unsanitary conditions. In this sense, coronavirus sent to us to clean. Never in Paris was not such a blue sky.

But what to do with civilization?

Rena Shereshevskaya: Perhaps it should now suspend their movement, and humanity must direct its energies to the creation of treatment facilities. Don’t want to look like a sort of Greta Thunberg, but it should be balanced in this world.

as for social situations, I think that him was a great man. He pays 70 percent of the salaries of all lost at the time of the epidemic the work of the state Fund. The government has taken on so much that no opposition can not criticize. But France remains a country of revolutions, and the yellow jackets again take to the streets. What’s next? A small business relies solely on the state. It helps, but insurance companies don’t want to compensate for the loss of business as, say, in a situation of flood, and small business requires that the state acted on the insurance company.

Now the whole of Europe agrees on how to get out of this crisis. But I think there is another important experience that we all received during quarantine, we felt once again what the power of art! We exchanged operas, performances, movies, records, was looking for something in the archives, listened, watched, discussed, and it was our antidepressant. Art has helped us to survive the isolation.

Rena Shereshevskaya, teacher and pianist. Knight of the French Order of arts and letters.

he Graduated from the Middle special school of music in Baku (class of Lilies Filat��howl), the Moscow Conservatory and post graduate course Lev Vlasenko. From 1989 to 1991 he taught at the Central music school, from 1991 to 1993 was chair of the Department of piano Higher music school named after M. M. Ippolitov-Ivanov. Since 1993, he lives in France. Professor of the Conservatory in RUEIL-Malmaison and the Paris Higher school of music of Alfred Cortot. Among her students – Alexander Kantorov, Lucas Debargue, Remi Geniet, Mary Genty, Alexander Slobodyanik Jr., Mr Shin, Julien Trevelyan, and others.

Artistic Director of the cultural exchange project “Stars and young talents in France and Russia” and the festival “Artistic dynasty and the family”. He composed the piano trio “Expromt” (Impromptu) c Victor Dernovsky and Urmas Tammik.