"Mystical" is the most accurate word to describe Kyiv - Castilla-Avila

Author : Agustin Castilla-Avila

Source : 112 Ukraine

I am ashamed that in those places where I live, we get so little information about Ukrainian culture - Spanish composer
09:45, 6 May 2016

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Kyiv, This not your first visit to Kyiv. Probably, you already have an impression about our city.

Agustin Castilla-Avila: I am happy to be here again. During my first visit, I fell in love with this city. As a child, I would associate Orthodox church with fairy tales. It makes me feel like I am in a magical place.

I expected to see a depressed city (and forgive me for it) because of the difficult situation that exists in your country. But I saw a city full of positive energy, a city where there are lots of things that you should definitely see. Walking city or having a cup of coffee with my dear colleagues and friends, whom I found here, it's kind of something beautiful. I learn so much about life in Ukraine. I am ashamed that in those places where I live, we get so little information about Ukrainian culture.

With which cities would you compare Kyiv? What is its feature? What, in your opinion, distinguishes it from other cities?

Kyiv has got a "strong personality," so it is difficult to compare it with other cities. Perhaps St. Petersburg. Love and respect for culture and the arts are very impressed me. Despite the difficulties and the sad situation in the country, it is inspiring to see young people who respond to all these issues with incredible creativity and hard work. I have seen is a huge potential for some explosion.

Which Kyiv halls have you visited? What your opinion about them?

I gave a master class in December, and just recently I have played in the Union of Composers. Everything was well organized. The audience accepted me with warmth and enthusiasm, and I am very grateful for that. I also have great pleasure to read lectures at the Academy of Tchaikovsky, Union of Composers of Ukraine, at the University of Arts in Kharkiv, and in ComeIn gallery (Kharkiv). I congratulate the organizers of these centers.

For a musician it is important to interact with the listeners. Have you had a strong contact with the Kyiv audience? Did you like how the audience take you?

Related: Ukrainian young musicians think different - Polozhynsky

Of course, for me it is very important. When I write music, it goes through the listener, who is a medium. When I play myself, the contact is more direct. My concert at the Union of Composers should consist of four plays that should be connected with improvisation. During the performance I felt the audience. I f felt eel like a member of a group that travels through music. The audience was so close to me that I only played two plays, and the rest was improvisation. For me, this performance was the highest point of concentration. And I could not endure it alone - I need a crowd. In Kyiv, I had 90 minutes of pure joy of the concert. 

I would also like to say about the criticism that I have received in Kharkiv. Usually I try not to pay too much attention to criticism. But this time it really touched me. Lyudmyla Shapovalova (Kharkiv musicologist) visited my two lectures and a concert performance of my works in Kharkiv. After the concert, she told me: "Now I see that the XXI century began."

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Kyiv is said to be a mystical city. Do you feel this mystique while walking? How do you think it will affect your creativity?

Yes, this is the most accurate word to describe Kyiv: mystical!

Each city has its own color and its matter. I love gold and blue (and green too) of the city. Olena Serova (composer, art critic, artistic director of the "Young Music" festival) and Albert Saprykin (composer, musician and organizer of festivals of classical music) showed me many beautiful places here. They told me in detail about the city, and when we stopped in front of a building, we discussed it in terms of architectural facts. Many parts of the city are just amazing.

In addition, it is difficult to find anywhere in the world such warm and cozy places like Kyiv cafes and restaurants. I love Ukrainian cuisine. I adore it!

Which places in Kyiv has impressed you the most?

In December, Olena Serova took me for a walk, we visited the cathedral. For a long time, I have been standing outside, listening to the bells. When I returned to Salzburg, I wrote solo for Funnel bells "Sobre el viento amarillo se abren las campanadas." In the fourth act of the play I really wanted to play the bells of the Volodymyr cathedral.

Would you agree to come to the Ukrainian capital again?

I look forward to it. I feel happy here. I hope that next time I can speak a little Ukrainian. Serova asked me to write a new play for the October project "Dances of the World." Again, I find exciting program. I'll write a play for microtonal guitar and string quartet.

Embassy of Spain is trying to put my opera "La Dulcinea de Don Quijote" with Anton Litvinov as director.

I also write a new piece for flute solo for Serhiy Vylka (Kyiv musician). He is an incredible performer. I'm so lucky that he performed my music in December!

I hope that I will be able to stay in close contact with this incredible cultural center. I also hope that the rest of the world will have a chance to see it.

Related: Ukrainian wins The Akademia Music Awards

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