A career in music: exclusive interview with Adrian Pinzaru

Frequent guest soloist or chamber music violinist with prestigious concert associations like the Musikverein Wienn, Konzerthaus Wienn, Berlin Philharmonie, Berlin Konzerthaus and Unione Musicale di Torino, Adrian Pinzaru often performs as guest concertmaster or first viola for orchestras like the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Neuss, Symphony Orchestra  of the Liceu Opera Barcelona and Orchestra Filarmonica Toscanini. First violin for the Delian Quartet and for NEXT - New Ensemble Xenia Turin, Pinzaru plays a 1699 Giovanni Battista Rogeri violin.

At the Accademia di Musica Adrian Pinzaru teaches pre-academic and advanced courses in violin, as well as holding masterclasses during the Musica d'Estate summer campus. As part of our section A Career in Music, we interviewed him to ask what advice he would give to our students, who are set to become the future generation of music professionals.  



What were the key experiences that marked your development and training as a musician? At what time of your life did they take place? Why were they significant?

First and foremost, I believe that a musician’s training does not end when they graduate from music school: it goes on forever. That said, for me the most significant event was changing countries. I studied in Rumania until I was 18, following a study pathway that was very different from the Italian system, which I then had to come to terms with. This change, so radical and so sudden, forced me to grow as a person and, as a result, as a musician. In Rumania we were told exactly what we had to do, in precise detail. In Italy, on the contrary, personal choices are considered to be the basis of the artistic experience, which meant that I was forced to radically change my approach and method of work, and thus to take giant steps forward in maturing as a musician.


Can you describe one or two turning points in your career? What impact did they have on your career? Why were they important?

I attended a masterclass with Dora Schwarzberg in Goslar, in Germany. After a concert that had gone quite badly, where we played Schumann’s Piano Quintet, Dora called me to a meeting in her hotel, along with all the other students at the course. She was sitting at a round table and told me to sit beside her, asking the others to sit around the same table. When we were all seated, she turned to me, gazed into my eyes and said: “I have to apologize to you.” I stared at her in astonishment and asked her why. She went on: “I have deluded you by telling you that you are a good musician, because I was deluding myself when I told you that you had talent. Actually, it isn’t true and so I have to apologize to you. A person with talent, over all these years, would have changed their sound, but you haven’t, so …” Needless to say, when I heard these words my world fell apart. I lay awake all night thinking of what Dora had said and trying to imagine what I would do with my life, since, without talent, I couldn’t really consider continuing to work as a musician. Well, probably because I don’t have much imagination, no alternatives came to mind and so, around six in the morning, I took my violin down to the basement and began, slowly and laboriously, to work on bow/string contact and on lowering my right shoulder. Before long, something in my sound changed and, two years later, Dora asked me to be her assistant.

Adrian Pinzaru violin courses


Often our mistakes teach us important lessons. If you could go back in time in your career what would you do differently?

I would say, nothing. Thanks to my mistakes I have learned a great deal; in fact, I am the person I am today mainly thanks to those errors. For example, if I perform well in a concert, by the time I get to my hotel I’ve already forgotten about it – well, almost. Often my mind is focussed completely on my early morning flight the next day. But what I feel is completely different if a concert goes badly: processing a poor performance mentally takes a lot longer and is more complex, and it often leads you to make important changes in the way you study a certain piece or even in your approach to how you play music in general.


Along a musician’s career path there are always many important decisions to be made and these often depend on and result from the opportunities that are offered to them. What helped you to stay focused and not to lose sight of your goals?

I agree. You have to be ready to take the opportunities offered to you and that’s not always easy. Being ready means understanding when an opportunity is right for you and having the right artistic preparation to take advantage of it. The thing that helps me to keep my focus is the motivation that lies behind my decisions. I love working as a musician, not so much because it offers me opportunities to forge a career path, but because of what music means for me: it is a tool for self discovery and self development.


Apart from studying with great passion and dedication, what advice would you give to young musicians who are starting out on a career in music?

There’s only one thing I feel I can advise: never be afraid to make your own choices. Whatever they are. If you live in fear of making mistakes, of not being good enough to face the situations you find yourself in, then you’re not really living. It’s just time wasted and opportunities missed. An artist who never makes choices is no artist. So you must never fear anything, except fear itself.



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