Skip to main content

An Interview with Alexander Gavrylyuk

10 November, 2020

Having last played alongside the Sydney Symphony in 2018, piano virtuoso Alexander Gavrylyuk sat down with our Gold Partner, Theme & Variations Piano Services to reflect on his first time with an orchestra at the age of 9, the book that changed his life and what it takes to find the perfect piano.

It was at the tender age of nine that Alexander Gavrylyuk realised music could be profound.

He had learnt Bach’s Concerto No. 5 in F Minor, studiously, in the classroom and now sat before an orchestra for the first time. As he began to play, he found himself transfixed: “I had no idea how moving an experience music could be … I was a child, I didn’t know what to expect and it was really quite powerful.” So this is what it meant to be a musician!

Ten years later, as a teenager in Australia, Gavrylyuk was given as a gift a book – an acting method by Konstantin Stanislavski. Stanislavski’s words spoke to him: “the search for artistic truth … allowing yourself to be this kind of prism through which you let the natural flow of art pass to the audience.” It was another turning point. Suddenly, Gavrylyuk understood that art had meaning, and engaging with the emotional content of music made him feel passionate about his craft in a whole new way. It was then that he committed to the notion of being a performer.

Now 36, Stanislavski’s philosophy still shapes Gavrylyuk’s approach to music. To him, music lies in the space between the notes, for that is where the poetry and meaning behind a piece emerge. To find that space, the facility to feel completely free, is paradoxically dependent on establishing a firm foundation. To Gavrylyuk that means not merely learning the notes, but understanding the composer, their background and the environment in which a piece was composed. It is this groundwork which allows him to “let go completely of control, to allow the music itself to take you forward, so the music becomes the leader and you’re only there not to interfere with it.”

What Gavrylyuk strives for, is for music to resonate on a spiritual and emotional plane. This is the metaphysical dimension of music which is only achievable if physics has first been broached. Gavrylyuk takes this idea quite literally, seeking an instrument that has been well tuned (frequency), has hammers that are well prepared (density) and has an even keyboard (weight). In Sydney, he is grateful to work with Theme & Variations Piano Services who understand that, “a slight tweak in mechanics can mean a mile more in terms of the spiritual or emotional reach of a concert.” Tireless preparation that should go unnoticed, the audience recipients, only, of honest art: Stanislavski would be pleased.

Celebrating their 35th anniversary, Theme & Variations Piano Services is Sydney’s premier piano store and proud sponsor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Specialising in new and used pianos for sale, plus piano related services including piano tuning, repairs and restorations.