Accordions Worldwide Celebrity Interview, Pavel Mangasaryan, Russia
Celebrity Interviews

Interview with Pavel Mangasaryan, 6th June 2004 at Auckland, New Zealand.
Moderator: Wallace Liggett

Pavel was the winner of the 2003 Coupe Mondiale International Competition for Piano Accordion run by the CIA. First prize for this class included a trip to Australia and New Zealand to be the Guest Artist at both the Australian Accordion International Championships run by the AATA and the South Pacific Accordion Championships run by the NZAA.


Q. Pavel, we would like to find out about you as a person, could you begin by telling us where you were born?
A. I was born in 1977 at the Russian city of Saratov which is on the Volga River about 800 kilometres from Moscow. (it is aproximately half way between Moscow and the Caspian Sea)

Q. Although music must occupy most of your time and attention, could you tell us about any other interests you have?
A. Some of my leisure time is occupied by listening to music, I enjoy classical music and also some jazz. I enjoy reading, and among my more active interests are fishing, football (soccer) and table tennis. Travel is both interesting and enjoyable for me.

Q. Going back to your childhood, do you have memories you could relate from this time?
A. I have mainly memories of my school friends many of whom I have maintained contact with. This is now very difficult as a number of them have moved to various locations around lthe world.

Q. You must have memories of your parents, would you tell our readers about them?
A. My parents live in Saratov, my father is an auditor and he met my mother while they were both studying at the same institution. My mother has the same profession as my father. They have both encouraged me in my musical career. I have two sisters, one of whom learned accordion for a short time.

Q. Do you have any other family?
A .Yes, I am married and five months ago my wife and I became parents of a baby boy.

Q. When and why did you commence playing the accordion?
A. An uncle had left his accordion in our house and at about seven years of age I started to teach myself how to play it. Not until I reached about ten years of age did I commence taking lessons.

Q. Do you remember about your first teacher?
A. Yes, he was a Mr. Kiselyov and he taught mainly Russian folk music.

Q. How did your music education continue?
A. Sometime later while attending school I was enrolled at a music academy where a Mr. Gromov became my instructor. In Russia students may attend the usual academic school for part of the day and then a specialized music school for a further part of the day.

Q. In these early days, young people often find it difficult to practice, how was it with you? Did other interests effect your practice?
A. At this time I had much homework from school and I also enjoyed playing chess, but I found time to practice. When I entered competitions I practiced more.

Q. Where have you studied most recently?
A. I have recently completed my doctorate in music at the Gnessin Institute in Moscow. Here my teacher was Professor Semionov, who I hold in very high regard.He established formal studies for the accordion and bayan, gathering information from a wide range of sources and organizing this into a comprehensive course of study.I feel it a priveledge to have studied with him for the past three years.

Q. What are your present qualifications and ambitions for your musical career?
A. I have completed the Doctor of Music course and this has resulted in my recent appointment as a teacher at the Music Conservatory in my home town of Sarov.

Q. Our readers would be interested in your various successess on the accordion and places where you have performed?
A. I have over the years won competitions in Russia but my proudest moments were when I was placed third in an international contest in St. Petersburg and the greatest for me was winning the piano accordion contest at the Coupe Mondiale in 2003. I have performed in many venues in Russia and most recently have enjoyed the oppurtunity to perform in Sydney Australia and Auckland New Zealand. (Editors Note --- Pavel received enthusiastic standing ovations at both concerts he performed in these countries.)

Q. Do you have any interesting or amusing incidents that have occurred while you have been a musician?
A. One comes to mind, while at a conservatory of music we the students gave recitals and were required to practice with single minded attention. One of our teachers expected us to concentrate and not be distracted by anything. To test one student (fortunately not me) he actually tossed a stone in the window of a room where the student was practicng to check if this would distract him in any way.

Q. How do students finance their studies in Russia at this time?
A. There are still scholarships for tuition for many students but only for top students are living allowances also paid.

Q. What oppurtunities are there for musicians to make a living in Russia today?
A. Many would have to rely on teaching but there are other oppurtunities such as playing in Philharmonic Society Orchestras and even providing music at Dance Institutes as well as some for entertaining and concert performances.

Q. Is there anything you would like to say to our readers before closing?
A. I have enjoyed my travel to this part of the world (Australia and New Zealand) and would like to thank Harley Jones and Tania Lukic-Marx for their efforts to make my stay both possible and rewarding for me.
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