Aleksandra Świgut, VeloTalent program grantee, talks about the program, her passion and her dreams

Aleksandra Świgut is a pianist who teaches at the University of Music in Warsaw. Thanks to the VeloBank scholarship, she has a chance to fulfil her dream of recording an album with an orchestra.

Aleksandra Świgut – interview with the grantee of the VeloBank program

Your Style: What is VeloTalent, a program you became a part of?

Aleksandra Świgut: It is a pioneering program of VeloBank, of which I am the first beneficiary. The idea of the project is to support young and talented professionals who have been active on the market for some time, but still could use both general and marketing support. I dreamed of recording an album with an orchestra, and this is an expensive and difficult project. Collaboration with a symphony orchestra that has such a complex structure is not an easy task. A lot depends on the agreement with the conductor, who not only coordinates and disciplines the artists, but above all establishes relationships, inspires, influences the musicians’ sensitivity and gives direction in terms of interpretation. Establishing a collaboration with such a large  group of artists, opening up to their message, building trust and creating a coherent interpretation required energy, concentration and self-discipline from everyone involved in the project.

How does the VeloBank’s program help here?

The classical music market still unfairly remains a niche that struggles with getting through to a mass audience. VeloTalent is aimed at helping me shape my image and strengthen my audience through promotional activities. For this reason I participated in a training in public speaking, media communication, as well as in a meeting with a stylist and a financial expert. The world of classical music operates on different principles than the world of pop culture. Its specific atmosphere was perfectly portrayed in the film “Tár” with Cate Blanchett. In this world one has to abandon his/her ego, follow the composer’s will, annihilate oneself.

While you like performing in beautiful dresses that attract attention.

I am an aesthete. I like interesting outfits and expressive colours, I would like my clothing to be works of art. I believe that a beautiful outfit enhances the aesthetic experience and then the image becomes distinctive. Beautiful styling gives me self-confidence, courage and allows me to express my femininity. I also do it out of respect for the audience members who want to feel special when attending a concert.

Do you manage your social media profiles on your own?

I manage every aspect of my career, which is a burden and leaves little time to maintain my musical skills at the highest level. I am active on social media, but it is not my natural way of communication. I had to learn it – I am inherently shy and have no need to share my privacy. I separate my private space from the professional one. My profession is, as a matter of fact, highly schizophrenic – on stage I vent emotions that I cannot express in my private life. And in my private life I am like a soldier on the battlefield. Emotions are kept under maximum control. My middle name is “discipline”.

You are said to be a musical rebel. What does it mean exactly?

Rebellion is vivid in me on many levels. I do not agree with the shallowness of culture, refuse to accept anything that is tacky and that the message is getting more and more primitive. The problem is that these days people who are being promoted, often do not have much to offer. Pop culture is based on prying and strong and controversial messages about private life. I try to base my art on competence, hard work and values. My rebellion also refers to objecting to the conservative approach of the academic community which sometimes suppresses the young generation of musicians and does not allow them to spread their wings. Education should keep up with the rapidly changing reality. Nowadays it is not enough to master a piece flawlessly in accordance with the criteria approved by a group of experts to make one’s art attractive to the public. Authenticity and one’s own style can be achieved only by discovering one’s own emotions. Our personality is the best fuel for art. I am not interested in rigid principles of interpretation. I reflect on the sounds of Chopin and Grieg, but it is a story about me.

Is this also what you teach your students at the University of Music?

Absolutely. Of course, we work on the technique – it is impossible to convey emotions without proper tools, but I incorporate work on imagination and this way I influence not only the intellect but above all the spirituality of young people, which is a very neglected area these days. Teaching at the University of Music in Warsaw is a great honour for me. I believe that this is an extremely necessary and responsible task that comes with a lot of satisfaction.

Can classical music be understandable for people without a proper musical training?

Yes, of course. The only entry card is sensitivity which might be enriched and intensified by this kind of music. Classical music is much more complex than the genres serving as an entertainment, it is necessary to get more involved when listening to it, but in return it gives thousands of shades of one emotion that are difficult to be expressed in words.

Your sister is a violinist, you are a pianist. Are your parents musicians as well?

Music making was natural in my family. My mother sang in the choir, my grandfather played the accordion, and my uncle played the bassoon. These family music traditions resonated deeply in us. My sister is a violinist at the Royal Stockholm Opera. We owe everything primarily to the dedication of our mother who made sure that we could pursue our dreams. My mother is my greatest authority.

What do you usually do to relax?

Giving concerts is exhausting, and I spend my free time constantly expanding my repertoire. I approach my profession in a broad way. Being an artist requires not only emotional intelligence but also hard physical work. Paradoxically, sport is close to the type of art I do. I need to keep my body in good shape to prevent burnout. I run a lot, go to the gym, dance. I like movement. Music is my life. Recently I have heard a beautiful sentence: science subjects – mathematics, economics, philosophy – teach how to think but music teaches how to love. I would like to share this love with people for the rest of my life.,aid,6435,pr