Montreal

An encounter at the piano with Chilly Gonzales

Arts reporter Jeanette Kelly chatted with the music producer and composer about his public persona and the pop-inspired classical string quartet pieces on his new album, Chambers, recorded with the Kaiser Quartet.

Montrealer melds pop and Bach influences in his string quartet

Chilly Gonzales and Kaiser Quartett on the set of Q. (Pascal Chiarello/CBC)

Chilly Gonzales takes to the stage in bathrobe and slippers — all the better to draw attention to his kind of pop-inspired classical music.

Arts reporter Jeanette Kelly chatted with the music producer and composer about his public persona and the pop-inspired classical string quartet pieces on his new album, Chambers, recorded with the Kaiser Quartett

The self-described "musical genius" explains why he plays up his Chilly persona.

"It's complicated. When I get up on stage or when I'm doing an interview and there's a microphone or cameras I become a fantasy. I try to live out my fantasy of being a musical genius. When the microphones are off and I'm walking home, I'm reminded that I'm not a musical genius. So fantasies are important to music. A persona is not something invented. It's a version of me that I'd like to be," he said.

Gonzales lives now in Cologne, Germany but still has deep roots in Montreal.

"So many important milestones of my life happened here and in Cologne I'm fundamentally still a tourist. My parents were Jewish Hungarians who were forced to leave where they lived because of stuff happening in Germany actually. So there is some poetic element to me living in Germany and finding my career there," he said.

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