CULTURE

Alain Lefevre: fighting for music and individuality

Alain Lefevre, the French-Canadian pianist scheduled to appear at the Athens Concert Hall tonight, is passionate, talkative and looks more like a rocker than an accomplished pianist of international reputation. Born in France in 1967, and raised in Canada, Lefevre’s flawless musical studies, coupled with his innate talent, led to early recognition in the music world. «I sat at the piano at the age of four and I’m still there,» he says. In his low-key and no-frills manner, and equipped with a sharp sense of humor, Lefevre talked to Kathimerini more about Greece – a country he clearly loves – than music. Passion for Greece The renowned soloist’s warm relationship with Greece began in 1997, and since then Lefevre has appeared several times in Athens and the rest of Greece. He proved his love for the country in 2000, for instance, when the island of Samos was devastated by a series of fires; Lefevre rushed to perform there in order to raise money for those in need. «Forgive me for not speaking Greek. I am trying, but I guess it is rather hard for a French-speaking person,» he said in the beginning, adding: «I am not trying to flatter you. I love Greece, because of its moral freedom. Many people refer to it as ‘chaos’ but I feel it is particularly healthy. Let me give you an example. I have performed several times in Greece and up to the very last minute there are no tickets. On the crucial night, however, everything is perfect. The same will happen with the Athens 2004 Olympics; the country will be ready and it will be a landmark event. I believe deeply in Greek ingenuity. Perhaps in countries such as Germany and Switzerland everything is perfectly organized, but people don’t laugh and they don’t enjoy life that much. In Greece, on the other hand, whether rich or poor, everyone is generous and warm. «Another thing which moves me here is that people react, they put up a fight! In the rest of Europe and the United States, the public does not voice its opinion, it simply accepts everything. But here, you are always out on the streets! «From the very first moment, Greece acted as a source of inspiration for me. That does not mean that I compose Greek music, but I am taken by the harmonies and your scales. I want those who listen to my works to feel the sun, the sea and your stunning landscapes. I do not know if you’re fond of my tunes, but they come straight from the heart. This is due to the fact that I feel happy when I’m in your country. I don’t know why I feel like this, but I do. I would like to live here. Perhaps because the younger generation are so happy. In the USA, on the other hand, the young are constantly sad. In my opinion, you don’t have to become more European, in other words, sadder. I hope you stay as you are. The only thing you lack is self-confidence,» said the pianist. Lefevre also voiced his opinion about the global musical industry: «It is very difficult to be a classical pianist these days, when you have to compete with Britney Spear’s sex appeal. This huge entertainment and music industry should not be in the position to impose its vision on the rest of the planet. We must struggle in order to gain some space for our own films, our own music, our own books. I am a fighter and I will do anything for young kids to listen to more classical music. As far as I am concerned, it is a matter of democracy for people to have the opportunity to listen to classical music. We must promote this kind of music against an almighty industry.» A local battle «The Greeks, on the other hand, must give their own battle in order to reveal the value of the locally produced music. I have listened to a number of Greek composers as well as popular and folk songs. There are very few countries out there that possess a similar wealth of sounds like Greece. Take this music to the schools. It will benefit the young immensely, while adding to your national pride.»