Kosmas Lapatas

Kosmas Lapatas - Greek Pianist, Composer, Holistic teacher, HELLO STAGE Ambassador and Blogger and classical music and coffee addict - this Orange Twist Interview is overflowing with great quotes and advice!

We all know HELLO STAGE’s favorite color! What’s yours?

Orange obviously! I even changed the color of my profile picture to match your site! I have always like "terra" colors, that is, anything between brown to yello. "Terra" colors are warm, sensual, smooth, soothing, relaxing, and inspiring, matching the classical music spirit!

What was the best advice a teacher ever gave you?

The best advice I ever got was from acclaimed pianist/conductor George Hadjinikos (student of Fischer, David, Orff, Hindemith, Neuhaus ) when we rehearsed Orff’s Carmina Burana. He said to me;

"Always seek the truth. Reject anything you learned and start fresh. Don’t force it, let it grow by it self like a flower. You are only there to plant the seed. It’s up to nature to do the rest for you. Always seek for the primitive and instinctive qualities of music. There lie the roots. "

How has your practice changed with time?

My music approach changed completely overtime. Actually my piano tone, style, interpretation, concept and philosophy has nothing to do with what I learned. As you know, I was trained as soloist by world-renowned Julliard postgraduates who happen to be great pedagogues as well. After graduation, I instantly realized that solo career was not for me, for the reason that it is a very lonely profession. It’s you and the piano practicing in a room for half a day, isolated, with no interaction with other people. I’m more of a chamber-like guy. I believe in collective making and sharing the magic of music.

That is why I absolutely love teaching. For the past 20 years I’m completely focused on teaching music and piano to children, teens and adults. Through that, I became a better pianist as well. The knowledge I acquired from teaching is superlative to that of my training. The teacher is like a conductor. He has an overall, almost universal view of the score. It’s one thing watching Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Fresco from the ceiling and another watching it from the floor. Most of today’s orchestras could easily play by themselves, there is a reason why they always need a conductor. The teacher does the same thing. He grasps the very essence of each talent and maximizes its potential within the larger music frame (historical and theoretical context, analysis, performance practice and aesthetic approach, to name but a few).

What do you think is the most important trait of a successful artist in today’s modern world?

Like I said back in 2001, "Music is the language of Heaven; it is the art of the impossible and the unthinkable. Music is an illusion; it transforms the grim reality into the highest form of art. Music is magic; it is the magic potion of the gods which transforms hell into paradise".

Any artist that transcends the magical ingredients of music into an uplifting, ecstatic and liberating experience for musicians and audience is a true and successful artist.

How much time do you spend every day on Facebook, twitter, and which other ways do you use to promote yourself?

Before HELLOSTAGE I hardly used facebook, and when I did, it was only for a few seconds to post music quotes from my phone. All this changed with HELLO STAGE. I engaged immediately in Twitter, Linkedin, and even Google+. I found out people with similar interests and philosophy who responded to my blogs and thoughts. It was HELLO STAGE that gave me this initiative, because it’s the best classical music platform out there. Within 2 months alone I have posted more stuff since 2007 when I joined Facebook for the forst time. I sometimes overdo it. When I come home late at night, I spend 2 hours lying on my bed listening to Bach Cantatas and posting articles from my phone. But the most important thing is that I interact with charismatic and talented musicians unequalled by any other platform out there. As for promotion, in my teaching profession, I have always relied on word-of-mouth for the past 20 years. But things have changed, and some things can only be communicated online these days, and that’s a good thing!

Plus, you get tons of information in your fingertips that you would otherwise need to spend hours in libraries and bookstores. Social interaction has been an important part of music since forever, and HELLO STAGE fills the missing gap.

Kosmas, tell us about your holistic approach to teaching!

Very few people care about Holistic education. Many of them don’t even know the term. So what is it Holistic Education really? As Jaid Krishnamurti once put it,

"The highest function of education is to bring about an integrated individual who is capable of dealing with life as a whole."

Based on this doctrine, the purpose of my Holistic Teaching is to inspire a genuine, passionate and everlasting love for music as well as prepare children, teens and adults to know and appreciate themselves, to form healthy relationships and social behavior, to promote social and emotional development, to build up resilience, to face challenges, to be flexible and adopting, to experience transcendence, to learn meaningfulness, and finally to appreciate the musical art in its full timeless truth.

Do you have a special hobby apart from music?

Most of my hobbies are part of the music industry: teaching, performing, composing, recording, listening to selective CDs, writing music journals, reading music history books, scrolling through music magazines and blogs, watching movies (like Tous Les Matins Du Monde, Amadeus or Whiplash). But I also enjoy hanging out with - a very selective - group of colleques, friends and students, having lunch, going to the movies, visiting museums, attending live events and gigs, or simply enjoying the legendary Greek sun and sea! I also like taking pictures of landscapes or macro. I also like to read a lot, everything I get my hands on. I even read coffee receipts! Oh, did I mentioned I’m a coffee junkie? I love ground coffee, especial the Italian Gourmet or the Auslese Classic by Melitta. Lots of it actually!

Follow Kosmas Lapatas on HELLO STAGE!
Author: Nina Lucas HELLO STAGE
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