The Spark with Pedja Mužijević
This story was originally posted as part of CPA at Home, our COVID-era digital content platform.
Before March 20202, pianist Pedja Mužijević had never done a livestreamed event.
A musician known for playing dynamic combinations of new and old music, Pedja was accustomed to performing in front of live crowds in venues of all sizes around the world, not for a few cameras set up around his apartment and a distant internet audience. But when the 92nd Street Y, a well-known New York venue, cancelled his in-person concert in favor of a digital performance, Pedja took the leap.
“I’d never owned a camera in my life, I had never owned a microphone,” he said about his humble recording set-up in his October 2020 interview with Tift Merritt on The Spark. “I went on Facebook and said, ‘I need advice.'”
However, he soon began realizing the joy of performing in such an intimate setting and began tinkering with his camera angles to give audience members a front-row seat to his livestreamed concerts. The change of format complimented his musical philosophy: as a pianist, he believes he’s there to understand and interpret the composer’s thoughts, intentions, and philosophy in order to best captivate his listeners with the music.
“I think of myself as a waiter bringing the food, but I’m not the chef,” said Mužijević. “The composer is the chef.”
Pedja goes on to share his quest to further transform the concert experience, including “recreating a 19th century salon in a 21st century way,” his work at CPA, and more. Above all, the conversation left viewers with a renewed joy for deep listening, to music and to others, and with gratitude to Pedja and Tift for being such profound and innovative artistic partners.
Watch the entire episode on the Carolina Performing Arts YouTube channel, available on-demand until June 30, 2021.
Written by Jess Abel, CPA marketing and communications manager