BEHIND THE SCENES: Interview with Benyamin Nuss
Benyamin Nuss, Pianist
CLAUDIA: Where are you from originally?
BENYAMIN: I’m originally from Cologne in Germany.
CLAUDIA: How old were you when you started playing the piano?
BENYAMIN: I actually started playing the piano from when I first managed to touch the keys on the piano but started taking lessons when I was six years old.
CLAUDIA: Who were your greatest artistic influences?
BENYAMIN: I try to get inspired by everything and listen to as much music as I can. But my greatest influences are my Dad, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Claude Debussy, and Maurice Ravel. Recently I am listening to a lot of Japanese music. Regarding pianists my favorites are Sviatoslav Richter, Vladimir Horowitz, Evgeny Kissin and Grigory Sokolov.
CLAUDIA: Was there one performance you attended as a kid that inspired you or is particularly memorable?
BENYAMIN: My former piano teacher brought me to concerts of big pianists like Arcadi Volodos or Maurizio Pollini and my dad brought me to concerts of the WDR Big Band. I think that were the biggest inspirations I can remember.
CLAUDIA: I understand you recorded a few Final Fantasy CD’s. Can you describe the process?
BENYAMIN: For my Solo-Album I listened to all the music Nobuo Uematsu has ever composed and picked out pieces which were listened to a lot, like “Liberi Fatali” and “A place to call home” and pieces from Videogames which weren’t so famous like “Final Fantasy” like “Blue Dragon” and “Lost Odyssey”.
CLAUDIA: Which composers do you enjoy performing in addition to Nobuo Uematsu?
BENYAMIN: I like impressionistic composers such as Debussy, Ravel but also often perform works by composers like Liszt, Chopin, and Beethoven.
CLAUDIA: Do you also play chamber music in addition to the solo and concerto repertoire?
BENYAMIN: Yes, I think it’s a good experience to play in different ensembles and groups. Sometimes I play duo with a clarinet or in a trio and a saxophonist and I even have our own jazz band which we perform with in Germany.
CLAUDIA: What do you remember most about the Final Fantasy performances?
BENYAMIN: The incredible audience, the incredible atmosphere the music which brings everyone together.
CLAUDIA: Would you consider yourself a gamer?
BENYAMIN: Yes, I have been gaming since I was a kid and still always buy the latest Final Fantasy game when it comes out. I also like to play FIFA and GTA.
CLAUDIA: Is anyone in your family?
BENYAMIN: Actually my dad was the one who introduced me to videogames. When I was small I always watched him play GameBoy and even later when he played games like Diablo and Diablo 2 me and my brother always watched.
CLAUDIA: How did you meet Arnie Roth and Nobuo Uematsu?
BENYAMIN: I first met them at the Symphonic Fantasies Concert which took place in Germany in 2009 where compositions of Nobuo Uematsu, Yoko Shimomura, Hikori Kikuta and Yasunori Mitsuda were performed.
CLAUDIA: Can you describe the concert atmosphere?
BENYAMIN: I think it was the first VGMusic concert I attended and I was totally impressed and overwhelmed by the audience reaction to the music. They were so concentrated and quiet when the music was played and when the piece ended they were screaming and clapping like crazy. I had never experienced something like this before.
CLAUDIA: What else did you notice that wasn’t typical in a classical concert audience?
BENYAMIN: They’re more emotional and they really come to the concert to listen to the music.
CLAUDIA: Do you have any upcoming CD Releases and performances?
BENYAMIN: Next year I want to release a CD with exotic classical music featuring composers like Debussy, Ginastera, Villa-Lobos and also Masashi Hamauzu etc. and I’m going to have several performances with orchestra featuring Gershwin’s and Ravel’s Piano Concerto