© 2019 Natalia Dogadina
FLYING COLORS INTERVIEW
Sergei Dogadin has won some of the most prestigious violin competitions, including the Joseph Joachim Intl. Violin Competition in Hannover (2015), the Singapore Intl. Violin Competition (2018), and the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, where he was awarded first prize and the Gold Medal in 2019.
You have won a number of major competitions- the Tchaikovsky, the Joachim, and the Singapore Competitions, among others. What comes to mind first when you talk about competitions?
Probably the most memorable moment is when you are sitting before the announce- ment of the results, waiting for the decision of the jury… this is a really special time. Somehow it feels a little like at the Olympic games, you know, like figure skaters for example, like someone waiting for their scores. It´s a very interesting feeling, and actually I miss it a bit right now, because I finished playing competitions. Tchaikovsky was the last one, and after that there isn´t really a place to go…
How do you prepare for yourself before a competition? Has that changed over the years?
Definitely. When I played my first big competition at age 19, I did not have a big repertoire, nor did I have experience in playing competitions. It´s of course completely different from playing concerts. You should prepare yourself like you are performing a concert, but the feeling is not the same, unfortunately. When I was 20, I spent many months, even more than a year, to prepare.
WFIMC Interview | 2020
Did he encourage you to go and play the Tchaikovsky again?
No, it was my own idea. After these eight years I felt that I had enough experience, and especially another type of experience. I felt like I had enough power to play on a different level than in 2011. But Kushnir was one, maybe the only one, who told me that it could be a good idea.
It must have been amazing to win, especially since not only in 2011, but also in 2015, no First Prize was given. What makes the Tchaikovsky Competition so special?
There are a number of things: History- like the Queen Elisabeth, during more than half a century, so many great names have won there. The Name of Tchaikovsky: especially for a Russian, at least once in a life you should feel the atmosphere, the intensity of this competition. The incredible, historical halls we have in Moscow and St. Peters- burg. The jury- there hardly can be a greater jury on any competition.
WFIMC interview | 2020
During the last few years, in Hannover and Singapore, since I had performed most of the repertoire many, many times before, it was much easier in some way. But that´s only one side of the medal. You have to think about responsibility, about risk... If you have won some big competitions and try another one, it might be much more difficult from the mental side.
But from competition to competition I spent less time preparing, and for the Tchaikovsky Competition last year I actually had very little time to get ready. Before the competition, I spent 2 weeks in Asia and Australia, with absolutely different programs, so only one week was left in Vienna to prepare. It was a quite difficult time, with my piano partner we practiced like crazy for 8 hours a day or even more, because one week is absolutely not enough! But despite this I felt quite secure, having gone through the experience many times.
It must have been so hard to decide to do the Tchaikovsky again- I cannot imagine your mindset, after winning 2nd Prize eight years before….
Many people told me I was crazy. Deciding after winning 2nd Prize (with no 1st prize awarded in 2011), to take part once again, many people said: “you don´t need to do this”. But on my mind was this: I spent a very intense eight years between the two competitions. I studied at many great music schools with great teachers: in Cologne with Mihaela Martin; and in Graz and Vienna with Boris Kushnir. I still study with him actually….
Interview : Florian Riem
Photography : © 2019 Natalia Dogadina
What is the most adventurous thing you’ve done in your concert life?
Last October, I should go to Japan on a tour organized by the Tchaikovsky Competition together with a big Japanese agency. But just a few months before I had signed a contract for concerts at the same time, and with a different Japanese agency. Usually this would lead to big conflicts, but somehow they could work it out and I managed to play more or less both tours. One time, though, I had to perform four concerts in 24 hours- two concertos, a recital, and chamber music. Oh, yes, and a taifun was passing through Japan on the same day as well….
Tell us three things in your luggage you can´t live without!
One: my concert dress and shoes. I rarely go on holiday, but when I do, I open my suitcase and there is no suit, I feel very uncomfortable.
Two: my violin: I cannot leave it at home, it always travels with me even when I don´t perform.
Three: my iPad, with my entire score library. Two years ago, my wife was still faxing scores around the world- not anymore today!
listen to Sergei Dogadin on Flying Colors:
How did you get through the past six months? Did you play online concerts? Did life change for you a lot?
I spent three months at home in Vienna with my family, with my wife and my two-and a half year old daughter. But during this time I also prepared a huge list of repertoire, music for two seasons. Then I went to play at an online festival in Armenia in July- first concerts after the beginning of the pandemic, albeit without audience. And in August, I played the very first concert at the Grafenegg festival. An incredibly emotional time, performing Brahms after such a long time without live concerts.