Interview with Artur Haftman – a Polish pianist who recently won prestigious British scholarship

January 22, 2020

Fans of classical music (and in particular Chopin’s masterpieces), could not have missed a name of Artur Haftman lately, exceptionally talented, young Polish pianist who lives and studies in London. We have had the opportunity to listen to his performances in the number of concert halls, where he presented with passion many classical masterpieces included in his rich repertoire.

We met Artur in the Polish Hearth Club – Ognisko for a ‘Musical Moments for Children’ concert. It is a series of events organised for the youngest audience which takes place every first Sunday of the month. British Poles has the honour to be a media patron of these exceptional musical enterprises. Artur, who often participates in charitable concerts, accepted the invitation to play for such unusual gathering of the music lovers comprising of kids of various age.

The concert turned out to be a great success, with many children in attendance who turned out to be demanding but also the very grateful audience. We hope, the artist name and the name of our national hero-composer may stay in their memory and hearts forever after.

BP: Good morning. Polish musicians are well aware of your artistic accomplishments. Recently, for example, you have won a prestigious scholarship, ‘The Carnwath Piano Scholarship’, as the only one of candidates from the UK. Please, tell us something more about it, when it took place and how big the competition was?

Artur Haftman: It’s true. I won this scholarship for the academic year 2019/2020. Auditions took place in the Guildhall School of Music in London and competition was immense, all of the candidates were young and talented pianists from all over the world! And I was the only candidate who was awarded the scholarship of the 10k GBP which will be enough to cover my student tuition fee.

BP: What does it mean exactly for your career, how it is going to promote it?

AH: First of all, it is an enormous satisfaction. Financially, it allows me to undertake postgraduate studies in the Royal College of Music in London to obtain so-called Artist Diploma.

BP: It sounds like a great success! We can imagine it requires not only great talent but also an enormous effort. Please, tell us at what age have you started your piano lessons.

AH: At the age of seven I became a student at the State Music School in Stargard, which I have completed with distinction.

BP: Did your family support your passion?

AH: I would not be able to complete my studies without emotional and material support from my parents. During my school years, they travelled with me to many piano competitions both in Poland and abroad. Since I came to London I have to take care of myself financially but I am well aware of their continuing emotional support.

BP: When exactly have you come to Great Britain? Have you been able to begin your dream-studies immediately?

AH: I began my studies in London in September 2013 and yes, I was able to start immediately. But before that, I had to apply to the Royal College of Music in September 2012 and after successful auditions in December that year, I was accepted as one of the fifteen applicants from all over the world for the first year in RCM in the class of Professor Dimitri Alexeev.

BP: How is your professional career progressing?

AH: I would not use the word career yet, I am still learning and discovering new piano sounds, acquiring and polishing solo and chamber skills. Back in Poland when I was still at school I took part in and won several international piano competitions and music festivals. For example, I won the first places in competitions such as 12th International festival competition ‘Musica Classica’ in Moscow (2012), in 18th International Piano Competition in Palma de Mallorca (2011), in 7th International Chopin Competition in Narvie -Estonia (2010) and many more.

More recently I won second places in the following competitions, the International Piano Competition ‘Villa de Xabia’ in Xabia, Spain (2015), the International Piano Competition ‘Cesar Franck’ in Brussels (2014) and just very recently I have won the first place in the International Thomas Harris Piano Competition in London.

BP: Are you performing exclusively in Poland and the UK?

AH: No, not at all. I have been performing in France, Italy, Spain, Estonia, Belgium, USA, Lithuania, Slovakia and Ukraine. Next month I will commence a series of eight piano recitals in China.

BP: Have you ever played together with an orchestra?

AH: Oh yes, at the age of 8 I performed with the orchestra for the first time followed by two more concerts with the same Youth Symphonic Orchestra in Koszalin. Later on, I performed with Szczecin Filharmonic Orchestra in 2010 and with Camerata Stargard in 2018.

BP: Which composer is your favourite, the one you like to listen to the most and the one you are most likely to include in your repertoire?

AH: Of course my favourite is Frederic Chopin! But I also admire Mozart, Schumann and Beethoven.

BP: With great pleasure, we have listened to your performances in several renowned concert halls. Have you got any preferences concerning the choice of the concert halls to perform in? 

AH: Naturally, it will be Wigmore Hall and Royal Albert Hall.

BP: We will keep our fingers crossed, we are convinced you will succeed and your dreams will come true.

AH: Well, I have just been invited to perform in the Royal Albert Hall in the summer this year, this is surprising news for me and my fans, therefore, I invite all British Poles readers for my piano recitals.

BP: Thank you so much for the invitation and we are going to attend the concert and write the review. Please accept our sincerest congratulation for your successes – we are proud to have such a talented and renowned pianist among Polish diaspora.

 

Interview: Maria Byczynski

Translation: Jolanta Pitera

Pictures: Facebook of Artur Haftman

 

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