Alon Petrilin is the winner of The Rafi Guralnik Prize for Piano in the 2016 Aviv Competition, and what better reason is there to have him as our Featured Artists of the Week?
What or who inspired you to want to be an artist?
Not anyone specific. I started playing at the age of 8 and treated it like a common after-school activity. But as I enjoyed it more, I invested myself in it more. I started participating in concerts and competitions and music became a part of me. Without intending to, I reached a state in which I just couldn’t live without the piano. It was the center of my life.
What was your creative journey that has brought you to where you are in your career today?
My creative journey usually has something to do with practicing the sense of perfection with myself, as I play. In piano playing, as in every art, self-criticism is there from the first moment, which is of course necessary and welcome. Having said that, it is very important that once you’re on stage you are completely whole with your performance, which comes from within you, from your heart. In other words, it’s important to have confidence in what you do, which isn’t trivial at all. But it can’t come without awareness to what you like, to what you’re thinking about while playing, to where you allow yourself to simply “flow” emotionally as opposed to where you have to keep it cold and logical. These nuances require skill, which comes with experience. I’ve attended national and international competitions from the age of 10. The preparation process, the performances (some better some less), made me who I am and continuously developed me. I was also always accompanied by very experienced teachers who really cared about me and are a huge part of the pianist that I am, as as artists and a person.
What do you need as an artist today?
I think, as I mentioned above, participating in as many competitions as possible. It’s necessary to my development as a pianist and as an artist, plus that’s the way for people to hear about you in the world of piano playing.
What creative project are you working on now?
I’m working on several things. One is the Jerusalem Music Academy’s program for excelling chamber ensembles, where I’m working in trio on an interesting chamber repertoire and I participate in concerts and competitions. Participating in this project, to which excelling students from the academy are selected, gives me my scholarship for studying in the academy this year.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 10 years?
Tough one. I have a few options in my head. But I’m not really thinking about it. You can never know.
What does it mean to you to be an Israeli artist?
It makes me proud. I’m happy to show there is culture and art in Israel to people who know the country only from the media and see just one side of life in it.
What does it mean to you to have an organization like the America-Israel Cultural Foundation supporting Israeli culture in the past 77 years?
It’s a blessed organization without which art in Israel wouldn’t be the same today. I can’t imagine the world of Israeli art, and especially Israeli classical music, without the AICF. It’s responsible for so many successes of Israeli art. It give oxygen to a huge amount of artists. Specifically, the Sharett Scholarship, which enables many artists to enhance their skills, which leads to their success worldwide. I myself am a recipient of this scholarship since 2012.