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Denis Linnik - Cliburn Series, Episode 2.

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Denis Linnik

Composer/Pianist 

 Linnik, 27, Belarus, began playing at age 7, launching a career that has seen him play globally, win multiple pianistic competitions, and most recently compete in the 2022 Cliburn International Piano Competition. (Add Cliburn tag)  The supremely talented Linnik (Denis Linnik tag) talks music, the Cliburn, Fort Worth, shows off his talent on the piano as well as the mechanical bull. Remember his name. Linnik will impact the classical music world. #Beautifulmusic

 

Please enjoy the best Fort Worth has to offer.

Episode Transcription: 

0:00
roxo media house
0:12
[Music]
0:26
excellent
0:27
that is the voice of one dennis linnick
0:30
lyneck
0:31
lindnick linnik i can’t mess it up linnik
0:34
like the air conditioning machine
0:35
welcome to fortitude dennis uh this is
0:38
the cliburn series we are fortitude
0:40
Brinton payne jw wilson brought
0:42
brought to you by cap tex bank a bank
0:44
that’s local and great but you’ve
0:45
probably never heard of i’m guessing
0:47
from where you come from uh you’re 26
0:49
years old from belarus
0:51
beautiful belarus and you’ve been here
0:53
for the van cliburn competition heard
0:56
you play it was magnificent so welcome
0:58
to the show my friend tell us how music
1:01
and piano specifically came into your
1:03
life and what age
1:05
so first of all i’m glad to be here
1:07
um thanks for the question
1:09
i was six years old when my mother
1:11
brought me to local musical school so
1:13
nobody actually asked me
1:16
because i was just a
1:17
small stupid kid
1:20
and that’s how i was in a musical school
1:23
so i started playing piano we didn’t
1:24
have an instrument at home
1:26
so i would touch the instrument only in
1:28
the school when i have lessons
1:31
and it was going well apparently because
1:35
one two years later i was kind of
1:37
noticed by a prom
1:39
honored teacher of belarus and she
1:42
invited me to study in her class in
1:43
minsk
1:45
so
1:46
yeah initially i’m not from minsk i’m
1:47
from a small town
1:49
70 kilometers from minsk what’s the name
1:52
marina gorka that’s that’s my hometown
1:56
um they get it what is your town known
1:58
for anything did they produce anything
2:00
or anything so they they produce they
2:02
make really good ice cream oh really and
2:05
bread and chips they got a bunch of cows
2:08
or something or is it like dairy never
2:09
never saw
2:10
a cow there
2:12
yeah yeah
2:13
but but ice cream bread and chips
2:15
perfect it’s called gosha ice cream okay
2:17
yeah
2:18
um
2:19
so
2:20
i was invited to study in a class of
2:22
honored a teacher piano teacher of
2:25
belarus sergiyavskaya yuruno
2:28
she was teaching in minsk so i had to
2:29
move to minsk to study in her class
2:32
so since i was eight years old i was
2:34
living in minsk kind of wow far from my
2:37
family
2:38
and there was a dormitory
2:40
for kids with
2:42
women who were supposed to
2:44
take care of us instead of our parents
2:47
and since i was eight years old i would
2:49
go home once a week for a weekend
2:52
so since then i was surrounded just by
2:54
music all the time did you enjoy these
2:56
times or was it it just was
2:58
they’re pushing you hard is it was it
3:00
something you loved
3:01
oh they were pushing hard because
3:04
when i was nine years old i think it was
3:05
the busiest time of my life really
3:08
because we had all the subjects combined
3:10
and yeah
3:12
so we would have all the languages
3:14
literatures
3:15
math um
3:17
physics combined with solfege theory of
3:20
music
3:21
piano lessons so i would start at eight
3:23
and end
3:25
the day at six in the evening with no
3:27
breaks and then you have to practice
3:29
and that was my nine years old
3:32
how many hours a day practice
3:34
yeah that’s another story i was
3:36
lucky enough i was
3:38
pretty talented for a kid so
3:41
this stuff for kids was
3:43
going pretty easy for me so i didn’t
3:45
have to practice much yeah
3:47
but we had some
3:49
hours that were supposed to be our
3:51
practicing hours they were written in
3:53
the schedule
3:54
uh they were called
3:56
yeah practice in our
3:58
like
3:59
hours of music something like that yeah
4:00
um but uh i was doing everything in
4:03
order to avoid practicing actually so
4:06
because i was still a kid right like
4:07
most kids i think right yeah so yeah i
4:10
was playing football like here you call
4:12
it soccer but it’s a football i’m sorry
4:14
yeah um
4:16
it’s okay it didn’t work okay we
4:17
understand
4:18
yeah so we were playing um i don’t know
4:20
how you call it here
4:22
things you would
4:24
hit on the
4:26
something they would flip
4:27
for kids i don’t know oh yeah like um
4:31
where it goes down on the ground and it
4:33
bounces up yeah kind of and if it if it
4:36
flips if it makes a turn then you win
4:38
if you do that with wine corks oh yeah i
4:40
don’t think that’s the same quarters
4:42
yeah i think it’s called quarters it’s a
4:44
drinking game yeah i guess it’s not this
4:46
one but yeah we’re still okay you’re
4:48
still little
4:49
yeah but so even with the musical
4:51
instruments we would do whatever just
4:53
in order to avoid practicing for example
4:55
when yeah kid
4:56
other kids would come to my room and i
4:58
would improvise some nonsense kind of uh
5:02
in inventing some story
5:04
yeah some strange story people would i
5:06
mean kids would love it and love it
5:09
laugh about it yeah um so this kind of
5:12
stuff well so do you think that you know
5:14
when you said that you were able to um
5:17
uh
5:18
not practice as much because you had the
5:20
talent to do so and you didn’t say it
5:22
that way i mean i’m kind of putting that
5:24
you’re not bragging so don’t take but do
5:27
you think that was because of your ear
5:28
you could hear it differently or you
5:30
were able to almost have a memorization
5:32
like a photographic memory where you
5:34
could
5:35
you could
5:36
do that out not this one
5:38
um
5:39
so first of all i’m
5:41
lucky to have and how you call it here
5:43
absolute pitch
5:45
which helps a lot when you’re a kid yeah
5:47
um so for example all the theory lessons
5:50
or sulfates where they try to
5:53
distinguish the intervals or they learn
5:55
how to get what node it is and yeah
5:58
invent some ways to compare
6:01
to relate i just hear the notes so
6:03
so i could say a note right now i could
6:05
just hum a note and you would know what
6:07
what it is yeah
6:11
it’s it’s a bad cheat don’t drop then
6:14
drop into that was bad i was thinking
6:16
the same thing that’s just about well
6:17
but i want people at home who watched it
6:19
like get out their little
6:21
whatever the app is and just see that it
6:23
would be a g like that but that was a
6:24
very stressful moment because normally
6:26
if something is out of tune yeah a beat
6:29
so you know like for example a notice
6:31
an a is 440 yeah let’s say 440 hertz and
6:36
if it’s 437 for example yeah then i’m
6:39
lost oh yeah i can call it
6:42
b flat d whatever oh no kidding it’s got
6:44
to be at 440 perfect pitch no i’m try
6:46
i’m trying to develop the direction
6:49
because also
6:50
you know when you try to play old
6:52
instruments like historical instruments
6:54
they have all kinds of tuning yeah so
6:56
you really have to
6:58
um learn how to relate
7:00
um and um so i moved to basel to
7:03
rockstar for music and they have this
7:06
theory music lessons
7:08
where they would
7:09
uh ask one by one students to sing
7:12
something and then some of them
7:14
obviously would be out of tune
7:16
but that’s not the point so i would be
7:18
super stressed and i say no that’s the
7:19
wrong note this is the wrong and she
7:21
says i don’t care build it build a fifth
7:24
from this number yeah it would kill me
7:26
yeah yeah i’m not used to that yeah
7:28
dennis so in 2017 you moved to
7:30
switzerland uh right
7:32
right and then that’s that’s in from
7:34
there you continued your education
7:36
you’re performing you released a cd uh
7:38
on the classical label k s in 2022 so
7:41
this year you have a cd come out
7:43
uh your soloist recitalist a chamber
7:45
collaborator lots of things this sound
7:46
all correct
7:48
that sounds cool you do it yes yes it
7:50
sounds very good time huh you’ve played
7:52
around the world i take it right
7:54
where are some places
7:56
more around here about europe where are
7:58
some places that have made an impact on
8:00
you that you’ve enjoyed
8:03
actually i loved playing in every
8:04
country it’s always a very different
8:06
experience
8:07
so from recent kind of insights
8:10
i played a concert in france
8:13
in a small town i don’t even
8:15
remember how it’s called grand motel la
8:17
grandemote i think yeah
8:19
and so it’s a small touristic town but
8:22
um so there was a concert
8:24
and there was a huge quite huge for
8:26
europol
8:28
with a
8:29
with very nice lights with lots of
8:31
public uh coming to the concert and was
8:33
a very nice new facility grand piano
8:37
and um
8:39
yeah it was fascinating to see the
8:40
difference
8:41
between uh
8:43
you have that ice noise from my partner
8:44
drinking it very thirsty yeah it’s the
8:47
dust that you guys all brought when you
8:49
came in for the competition no just
8:51
kidding
8:52
or from my age um
8:55
yeah so it’s always fascinating to see
8:57
the differences surely uh
8:59
in different countries how they treat
9:01
concerts also states obviously it’s so
9:03
different here yeah right um so about
9:06
france and switzerland that in france
9:09
maybe they do less concerts than in
9:10
switzerland because in switzerland you
9:12
can play in every salon every
9:14
yeah every second house can have a house
9:17
concert so you would play for 15 people
9:19
for 40 100 it’s all great in france if
9:23
they do a concert they do it’s like
9:25
at least 300 400 people seriously yeah
9:28
yeah so that’s that’s nice what about
9:31
america what’s your experience here i
9:33
mean did americans like oh that’s great
9:35
guys playing a piano keep moving you
9:37
know or is it that
9:39
where does it fit in that
9:41
actually
9:42
so why why it was super stressful for me
9:44
to play the first round here uh because
9:47
uh it was my first time performing in
9:49
the states so the whole experience of me
9:51
performing in the states is from the
9:52
cliburn
9:54
and i guess cliburn is kind of a very
9:57
very very good example of what classical
9:59
music is not only in the states but in
10:01
europe
10:02
so people are really excited more than
10:05
they normally are yeah
10:06
the pianos are better than
10:08
they normally are the halls are
10:10
incredible
10:12
um so for me
10:14
coming from switzerland which is a small
10:16
country
10:17
has such a
10:19
beautiful variety of everything
10:21
languages cultures
10:23
even religions
10:26
in such small
10:27
territory
10:29
they also have smaller everything so
10:31
smaller holes yeah and so when i saw the
10:34
tcu hull where we played first two
10:36
rounds
10:37
i thought it’s huge it’s huge beautiful
10:40
inspiring but i like these uh balcons
10:43
from both sides intimidating so van
10:45
glavern hall made an impression on you
10:47
for sure you enjoyed it very much tcu
10:50
yes i loved it but it’s intimidating
10:52
it’s scary
10:54
i i was expecting it to be scary for me
10:57
when i was on the stage but that’s good
10:58
news for me because i was actually very
11:00
inspired to play in there
11:02
by the size because also there are
11:03
differences there can be a small
11:06
chamber music hole
11:08
where you can actually see the eyes of
11:10
every everyone in the public so you feel
11:13
responsible for
11:14
delivering to each of them and in this
11:17
kind of holiday so i saw only my host
11:19
because he was very closely sitting
11:21
always in tcu and then i have no idea
11:23
who is in the hall and how how are their
11:26
faces if they’re excited or bored yeah
11:30
so i didn’t feel this pressure and i
11:32
felt inspired yeah dennis who were your
11:34
hosts for this for the week time you’re
11:35
here
11:36
uh so there was one guy his name is matt
11:39
lonergan
11:44
he’s just an
11:46
amazing guy and he was doing
11:48
all his best to make me actually feel
11:50
uncomfortable and happy here
11:53
and he invested all his time and
11:55
thoughts for me
11:58
barbecue and tex-mex
12:00
same so we had different
12:03
we had lots of stuff yeah
12:06
we had also some barbecue but he brought
12:08
it to the house so i don’t know where
12:09
from yeah it was very very good
12:11
any favorite foods you’ve had here or
12:13
favorite experiences aside from the
12:15
competition
12:16
so the barbecue was really good yeah um
12:19
we heard there was a borscht dish at the
12:21
wilson house that was filled with an
12:23
elbow down yeah
12:25
we didn’t have any left bush
12:28
it’s good yeah yeah
12:29
uh yeah it was lovely um but you’ve had
12:31
you’ve had some other experiences
12:32
outside the competition you said oh too
12:35
many
12:36
um i went to we went to austin
12:39
to the
12:40
um
12:42
jazz club uh pat patrick chess club very
12:45
very very nice very fancy very
12:48
nicely done also sound wise and picture
12:51
did they show you sixth street i assume
12:54
oh lord i’m glad you made it back safe
12:56
that was friday evening that was friday
12:58
evening oh yeah so loud yeah but nice
13:02
experience what about your uh your knees
13:04
i see some injuries on your legs where
13:06
did you get those
13:08
now you can also see some of them on my
13:10
oh from the coveted hands yes yeah and
13:13
what was that experience
13:14
that was my second attempt to
13:17
how do you say
13:18
yeah to to
13:20
write a mechanical bull
13:23
really yes oh yeah do tell
13:26
i was really good at that i think so 50
13:28
seconds is what you said i think the
13:30
first one was 50 seconds the first so
13:32
first time i went there and some people
13:34
just uh told me on my way to the pool
13:37
yeah that normally
13:39
the guys do it with one with one hand
13:42
with another hand to kind of balance
13:43
yeah
13:45
so that’s what i did for the first time
13:47
and then i realized while doing that
13:49
that it doesn’t really help so it’s just
13:50
for showing off apparently it’s way too
13:52
different yeah and at some point because
13:54
of that i i moved too close towards the
13:57
head so it was not really convenient so
13:59
i decided to fall down then i felt
14:02
disappointed because i could have done
14:04
it better so i said okay guys i i need
14:07
to do it for the second time
14:09
uh because i knew that it was two hands
14:11
it would be more was this billy bob’s by
14:13
chance well i was talking about
14:15
are you sure matt had your best interest
14:17
at heart because that doesn’t sound like
14:18
something i would have a performer be
14:20
doing that sounds like a dangerous
14:21
activity we’ve lived here our whole
14:23
lives sometimes we’ve never ridden a
14:24
mechanical bull i don’t think you’ve
14:26
come here for three weeks and i i can’t
14:28
be there i can show you you have a
14:29
connection to one uh yes so yeah i was
14:32
already out of the competition
14:34
so the second time the second time i
14:36
felt super motivated to do longer and
14:38
better yeah and i looked confident
14:40
because i knew now i’m going to lose
14:42
now i’m going to use two hands so i sat
14:44
down on the ball and the guy pulled the
14:46
full speed like i guess
14:49
classic move yeah yeah i didn’t expect
14:51
that i didn’t know this bull has
14:52
different speeds so that the second one
14:55
is this one it was quite crazy yeah and
14:58
then i wanted to fall really early but i
15:00
didn’t want to fall with my head over
15:03
the
15:03
uh horns yeah yeah right right be
15:05
careful so i i had to hold it a bit
15:07
longer in order to find a better
15:09
opportunity to follow can we share this
15:11
video if you’re riding the bull that’d
15:12
be lovely
15:14
sure you’re comfortable enough to list
15:15
people see this
15:16
sure you don’t know we’ll do it on the
15:19
show for sure
15:21
okay wait
15:24
i told them this
15:30
you will tell me what to do right
15:34
no
15:35
wait wait wait wait wait
15:37
wait what what do i do
15:47
what’s happened
16:06
i lean back
16:11
feet forward
16:34
and we’re gonna get a chiropractor which
16:36
is a back doctor here in the states as a
16:38
new sponsor i think as a result of your
16:40
bulldog
16:42
you’re going to play a piece for us for
16:43
for about five minutes or less what what
16:45
piece are we playing uh so it’s going to
16:47
be
16:48
a johannes brahms uh intermittent number
16:50
two in a major um
16:53
440 right a major 440. don’t you can’t
16:56
go off their herds i don’t know what’s
16:58
what’s that in states
17:00
so no it’s germany
17:01
it’s hurt they like hurt but he had to
17:04
get the piano tuned so it’s a good thing
17:05
that he didn’t he did because if he
17:07
didn’t you might have you might get lost
17:09
in there what languages do you speak
17:10
dennis uh so belarusian russian english
17:13
german beautiful what’s in between
17:15
belarusian and russian how what’s the
17:17
difference yes
17:18
if you mind me asking i have
17:21
well it’s significant
17:23
right totally it’s like not just a
17:25
dialect not not just kind of uh no you
17:27
know like even so for example
17:29
italians they can understand spanish
17:32
people yes more than 50 yeah so i would
17:35
say the russians they would understand
17:37
belarusian
17:38
for fifty percent okay but in other
17:40
words in other words no chance yeah
17:43
there’s a table
17:44
uh with some words
17:46
which are pretty close
17:48
between
17:50
belarus poland slovenia czech yeah or
17:52
whatever yeah and then in russian it’s
17:55
super different so you know a guy
17:57
pointed that out to me in uh spanish
18:00
because he’s like saying
18:02
you like tires and i was like no i i
18:05
mean i i got tires on the car but then
18:07
he referred it too tired being tired
18:09
like sleepy like we are here i mean
18:11
there they have no meaning that the same
18:14
you know it’s just crazy it’s like same
18:16
thing
18:16
there is i think just some words they
18:18
just wouldn’t have any idea yeah yeah
18:21
uh thank you for being here we’re
18:23
grateful for your time what’s before we
18:25
go in your whole life do you have a best
18:27
day of your whole life you could share
18:29
with us it’s a tough question we ask our
18:30
guests that question typically it’s a
18:32
tough question not when you were nine
18:34
years old doing all those studies and
18:36
things like that you know actually when
18:37
i was nine years old
18:39
i
18:40
that was my first time in the states
18:44
and i spent
18:45
45 days in the states in florida
18:47
actually oh wow okay and so we went to
18:50
disneyland and lots of stuff but i think
18:52
the really fascinating one
18:55
uh was when we were on the boat about
18:57
next to miami and we were diving
18:59
yeah with the things yeah
19:02
yeah uh what did you go scuba diving i
19:05
don’t know how it’s called with the tank
19:07
with the tank yeah scuba diving yeah
19:08
yeah and i think there were some um what
19:11
are they called thrifts coral reefs
19:13
isn’t it sometimes you had some good
19:14
training to do this usually people train
19:16
for this but that’s okay so there was
19:18
some guy who was who would drive me okay
19:20
yeah and then i saw many beautiful fish
19:23
yeah and corals it was amazing for a kid
19:26
i would say so that’s awesome how can
19:28
people find you dennis online oh so i
19:31
have a web page tennislining.com or
19:33
instagram if you want to check my photos
19:36
for four years so ago
19:38
yeah and the youtube channel also just
19:40
right dennis nick okay dennis linnik
19:42
thank you very much for joining us on
19:43
fortitude thank you captex bank the
19:46
cliburn series we appreciate your time
19:47
thanks dennis great job
19:49
[Music]