Since rising star Kian Soltani made his international breakthrough at the age of nineteen, he has played with the leading orchestras and conductors in the world’s most prestigious venues. Hailed as ‘a soloist of the highest level among the new generation of cellists’ after winning the International Paulo Cello Competition 2013 in Helsinki, his playing is revered for its technical mastery and emotional intimacy.
What inspired you to become a musician?
As I was born into a family of musicians, my first inspiration was my parents. I imagine I was listening to music every day, even before I was born. And so naturally I wanted to pick up an instrument as soon as I was able to do so. It later came as a surprise to me to find out that not every child has the luxury of knowing how to play a musical instrument, as this was the only reality I knew until that point.
From your perspective, what does Elgar’s Cello Concerto mean to you?
It really is one of the most important concertos we cellists have in our repertoire. It will of course forever be associated with the immortal Jaqueline du Pré and somehow I feel a personal connection to this concerto because of my intense collaboration with Maestro Daniel Barenboim who has told me many stories about du Pré, and with whom I had the immense honour of working on this piece. What an enriching experience!
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
There are three aspects that are crucial to living a happy and fulfilling life as a musician. The first is dedication; countless hours of practice and lessons and constant unforgiving work on oneself, knowing what you want and being ready to suffer to get there, both musically and technically. Secondly, humility. Always be open to constructive criticism, you are never done learning and you should never be too good to listen to an educated opinion. Don’t take your inspirations only from your classical peers, look into all kinds of music for inspiration. Lastly, it’s about being human. Support your friends and people around you and they will support you in return - grow together!