Name: Redi Hasa
Occupation: Cellist, composer
Nationality: Albanian
Recent release: Redi Hasa's My Nirvana, a collection of arrangements for his favourite Kurt Cobain pieces, is out via Ponderosa Music/Decca.

If you enjoyed this interview with Redi Hasa and would like to find out more about his work, visit his official website. He is also on Instagram, and Facebook.  

When did you first start getting interested in musical interpretation?  

I started playing at the age of 6.

Since the very beginning, music and the sound of cello have had a huge impact in my life.

Which artists, approaches, albums or performances captured your imagination in the beginning when it comes to the art of interpretation?

There are countless artists, musicians and composers who have inspired me throughout the years, from Joahn Sebastian Bach to Björk, Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares and Nirvana.

What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to interpretation? Do you see yourself as part of a tradition or historic lineage?

To me, music is life: it is the air I breathe, the water I drink, and the ground I walk on. It is a direct channel through which I can express my deepest feelings.

In my approach, I like to draw from the tradition of the classical world and re-imagine the music through improvisation to create something new and personal.

Could you describe your approach to interpretation on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?

I consider my latest work, My Nirvana, a key milestone for my growth both as a composer and a performer.

It is important to develop a deep understanding of the music to be able to access it and make it your own. Only then, you can really transfer a part of your soul into the music.

What was your own learning curve / creative development like when it comes to interpretation - what were challenges and breakthroughs?

I am always pursuing and discovering different ways and techniques to play and compose on the cello.

My work is carried out mainly through experimentation and improvisation. It’s a never-ending quest.

In many cases, the score will be the first and foremost resource for an interpretation. Can you explain about how “reading” a score works for you?   

The music score is the tool to tell a musical story.

Personally, I prefer to memorize the score as quickly as possible so I no longer have to think about it, and can develop a full and intimate connection with the music.

What role does improvisation play for your interpretations?

I think improvisation is the most stimulating and exciting part of the musical world.

Starting from a single sound, it’s incredible to witness the birth of a harmonically and rhythmically rich structure, capable of resonating with its own energy.

This complex architecture may stem from just a single note, a sound, or even a breath: this is the magic of improvisation.

Interpretations can be willdly different live compared to the studio. What is this like for you?

My performance is never the same. As an improviser, I love researching and finding new dynamics, or just playing around the intention of a music piece.

My aim is to continuously explore new ways and sounds to re-invent the way to convey emotions through a music theme.

With regards to the live situation, what role do the audience and the performance space play for your interpretation?

The audience is an essential part of my musical journey. It should never be seen as an emotional barrier, but rather as an energy wave that is constantly being exchanged between the listener and the performer.

With regards to the studio situation, what role do sound, editing possibilities and other production factors play for your interpretation?

In the studio, I always try to deliver the most natural performance.

During a recording session, I usually perform a piece three times, and pick what in my opinion is the most emotional version.

Artists can return to a work several times throughout the course of their career, with different results. Tell me about a work where this has been the case for you, please.

When I was 7 years old, I began studying Bach’s Suites for Cello. Today, at 45, I have resumed the study of these extraordinary pieces for a concert, and have discovered so many nuances that eluded me before.

It is an ongoing and exciting discovery which opens countless new interpretative windows and perspectives on the same music.