Close-Up: An Interview With Marc-André Teruel

Double bassist Marc-André Teruel joins us on Close-Up Culture to talk about his musical education, having a fresh style, performing in Paris, and much more.

You began your musical training at age 4. What are your first memories of picking up an instrument?

I grew up in a family of musicians. Since I was a baby, music was the biggest part of my life. I remember my mother taking me to all of her concerts, even when she was pregnant with me! Starting my musical training was a natural conclusion. I remember the feeling I had was so indescribable, like I was meant to do this. 

Can you talk more about your early musical years and what led you to become a bassist?

My path to the double bass was a very funny and unusual one. I started playing the violin when I was 4 years old, later when I was 5 I chose to switch to the cello! I truly loved this instrument, but when I was 10 years old, I broke both of my arms during an accident. I couldn’t practice for months and somehow ended up with the double bass. I’m pretty sure if it wasn’t for this accident, I would still be a cellist! Who knows, maybe it was destiny…

You are regarded as one of the most promising bassists in the world. How do you deal with the pressure of those expectations and ensuring you fulfil your potential?

I think that pressure can be a good thing, at least for me it is: I work very well under pressure ! I always try to give the most I possibly can and focus on the music, I want to push myself as much as I can and try to reach the limit my potential! 

You have been spoken about as someone who has a fresh and new way of playing. What approach do you have to your instrument? 

I think that what I do is quite unusual, at least in the double bass world. This big instrument was always regarded as an accompany instrument, never as a true solo instrument. I want to break this point of view and revolutionise the double bass. I truly believe that the double bass can be a solo instrument!

You recently collaborated with Daria Vasileva. How was that experience?

It was simply amazing! Everything about this collaboration couldn’t have been better: Daria is not only an outstanding pianist with an incredible ability to touch someone’s heart, she also is an incredible human being with a big heart. It is very important for me to also connect humanly with the people I work with, I truly believe that one can also feel it in the music we make afterwards.

Who is one musician you’d love to work with in the future?

That’s a very tough question. There are so many incredible personalities that inspire me on a daily basis and with whom I’d love to work with. But if I had to choose one, I would pick Martha Argerich!  

Where is your favourite place to perform?

I always have incredible memories of my concerts in Paris, I think this is such a special city. Maybe I like it so much because I’m French!

And what is your favourite piece of music to perform?

That is impossible for me to choose: it changes every day. I’d say that my favourite period by far is romanticism. Some of my favourite composers that I would consider my soulmates are Schumann and Brahms!

How do you hope to get new people, particularly young people, interested and involved with your music?

I think that we have to modernise a bit the way we try to reach out to our audiences in the classical music market. It is still a very conservative world and I try to use modern technologies such as social media to reach a wider audience !

What are your ambitions for the future?

I want to grow as far as I possibly can as a musician and also human being. My biggest dream is to show the world what the double bass can do! 

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