Alexander Tselyakov (Kent) Daniel Tselyakov (Kent)
Every parent wants their child to be better than they are. Such is the case with world- renowned classical pianist and professor of piano, Alexander Tselyakov and his son Daniel. They both play piano and are appearing as part of the Clear Lake Chamber Music Festival.
SCENE asked Alexander and Daniel Tselyakov some questions about their working relationship as well as being father and son.
Daniel, what's one thing you've learned from your Dad?
One thing I've learned from my Dad and has often been preached to me is that to become a pianist; 80 per cent needs to be hard work, the rest is talent. Talent is not enough to make it in the competitive music world, you have to work hard. The other thing that has been preached to me is the importance of making goals for yourself and to have perseverance, not to give up until you have reached those goals.
Alexander, what's one thing you've learned from your son?
When you are performing together, how do you keep it professional and not slide into your father and son relationship?
Sometimes something happens; we have contrasting musical and artistic ideas that clash which always happens between musicians, but when it comes to performance time we let all our problems fly out the window and just play. We lose ourselves to the music and the moment of the performance and next thing you know we have forgotten about the little problems.
Do you become competitive with each other when it comes to the piano (how does it manifest)?
Daniel: We never really are competitive with each other more than with ourselves. Since my Dad is a distinguished pianist who has a wide range of experience and knowledge, I usually come to him for guidance and so that kind of competitiveness doesn't usually happen between teacher and pupil.
Alexander, what's one thing you see in your son that reminds him of you?
When I see my son play, I see myself when I young.
Daniel, what's one thing you see in your dad that reminds him of you?
One thing I've been told a lot was that my body, arm and hand movements when performing are close to what my Dad does at the piano when he is performing.
Alexander, if you had to change careers, what would you do?
In my childhood I wanted to be a cellist. I wouldn't want to change my career as a musician since it has been part of my life since the very beginning. If I had to change path right now I would want to travel around the world more and to see beautiful places where I haven't been yet.
Daniel, if you didn't pursue music what would you have done instead?
Coming out of high-school I've grown a fascination for math, calculus, and physics. Also at one point in my child-hood I wanted to become a soccer player which has slowly diminished even though I still play weekly at a non-competitive league.
Daniel and Alexander, when the two of you are working together, what's one thing that bugs you both about each other?
Daniel: For me one thing that has bugged me about my Dad was the constant reminders and things my Dad would say more than once. Sometimes when I am practicing I can hear in my head my Dad correcting me. But later it does pay-off, and usually I hear those words being told from other people. Also one thing I find nice working with my father is that we're constantly bouncing off musical ideas off of each other and there's no boundaries. We just let our imaginations fly which usually creates a beautiful musical synchronicity, which would be much more difficult to do with other people because there's unfamiliarity and invisible boundaries which always takes time to get past.
Alexander: Knowing all the secrets for professional musical growth I would like to give all of my experience, and advice to my son, but sometimes he ignores it because he wants to go his own way and get his own experience.
At home, who gets to practice first on the piano?
We don't have a problem with who gets to practice on the piano since one of us can simply drive to the School of Music, my Dad's studio to practice which is convenient.