Free Press Journal

Ukrainian pianist Dinara Klinton: I have deja vu as music triggers a feeling that I have lived in the past


Ukrainian pianist, Dinara Klinton, speaks to Shikha Jain about her musical journey and more ahead of her performance in Mumbai in the following week

Storytelling is an art. And musical storytelling is taking it a step ahead. But when your audience are children, it requires a lot of skill – after all, you don’t want them to get bored and walk out on you! Keeping them engaged, and entertained, is of utmost importance. And Dinara Klinton manages to achieve that with her musical storytelling, called Screen and Score, a wonderful way of narrating a tale that will surely leave the young audiences mesmerized.

Cinema in Concert is a symphonic fairy tale with a perfect blend of education and entertainment. The story will be told through animation, with Dinara on the piano simultaneously. Dinara is an active concert performer and recently completed the Artist Diploma in Performance course at the Royal College of Music, UK.

How the journey began

Dinara’s mother was a school piano teacher, so they had a piano at home, which she started showing interest in from a very young age. By the age of three, she was able to play the melodies she had heard on television. Initially, her mother wasn’t keen on Dinara pursuing a musical career, knowing how hard a performing artiste’s life is. But having understood her daughter’s interest in piano decided to take her to a special music school for an assessment.

I have to say I was lucky to be born in Kharkiv, as this city has quite a serious piano school started, among others, by Regina Horowitz, sister of famous pianist Vladimir Horowitz. This was, probably, the main reason why my mother decided to try piano education for me, provided I had a talent, as she wanted me to get a good education,” says Dinara.

The main source of inspiration for Dinara are her own reactions to the outer world – nature, landscapes, architecture, arts, people, situations, and challenges. “When I learn a new work, I try to connect the meaning behind the music to my past experiences. Sometimes when I hear a piece, I have kind of deja vu, as that music triggers a feeling that I have lived in the past,” says Dinara.

By Emil Matveev (4’33”)

Magic piano and the Chopin Shorts

The Chopin Shorts are four short animations – Plink!, Papa’s Boy, Hamster’s Heaven and Fat Hamster – made using different techniques, based on pianist Frederick Chopin’s Etudes (etude is a French term, which means study). ‘Plink!’ (Etude op. 10 No.4) tells about how a birth of a child can expand an artist’s vision. ‘Papa’s Boy’ (Etude op. 25 No. 9) is about a son who didn’t want to take a path that his father chose for him, but decided to do what he was passionate about. ‘Hamster’s Heaven’ (Etude op. 10 No. 11) is a cute love story with a happy end. ‘Fat Hamster’ (Etude op. 25 No. 8) is a humorous story of what not disciplining oneself can lead to.

The ‘Magic Piano’ is longer and is accompanied by nine of the Chopin Etudes. It is a story about dedication, attachment, kindness, despair, and an internal personal development. A young girl that means a world to her father has to stay in Warsaw with her aunt, while the dad goes to work in London. The wretchedness of a girl drives her to take a long journey to meet her father, and during this journey, she transforms as a person. It is a very beautiful story and can be enjoyed by adults and children alike.

The core

As a kid, she would read really a lot of fairy tales. The media has developed a lot since then, and the information that can reach kids’ minds is horrifyingly vast. What she made the most of the stories she heard or read as a young girl was an experience that she already had before having similar situations in her life. Such stories made a firm guideline for her behavior, together with the family and school education. She thinks it is very important that books and films teach children to be kind, loving, considerate, ready to help and respectful. 

Life and profession

Since she started playing very early, and on a professional level, she doesn’t remember her life without the piano. “I guess, it’s not a part of my life, but it’s a core of my life now and my personality and habits had to build around it. I do, however, hope to be involved in some other activities when I have more free time. I think, for an artist, it is very important to constantly experience new emotions in order to make their art live – that’s what ‘Plink!’ teaches us!” says Dinara.

She is most familiar with classical piano and widely performs solo and as a soloist with orchestras. She also hopes to learn to improvise high-quality jazz one day. “What strikes me most about Chopin’s music is the amount of love, passion, darkness, sorrow, struggle and tenderness comprised in the most noble and sometimes, introvert shell,” says Dinara

Dinara will conduct special piano workshops for children (8-10th std) in the city’s eight best schools (two schools per day) between June 12 to 15. A short screening of Magic Piano and an interactive session with Dinara will follow this. There will be two public shows scheduled on the June 17 and 18 respectively at St. Andrews.