Polish pianist Frédéric François Chopin, who produced some of the greatest music of the early 19th century, was sworn to simplicity. It is this that contemporary Polish pianist Anna Lipiak swears by. As she plays the notes, it is her simplicity and sincerity that marks her performance. Lipiak began her multi-city India concert tour from New Delhi on Saturday. The 27-year-old, who has earned praise from several quarters for her “beautiful sound, control in pedalisation and phrasing, and a sense of confidence and natural poetic musicality”, will also perform in Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru. This is her first visit to India.
Lipiak has been revisiting Chopin, one of her favourites, his Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor — an important work of the Romantic era in three movements. Performing in India for the first time, Lipiak is curious and would love to know Hindustani music better — both as a listener and as a performer, she says. Her journey started at the age of five in a small Polish town called Zgorzelec. In Poland, children usually start playing when they turn seven. Lipiak showed a keen interest in piano even before she turned five. “I had a good hearing and unique sensitivity. My parents sensed I was gifted and encouraged me to go to music school,” she says.
The first 13 years of Lipiak’s musical journey continued with her very first teacher, Cezary Klos. Her second teacher, Greg Niemczuk, played a key role in developing her musical sensibility. “Because of him, I became a pianist,” says Lipiak. Later, she also learnt techniques from Alexei Orlovetsky, a Russian pianist.
While studying music at The Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, Lipiak collaborated with some of the best piano teachers in Poland: Prof Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron (the chairman of the jury at the biggest International Chopin Competition in Warsaw in Poland), Prof Jerzy Sulikowski and Greg Niemczuk.
Lipiak, who has performed 270 recitals in 13 countries in Asia and Europe, advises younger performers to “feel a composer’s emotions, first in you, that you could transmit it to the audience. To play music, you have to live and experience it in real”.