Anastasia Rizikov Discusses Her Love Of The Piano!
Anastasia Rizikov is a 15-year-old classical pianist from Toronto, Canada. Her incredible musical abilities have won her coveted piano titles around the world.
The young pianist spoke to us about her love for the instrument and her experiences sharing her music with international audiences!
Anastasia Rizikov has been playing the piano for a decade. She started when she was just 5, and was first inspired to learn to play by her grandmother, a pianist and piano teacher.
"She was always teaching lessons and I was very inspired by her," Anastasia said. "One day I just came up to her and I asked for lessons."
Anastasia had spent much of her time as a child with her grandmother, which helped her love for the instrument grow.
"I think it was because I heard so much piano music around the house that I was so influenced by it that i just wanted to do it," she said.
She believes that if her grandmother had been a cellist of violinist, she would have wanted to start playing one of those instruments instead.
"But I don't know how good I would have been," Anastasia laughed. "I'm glad it happened to be piano."
Anastasia's piano skills developed quickly. She said that the most memorable moment of her career took place when she was just 7 years old, at a concert in Kiev, Ukraine.
Vladimir Horowitz had always been one of her idols, and she just won first place at the Vladimir Horowitz International Piano Competition.
"I was closing the gala concert with my premiere performance with orchestra," Anastasia said. "This experience was so new, interesting, and exciting for me."
When she was 12 years old, she entered the Rotary International Piano Competition in Mallorca, Spain.
Anastasia entered the competition in a category that pitted her against competitors up to 28 years old. She was the youngest person to compete in that category in the history of the competition.
"They were all students at universities and different conservatories, and many of them were already teaching," Anastasia said. "It may have seemed a bit overwhelming to see all these adults but I was so young I didn't even take that into account."
Anastasia entered the competition just to participate, and never dreamed she would win. She took home the first place prize.
Anastasia's piano career has allowed her to travel around the United States to locations including New York, Chicago and Washington. Different concert tours have also allowed her to travel throughout Canada and Europe, including Spain, Italy, Russia and the Ukraine.
Anastasia returned to Mallorca the following year after winning a concert tour. This time, she didn't have to focus on a competition and was allowed to just enjoy the incredible Spanish island.
"That was an amazing experience because I got to see so much of the city," she said. "It's a very historic city and there is so much to do. It's the most memorable place I've visited."
While Anastasia is known for her classical performance, she is also a lover of jazz music, and though there isn't much of it on her iPod, she enjoys some pop music, too.
"As a musician who plays such music that allows you to analyze any type of music, I can basically freely go into any genre and know exactly what it is I'm doing, including pop music," she explained.
Anastasia's favorite pop artist is Lady Gaga.
"There's so much about her that makes her unique," Anastasia explained. "She's an amazing musician, and an excellent pianist. She was actually a child prodigy herself as a child, then she switched off to singing and acting."
And just like Anastasia, Lady Gaga has a background in jazz piano.
"I have so much respect for her because she's an artist that has experienced so many musical genres," Anastasia said. "She's just a wonderful artist and a full package, and I think that's very important."
Asked if she had a favorite piece to play, she said it would simply be impossible to choose.
She also had two key points of advice for aspiring pianists.
"The first thing is, if you're being pushed by your parents, or by anyone for that matter, don't play piano unless you enjoy it," she said. "Essentially you have to be very passionate about what you do."
But if you do enjoy piano, she insisted that you shouldn't ever overdo it.
"You should never over practice," she said. "A lot of people say practicing a lot will make you better, but you have to take breaks occasionally. Practice for a half hour and then take a little break. It always helps to freshens your mind as well as your musical being."
She added that, if you love what you do, you will know exactly how much you need to practice.
Anastasia is also in the process of planning another concert tour in Europe, and in the future, Anastasia hopes to keep performing and see where that takes her.
"It's hard to get a career as a pianist right now," she said. "There's quite a lot of competition, but of course I would love to be a concert pianist."
We're confident that Anastasia will be able to pursue her goals and keep playing piano in the future!
Want to learn more about Anastasia Rizikov? Be sure to check out her social pages below! Also be sure to join us at Sweety High to tell us about your own musical ambitions!