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Pianist Alexander Palei:
“Moldova is my homeland”

Alexander Palei is well-known all over the world. He is a talented band-master and a masterly performer of classical music. When he left the Republic of Moldova, his talent impressed spectators from the USA, France, Germany, Australia and England. Now he gives concerts all over Europe. The schedule of concerts is made for some years ahead. But, in spite of being always busy, Alexander Palei comes to Moldova every year to participate in the International Festival of classical music entitled “Spring Harmonies", and his concerts attract huge audience. This year he gave a free concert. Alexander brilliantly performed F. Liszt’s sonata "B minor" as well as “Goldberg Variations" by Bach which are rarely played by pianists because of the polyphonic complexity and duration. Welcome magazine have decided to make acquaintance of genius performer Alexander Palei.

Welcome: Alexander, first of all we would like to thank you for the extraordinary concert which was full of spirituality and virtuosity. Also many thanks for giving two free concerts to Moldovan spectators this year. Could you, please, tell the reasons?

Answer: I was paid a return ticket. Usually well-known pianists do not give free concerts. But I love Chisinau with all my heart: I was born here, my childhood and my youth passed here. My friends and my relatives are here and I’ll never forget them. In recent years, I played with the National Symphonic Orchestra with Ion Josan who is the Director of the National Philharmonic Society. He paid me the honorarium, but I gave it to my friends and poor actors since I know how difficult life in Moldova is.

How many years ago did you leave Moldova?

It was 16 years ago, in 1988, these years were the most difficult in my life. I had to prove my professionalism to everybody, and to pass through official obstacles. As a result I had no time for my creative work, therefore I decided to leave.

It is known that your talent had been opened by Deborah Marelskaya, a teacher at the Chisinau musical school where you studied. Did you inherit your unique musical abilities from your parents?

My parents worked as ordinary ambulance doctors, they saved many people’s lives. We lived in an old house on Schiusev, 149. Today we warmly remember a small cosy yard after concerts.

Mozart showed his ability when he created his first musical composition at the age of three. But what about you?

Parents discovered my perfect pitch when I was 4. Everybody was surprised seeing my ability to reproduce a classical melody heard over the radio without effort. My parents were advised to send me to the musical school. I always studied with pleasure. When they bought a piano nobody could tear me away from the instrument.

When did you achieve your first success?

In 1984 I won the Grand-prix at the Bach’s International Contest held in Leipzig. Two other international awards followed suit two years later. Since then I received a lot of prizes.

Why did you leave Moldova in 1988?

I dreamed of playing several concerts made up of works of the best world composers. I wished to make at least one recording. But certain persons considered that I did not deserve it and created obstacles…

Why did you choose the USA?

This country gives talented people a possibility to realize themselves. At present 14 compact disks appeared and approximately the same number are being prepared with the help of companies such as “Essay”, “Maxos”, “Marco Polo”.

Last year you appeared in a new role as an orchestra conductor and at the same time you played the piano. You are trying to achieve new goals every year, aren’t you?

I dreamed of it for almost 10 years. I made my debut as the conductor for the first time in France. I have been the initiator of the world best pianists festival for many years.

Why did you choose Bach and Liszt at your last arrival?

My concert program contains compositions by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Scryabin, Prokofiev… But I always try to choose something more difficult. I do not prefer to be like everybody. I want to be better. Therefore I usually work 18 hours a day.

Do you have free time for private life?

I see my wife more often at the concerts than at home in America. My wife is Pay Van, a Chinese woman from Taiwan. She is an excellent pianist. In 1998, we appeared on the stage with a new joint program in Chisinau.

Where is it easier for you to play?

Of course, at my homeland. I have many friends here and I hope that everybody loves me.

What is Moldova for you now?

Moldova is my homeland. I always return here with a great pleasure. I am very grateful to the present Minister of Culture Veaceslav Madan for helping me in organizing concerts. I understand all his difficulties: less means are allocated for culture. This is not enough at all for buying new musical instruments and for paying salaries. But I believe that time will change the present situation for the better.

Thank you for the interview and good luck in your creative work!

By Elena Uzun

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