Bulgarian-born pianist Kristina Marinova harnesses the healing powers of emotional melodies on LOVES ME NOT, a curated selection of soulful classical piano pieces spanning three centuries, from Bach to Rachmaninoff. The compositions are united by their melancholic themes (often sparked by biographical calamity), but like an acorn that falls from the crown of a tree, they bear within themselves a seed of hope, a new beginning.
Today, Kristina is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to learn about her favorite classic rock bands, and why she views life as a laboratory…
What advice would you give to your younger self if given the chance?
I’d love to say to that kid: relax, breathe, and put the pedal to the metal. Don’t try to play it too safe. Put all you’ve got on the line and don’t be afraid of change. Life is a laboratory, the more experiments you perform, the better results you will achieve. What we risk reveals what is quintessentially important to us. If you try to measure the future you might miss experiencing the present. Life unfolds in unexpected and serendipitous ways. We are creatures who are constantly growing and evolving and as long as you have your inner truths, you will be at peace with the decisions you make on this strange trip called life.
How do you prepare for a performance?
Proper preparation is definitely the key to a successful performance. I’ve learned that through the years. You have to prepare 160% to get the desired 100%. I have developed a rigorous routine now. It involves different aspects of emotional, physical, and mental preparation. Besides the technical work of the body, I practice visualization, internal dialogue, understanding, self care, and focus on success. I try to celebrate myself, for the opportunity to grow and progress. I follow a strict protocol in the days leading up to my event where I exercise and train physically, eat super healthy, take walks, and think through all aspects of the performance in my head. I create a solid pool of ground material to rely on and feel confident.
What emotions do you hope listeners will experience after hearing your work?
I am not trying to impress anyone with this album. However I am trying to experience sentiment in its full capacity and purest form. All the melancholic pieces of this collection were the composers’ testimony, reflections of their personal experiences as well as adversities. It is like watching a movie in a way, the music is emotionally stimulating. I want my listeners to experience deliverance of feeling. The melancholic character of the pieces reflects my personal belief that music, imbued with sadness, can have therapeutic benefits. If one is sinking into a pervasive sense of despair and loneliness, one can discover light and hope through the healing power that music offers.
I believe that melancholic music can fuel yearning and lead to positive mood enhancement. Sad music can somehow free us from pain and lament. By resonating with our feelings, the music releases anguish and retains tranquility. The realization of reality leads to the arousal of desire to reconnect with the rest of the world with positivism and hope.
How have your influences changed as you grow as a musician and composer?
I listen to all styles of music now. Back in my younger years, my music collection didn’t include much popular music. Today, I enjoy listening to classic rock bands such as: The Grateful Dead, The Who, and U2 to name a few.
During my conservatory training I spent an enormous amount of time studying the classical composers, but now I enjoy music for my own pleasure.
In fact, right before a performance, I’d listen to a popular piece of music: fast and loud with a strong rhythm section. The steady beat affects my mood by clearing out the jitters and empowering me. At the end of the day, the music we listen to influences how we feel and who we are as people. We are conscious creatures and experience music in an emotional way. As musicians, we can and should learn from all styles of music.
Where and when are you at your most creative?
Anytime and anywhere. I am an extremely curious person but an introvert, mostly productive in a still and quiet environment where I can practice verbal meditation. I am thinking 24/7, in a constant mode of creating and designing new projects. Internal dialogue is essential to me, the paths of connecting with my inner self and resonating with the rest of the world. I am also an early riser. Early morning is when my circadian rhythm gets set. If I am in the city, I love taking walks when the rest of the world is still sleeping and the streets are getting cleaned up. There is something inspiring in the atmosphere of awakening and the sense of new beginnings, to start the day with this attitude and perspective.
What are your other passions besides music?
It is not easy to answer this question, because I feel music is everywhere in my life. Besides music, I love practicing yoga and taking long walks in the countryside. The sound of nature is fascinating. It is a good way to reset and clear the ear, brain and heart. I love reading poetry and painting.