Musician of the Year: Spotlight on Ayeka, LAS
Can you tell us about your musical background?
My mum being a piano teacher herself, introduced the piano to me and to my two older brothers, around the age of six. Being the youngest of three siblings, this meant that I grew up around music from a very young age. Hearing my brothers play is what inspired me. Their passion, love and commitment to music, was infectious. Later on, I also learnt to play the violin. Being able to play two instruments, gave me more opportunities to play in orchestras, ensembles, as well as trios, with not only my brothers, but also with friends at school or nationally. Playing with others who enjoy music the way I do, is what makes music making so special for me.
Tell us about your experience in the Musician of the Year competition.
My experience in the Musician of the Year competition still feels surreal. Having won my piano category, I was already very happy, content and feeling humbly proud of myself. Knowing the standard of whom I was against in the final, I didn’t feel too pressured, as winning the final looked very hard to me. Nonetheless, I wanted to give it a try and practised hard and ended up winning the overall competition final. It left me filled with so much happiness that I couldn’t stop smiling and my mouth started cramping afterwards. This experience made me realise that I should have believed in myself a little bit more.
Why did you choose to perform Nocturne in Db major, Op 27 No 2?
Interestingly, a couple of years ago, one of my friends played this piece in a competition. Having never heard of it previously, I instantly thought it was one of the most beautiful nocturnes Chopin had ever composed. Two years later I couldn’t resist learning it myself. I am delighted that I could perform such an incredible piece written by my favourite composer, well, and win with it.
What was your favourite thing about taking part in the competition?
Seeing how proud I made my parents, by winning this competition, is my most unforgettable experience of taking part in this competition. I will never forget the moment of shock my parents had when I was announced as winner. The big hug I got from my mother, made winning worth it. I also very much enjoyed seeing many of my friends perform as everyone was incredibly dedicated and you could feel the passion through all their music.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of taking part in the competition in future?
Don’t ever think that you need a showy piece to win. Whatever piece you play, perform it from your heart, ensuring that each note is played with a different meaning, so that the audience can feel every emotion you are portraying. There’s a big difference from playing a piece with many notes and the hardest of passages, to playing a piece where every note is accounted for and is played from the heart. You should therefore never compare how hard (or not) your piece is to that of others, as ultimately each piece has a different story to portray to the audience, and the important thing is to relate that story with feeling.
What are you hoping to do next year, after leaving Loughborough Amherst School?
Although I enjoy playing music very much, I want to go into the area of Economics and Maths after leaving school. It may lead me into potentially following a degree in Actuarial Science. I consider Maths as one of my strongest subjects and Economics to be a very interesting and a relevant topic in everyday life. I will definitely still continue playing the piano and violin as it will and always be a part of who I am.