I don’t want to change anyone – Interview with Katica Illényi

Judit Szarvasházi has talked with the beautiful and talented Katica Illényi about her dreams, desires and work.

Everyone knows you as a violin artist, but the theremin is something new.

Theremin has been a part of my life for a few years. It’s so much like the human voice, so that’s why I like it. My first goal was to learn to play on this musical instrument, now the new challenge is to play on theremin as good as on violin.

Can you express yourself better with theremin?

I would rather say that I can play on theremin what I could not sing. It resembles to the human voice, such heights and depths can be played on this instrument and the theremin never runs out of air. I would like to perform a duet with a good male singer as if I were the female singer, but I would play on theremin. It’s a bit like my singing skills are going to be wider. I have never looked into any music sheet, what I hear, I can instantly play on theremin. This is the only musical instrument in the world that we can play on it without touching it. There is an electromagnetic field on both sides of the theremin between the antennas. I put my hands there and by moving my hands the tone and the volume of the theremin changes. The invisible tones have to be found in an invisible space. It is good to know a little Physics as well. I really enjoy it. It has started as a hobby. Although everything that I do on the stage has started as a hobby, except for the violin, and then these became a duty for me.

For you, practicing is like your work.

That’s right. It depends on me whether I start practicing at 10 o’clock or at 2 o’clock. This is the hardest thing, because there is nobody who warns me to do it. In fact, one day is too short, I need to practice playing on theremin and on violin and the singing every day. I am practicing a lot, because I am preparing for the January concert, where I’m going to tap-dance as well. I always go to bed in such a way that I didn’t do something that day, and this really disturbs me.

You have a complex thinking, you stand on the stage and you do everything.

Yes, I can set high goals, but then it is so good when I do it. When this happens, I am in an altered state of consciousness. I feel the same at concerts as well, the person does not realize the success and that everybody applauses. Everybody applauses me, but I do not realize this because I’m wondering what I’m going to say before the next song.

A long time ago there was the presenter and the artist, who performed. Now you’re doing everything in one person.

That’s why I cannot just grasp the joy at that moment.



And what about the end?

I feel the “what has happened” feeling at the end. What did I say? Did I do it well? I watch, I sit down, then I pack and think about this. The day of the concert and the preceding period have to be divided carefully. The most important thing is that I have to sleep the night before the concert. If I cannot sleep then I have less energy and this is the hardest thing. Then I am also thinking a lot. I think Michael Jackson went through this as well. I’m pretty sure that he was anesthetized many times because his mind could not rest. And this is very difficult.

Besides this, are you sleeping well?

Yes, but I cannot sleep well during the period which precedes the concerts, I always wake up and I start thinking. It is also very interesting what to eat at the day of the concert. I get used to eat pumpkin vegetable dish on the concert day. As long as I lived at home, my mom made it with little vegetable meatloaf. I’ve been vegetarian for 20 years and the first 10 years were so strict that I didn’t taste the fish soup. But now I have eaten fish in the last few years.

I suppose, besides nutrition, training is also very important for you.

Of course, it’s as compulsory as the daily practice. When I am practicing I am sitting all day long. When I am playing on violin or on theremin, I am sitting. This is intellectual work, so I have to do some physical work as well. And I don’t have power if I don’t use my muscles. I can incredibly weaken when I don’t have time to do sports. Therefore, I do sports at least three times a week.

Is there anything that you would do differently in your life?

Maybe, I’d be more dashing. I would find people, who I did not dare to speak to. What I missed was perhaps because I didn’t dare to ask for help and I honored the person too much. This kind of good manner and modesty often hindered me. It is worth to be a little bit pushy, but only in the positive meaning of the word. I would really recommend this to others.

Are you different now?

I am more courageous, but respect hinders me, I can put myself easily in the background, instead of finding the person with whom I want to play with or with whom I want to learn. In the same time I encourage young people not to put themselves in the background.

What are the characteristics that you don’t like in humans?

Hate and talking behind others back. People cannot put themselves through the daily problems and politics and this has an impact on their existence, their thoughts, their health and their relationships. People cannot accept that others think differently, but this would be very important, because many people live on Earth. And I hate boastfulness and egotism and the lack of basic moral norms.

What human value do you love?

The opposite of this, when someone can be natural. Being aware of yourself is also needed.

Do you believe that fate shapes your life or you are doing it?

I am sure that there are pre-ordered things that I cannot change, but there is the freedom of choice before every act. Don’t let yourself be influenced. I think that we have our destiny in our own hands. Though there are certain things that we cannot change. There are people with whom anything happens, they are always complaining and in the same situation another person won’t do that. It’s so weird, isn’t it? I am wondering how different we are. And if someone gets to the point that the person can accept others, together with their world view, the person will worry less. I don’t want to change anyone, I accept how that person is and that’s all.

Let’s talk about your present dreams and desires. What are your long- and short-term plans?

The “Theremin Christmas” Christmas CD and the recording of the “2016 New Year’s Concert” have been released recently. My desire is that to held a successful concert on the 14th of January 2017 which is going to be at the Congress Center. This is going to be a performance where I have invited those people who are very important to me personally and professionally as well, I can learn a lot from them and they also inspire me. It is obvious that my brother, Csaba, is also going to be there. I can thank him very much and it is terribly good that we have such a good relationship, which exists only between two siblings. There is no such relationship with any other person. Michelle Myrtill will also perform. Myrtill is a fantastic performer in jazz and in other genres as well. I respect her personally and professionally. I have also invited Árpád Pirovits, tap-dancer, who has received the second place in the world tap-dance championship. He is the leader of the country’s tap-dancers. I was really looking forward to playing with Péter Sárik, who is a jazz pianist, and his trio. Hajnal Magyar will also perform, who has created the Hajnal Magyar Singing Studio. She is the mentor for young talented people and she is also my mentor for sound training. I am very happy that we can provide free tickets to this concert for the musicians from the art schools, thanks to István Tarlós’ support, who is the mayor. I hope that we can contribute to their musical development.

About dreams. My only dream is to play with musicians who inspire me. I have achieved so many beautiful things in my life. I hope I can do this as long as I want. I have no boss, I’m not a subordinate. My only enemy is time, so that I can divide it well. If there is a goal and there is a deadline I can divide my time well. I always wish for myself to have opportunities according to my preparedness and of course good health. Recently I had a concert in Vietnam. I did the opening concert of the “European Union in Vietnam” with the Vietnam’s National Symphony Orchestra conducted by the Japanese conductor Tetsuji Honna in Hanoi. I held a violin and piano concert with István Bundzik in Saigon. I arrived at home with unforgettable, lifelong experiences, with the feeling of success and now I’m preparing for my New Year’s Concert on the 14th of January.



Source: Patikamagazin


Illényi Katica logo