The life of a musician is a bit like that of a world traveller. Living in Salzburg, the pianist Ariane Haering was in Perugia yesterday and will be in South America tomorrow. We meet her again in La Chaux-de-Fonds, in the music hall that is so dear to her.
«I enjoy coming back here. As a child, I used to give bouquets of flowers to the soloists at the end of the concerts. Later, I turned the pages of the scores of great pianists, and at the age of 14 I played my first concert with an orchestra here. I also recorded a CD of Mozart sonatas with the violinist Benjamin Schmid,» remembers Ariane, who grew up and studied in La Chaux-de-Fonds. «This city gave me everything I needed to follow my path as a pianist, whether it was the music college where I started playing the piano, the conservatory where I graduated and the secondary school which accepted me as an auditing student. Afterwards, I received a grant from Migros Culture Percentage for three years to finance my studies. All this has meant a lot to me.»
I like to play in small groups
After a year at the University of North Carolina and a first prize for virtuosity with the congratulations of the jury at the Lausanne Conservatory, the Swiss woman enjoyed a wonderful career as a soloist, which she put on hold in order to start a family and raise her four children. «I just did it naturally, because I had already lived an intense life as an accomplished musician,» explains Ariane Haering.
A successful comeback
Ariane Haering has been back in the spotlight for a few years now, encouraged by her mother-in-law and colleagues. In 2015, she embarked on the adventure of «Ariadita Duo» with pianist Ardita Statovci. A year later, she co-founded the Alban Berg Ensemble Wien, a septet that quickly made a name for itself thanks to the high quality of its performances. So much so that Deutsche Grammophon, arguably the most prestigious of music labels, has decided to produce at least three CDs with her. «It’s a real achievement and a great reward,» acknowledges Ariane Haering.
The first CD*, released in 2020 and which was to be combined with a series of concerts that was cancelled because of COVID-19, focuses on Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schönberg. «The works were written at the beginning of the 20th century, a pivotal time in Vienna,» explains the pianist. «The monarchy was still very much alive, but the modern world was beginning to emerge, whether in architecture or in the arts, with the Secession movement or with the birth of Freud’s psychoanalysis. All this ambivalence and transformation can be found in the works of these three composers.»
In addition to the pleasure of performing these pieces between two worlds, Ariane Haering also enjoys playing in a septet. «I really enjoy playing chamber music in small groups. The piano can be a solitary instrument, but for me the idea of sharing is very important. The fact that there is no conductor in our septet and that each musician dares to be equally involved seems crucial to me.»
Another advantage of a small ensemble is the clarity of play that can emerge from the works. «Although we lose the volume of sound of large ensembles, here each group of instruments can be heard perfectly, allowing the audience to better appreciate the composer’s intention.»
Finally, to reduce Ariane Haering to classical music would be to misunderstand the pianist. «My eclectic musical tastes and passion for challenges allow me to discover new horizons. I will soon be making a foray into jazz and popular music with singer Pascal Auberson and pianist and arranger Gaspard Glaus.» A production that will be featured next season. To be continued.
Information: The Alban Berg Ensemble Wien will perform in La Chaux-de-Fonds on 20 February 2022. The concert will be recorded by Espace 2.
* Available on www.exlibris.ch
Easy to say
A flat without a piano is ...
«Out of the question. If there isn’t one, I’ll bring an electric keyboard! I do the same when staying at hotels.»
A composer you would like to share a meal with?
«Johannes Brahms. He composed so many exceptionally complex works for the piano. I would like his help in unravelling the mystery.»
An instrument, other than the piano, that you could have fallen in love with ...
«The cello. I played it for a few years. I like low sounds and deep voices.»
A hero who changed your life ...
«The pianist Alfred Brendel. He gave me one of my most intense musical sensations in concert.»
A quality you admire in others ...
A talent you would love to have ...
«Being able to draw.»
You would like to die ...
«Surrounded by loved ones.»
You would like to be reincarnated ...
«As a cat, sleeping, purring, playing, listening, eating, watching and loving.»
Happiness is ...
«The first ray of sunshine on a new morning.»
Photos/stage: © Guillaume Perret/Lundi13