Duo Aliada

The Wiener Musikverein said it best, Duo Aliada consists of two “outstandingly talented and creative musicians”, namely saxophonist Michał Knot and accordionist Bogdan Laketic. We are proud to interview them for our Orange Twist - a great read indeed!

It all began with their staggering success at the 12th annual Fidelio Wettbewerb where Duo Aliada unanimously won Grand Prix. In 2015, The duo recorded their debut studio album New colours of the past with ARS Produktion ( read a review from SWR2 here) and it has been received with tremendous critical acclaim. They were also selected for the international program The New Austrian Sound Of Music 2016-17, a prestigious sponsorship platform funded by the Austrian Government. Duo Aliada have been regularly featured on popular radio broadcasts such as ORF1, SWR2, BR Klassik, and Radio Klassik and they couldn’t be more excited to continue sharing their unique music with audiences all around the world.

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

M: You mean a “visual” color? If yes, then blue is my favorite one! Especially when accompanied with a monochromatic background. Things are different when it comes to timbers – colors in music. I love to experiment with them and I enjoy the fact that Duo Aliada with its unusual combination of saxophone and accordion, offers endless possibilities to discover new timbers.

That’s one of the reasons we decided to call our first cd - New colours of the past.

B: Well, what else can I add ?:)

I’m not very sensitive when it comes to visual colors but very much indeed of those in music!

What was the best advice a teacher ever gave you?

M: “Record a CD!” ;)

No…now seriously - I wouldn’t know which particular advice was the best because over the years I received so much! I feel very lucky to have studied with some exceptional teachers. They all helped in shaping me as an artist.

B: "Bogdan, try to play more simple, but at the same time don't be afraid to exaggerate."

I was really confused then, but now I get it! At least I think so… ;)

How has your practice changed with time?

M: To be honest I never was the type of musician who spends an enormous amount of time closed in a practice room.

Certainly, you have to be a master of your instrument in order to be able to express your “soul” but this “soul” (which is the most important aspect that defines you as a musician) you train best while discovering the world and its beauties. Whether it comes to museums, travelling, hiking or simply meeting interesting people – enriching your soul makes you a better musician.

B: I used to practice a lot before, but now with more and more concerts coming up, I had to find a way to be more efficient with time.

Often, in the repertoire which I play in Duo Aliada, I have to cover parts of the whole orchestra with only two hands, which is very challenging and it wouldn’t work at all if my practicing wasn’t efficient.

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

M: That’s a difficult question. Nowadays artists face very confusing and challenging times. In world dominated by often intellectually-offensive mass culture, which influence the lives of everyone, we have to somehow find our place.

It’s not enough anymore to only represent a great musicianship. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Hello Stage itself – they all took “being an artist” to a completely new direction, bringing a lot of advantages but at the same time requiring something more than just being a musician.

Finding yourself in all of this promotional “rat race” without loosing your authenticity is probably one of the biggest challenges we face today.

B: Definitely originality!

Something which is often forgotten in the classical world. I think that the audience is tired of listening over and over to the very similar ways of performing. Originality can be manifested throughout your concept, programming, stage presence and way of connecting with the audience.

As musicians we have to be inspiring through our originality.

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

M: I try to spend not too much. Of course it all depends on the moment. When we are on tour it’s a part of the job and fun to do. The rest of the time, I really enjoy days without “social-media- craziness”.

B: I have to admit it. I don’t spend too much time promoting myself or the Duo Aliada online.

Michal is actually the person that does most of the work regarding our website, Facebook, Hello Stage profile and in general – all the online promotion. Nevertheless, I’m in touch with people from the music world by calling and meeting them on a daily basis, which can often be very efficient and creates a nice base of important contacts.

How do you see classical music "crossover" developing? Would you say that you are crossover artists?

M: When it comes to Duo Aliada, the answer is not so easy. We definitely cross the boundaries of classical music, playing Vivaldi or Grieg with saxophone and accordion. But for me, crossover is not only about the music but an intelligent collage of different kinds of arts.

That’s what my other project FIVE SAX is all about. It’s interesting how being a crossover artist makes you a better musician in general. I would definitely suggest to everyone from the classical world to engage in the ever-growing word of interdisciplinary artistic projects.

This advice applies especially to the orchestra musicians ;) It pays off!

B: Following the careers of today’s most successful crossover artists, I believe that this genre has a bright future. They have an incredible feeling of the stage and an original language.

Crossover brings performance to a completely new level. I don’t consider myself or Duo Aliada as a crossover ensemble because as Michal mentioned – it’s a multi-disciplinary art. Although we are somehow crossing into this genre proposing a new approach to the classical music with our concert program New colours of the past or when doing various children's shows such as Triolino, Kling Klang and our own ALIADA+KIDS .

What is your approach to programming your concerts?

M: A concert has to be an all-round enriching experience so we always program our performance thinking about the audience.

In a world where everyone is so busy and every minute of the day is very precious, they still found some time to come and listen to you! To listen not only to your music, but also through your words, to get to know you better and engage emotionally. You've got to reward them for that. We could say that today's audiences often “listen with their eyes as well”.

That’s why we pay such a lot of attention on the visual part of our concert such as spacing, stage aeshtetic and lighting. If the venue allows it, we adjust the color of the light for every piece, according to it's musical timber. All in order the create a great atmosphere. If you add 100% of your energy, skills and friendly approach, the effects are guaranteed. The audience loves it!

B: During the selection of the program for our debut CD, New colours of the past, we chose the pieces which come from different époques, represent different styles and most important of all – are an immense pleasure for us to play.

Doing so we created not only a cd program but also an entertaining concert repertoire, which emphasizes the limitless potential of our instruments and explores a whole new world of sound for classical music.

The name “Aliada” means alliance and Duo Aliada is exactly that: an unlikely alliance between saxophone and accordion, which according to the press and audience reactions, seems to works very well! We are very happy it does! :)

What are you working on at the moment?

M: As our first CD, which was released in September 2015 is getting overwhelmingly good reviews, we are very motivated and already planning a new one. At the moment we have two contrasting ideas for its concept. One is easier and one a bit more difficult to realize. :) Let’s see what happens…anyway, we will record again soon.

B: Hmm…At the moment I’m being interviewed by Hello Stage! :)

You are very busy touring most of the time :) How do you manage life on the road? Tell us your favorite anecdote!

M: There is one story which repeats itself over and over again:

- accordion at the airport check-in desk: “Is that your cello?”

- accordion at the airport X-Ray scan: “Sorry, your piano has to be checked once again”

- accordion during the boarding: “Sir, you can’t bring your tuba on board!”

- accordion on board of the plane: “Sir! Put your TV (?!?) in the overhead compartment!”

So as you see - not an easy time travelling with an accordionist ;) Hopefully the airlines regulations for musicians will change soon.

B: After transporting my instrument, food is the biggest issue while on tour. I like experiments in the music but definitely not in the kitchen. Michal has more courage to try local specialties. I mean, he has often convinced me to try some crazy stuff but it always ended badly. I’ll stick to cevapcici when available and simple veggies when only culinary ventures are served.

Author: Nina Lucas HELLO STAGE
Comments [0]
Please LOGIN to leave a comment. login



After clicking on JOIN NOW you can start working right away. When you are done look into your inbox you will get an e-mail for authentication.
-- Advertisement --
-- Advertisement --