Josep Colom

I was born in Barcelona in 1947, and music always was very important in our family.

In young age I won the International competitions of Jaén and Santander, and later on the Ministry for Culture of Spain gave me the National Prize of Music.

In the 70s I lived in France and studied in the École Normale de Musique and most of my discography runs under the label “Mandala”.

I have played with all the Spanish orchestras but also in recitals and chamber music in all the major festivals and auditoriums, in Spain and abroad. Though I am of introverse temper, being mainly inclined to play recitals and chamber music, I am not able to renounce to the opportunities of enjoy the marvels of orchestral repertoire.

Pedagogy has obtained increasingly a special value; apart from teaching regularly in master classes, I teach since 1990 in the University of Alcalá de Henares, and in Superior Conservatory of Zaragoaza as well as the Musikeon of Valencia.

It is a privilege for me to make music, and I thank all the people who have taken the effort of coming to share what for me is a daily miracle.

When did you first start playing the piano?
My sister, who is nine years older, is a pianist. Our aunt was her teacher. My father was a passionate pianist and there was a pile of classical music records at home. Learning to play the piano was as natural as learning to read and write.

How did you realise that you wanted to be a pianist?
I didn’t. I grew up with the fixed idea that I WAS a pianist. At 27 I had a crisis and gave up the world of the piano and hung out in places where no one knew I was a pianist. A year and a few months after I made a conscious choice for pianist as a profession.

What advice do you have for a young pianist on concert day?
Each has their own rituals. In general I would advise them to remember that on concert day the preparation is already done. Do a small warm up, tuning and a quick go over without getting psychologically or emotionally tired. A stroll, light, energising food and a good afternoon nap. Playing on the day is improvised, leave details open and seek to stay lucid and use all resources flexibly.

Who are your favourite composers and who most do you like to play?
As a child I devoured musical scores and developed an eclectic taste: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, Debussy, Ravel, Bartók… At a very personal level for me Bach is the good and perfect father, but inaccessible. Brahms is the beloved older brother who suffers and who I try to understand and console.

Something that happened during a concert?
I was playing a Mozart concert in a Spanish theatre when suddenly I felt unrest among the violins. Shortly after I began to see some brown stains on the keyboard and my nose was dripping with dirty water. It was raining and water was dripping in the theatre and I couldn’t move like the violinists. We continued playing.