A vivid approach to music

As many renowned psychologist claim today, all artistic talents appear together and at same time, innate gifts for writing, playing an instrument, painting ... Only conditions decide which talent will be expressed most powerfully and which art will a gifted person attend to in his lifetime. Many talents met up in Tomislav Stanich's personality.

He was born in Herceg Novi in a family of painters. Montenegrin painters are artists. His father is one of the most famous Montenegrin painters of today By applying the previous theory, all conditions were obtained for Tomislav to devote himself to artistic expression. However, he enrolled into music school in his hometown, where he completed basic musical education, and immediately thereafter continued studying music in the musical high school "Luka Sorkocevic" in Dubrovnik. His early talent for music was expressed in piano playing and practicing, which in he made continual prograss.

He graduated piano at the Music Academy in Belgrade, in the class of Igor Lasko. At the time, Lasko was one ofthe best piano professord in Belgrade and Serbia, one of those who have transferred to their students the high demands of the Russian piano school, which demanded the virtuoso technique, but also sought originality and content of expression.

Detemined not to be satisfied with mediocrity and blending in the environment, either Montenegrin or Serbian, he left the country and firstly he received scholarship from the French governament, and as a result he continued piano studies in Paris, connecting two opposing schools, the Russian and the Latin, the Gallic one embodied in professor Theodor Paraschivescu in whose class he improved his piano knowledge and skill.

As playing on instrument can never end not be ex-hausted, Tomislav, having great ambitions, arrived to the United States of America and continued graduate studies at the University of Utah in the class of two prominent professors, Gladys Rosenberg Gladstone and Douglas Humphreys.

It seemed that years of wandering where over as the young man returned to his hometown, which, at heart he never really left, to which he kept permanently connected and where his parents still live. He started transferring pedagogical experiences to the young generation, and started working as a piano professor in the Music school in Herceg Novi, as well as at the Comunity College in Salt Lake City in the United States of America, the city and university where he recived his Master's degree.

Pedagogy has never been his only field of work, on the contrary, he has always wanted a piano career.

He began performing in concert as a young boy, continued as a student and devoted himself to solo performances, especially since year 2001, when he began living in New York and working as a free artist.

Today he is building his career in one of the biggest world music centers, in the city to which thousands of musicians from all over the world arrive at each minute, young people, armed with great knowledge, talent, persistence, tremandous desire to succeed. To make one's stand in the center of biggest music events of our time represents an accomplishment worthy of greatest respect. This is the case even more so because Tomislav Stanich never had an affinity towards research and work in contemporary music, performances and related innovations of our time.

His career is marked by solo recitals, playing in chamber music ensembles as well as performing with symphony orchestras in interpretation of concerts of classical literature. He is often a seen guest in various television programs, primarily in the United States of America (Eugene Jelinek show), on the Utah State television, as well as on the television of former Yugoslavia, or the national television of Montenegro.

Parallel with practicing and playing the piano, his talent gives specific results in another area - the area of fine arts, which he presents in the field of art photography, in seven solo exibitions in Montenegro (Podgorica, Herceg Novi), Serbia (Belgrade) and the United States of America (Salt Lake City).

All these years, he has been performing every season in Montenegro in all towns that have concert halls and pianos, as well as on big summer festivals such as Budva Fest and Bar chronicle. Audience and experts always pay great attention to his concerts in his hometown, Herceg Novi. Several times he played in Podgorica and Cetinje.

His connection to Paris dates back to the time of his studies when he held a series of concerts in various halls, but resumed later, when he played in the Serbian Cultural Center, as well as in the Canadian Cultural Centre.

While living in Salt Lake City, he played regularly in the Presbyterian Church as well as in the famous Hall in the same city (the United States of America). In the same city he held a concert during the Winter Olympic Games 2002 for the Masonic Grand Lodge in the hall of the Masonry monument. Besida this, he played in Ogden (Utah State).

Of the former Yugoslav republics, he kept his connections in Dubrovnik, and has had a recital at the Pucich Palace, followed by one at the Rector's Palace during the Dubrovnik Summer Games, one of the most important music festivals in thisregion which has been held for years at a very respected and high level.

His recitals are commonly held each year in the private Hall "Gvarnerijus" which is held by the famous Belgrade violinist Jovan Kolundžija, along with his sister Nada, a pianist and specialist in contemporary music performance.

Numerous performances in various chamber ensambles complement this very rich career.

Tomislav Stanich is at present one of the few pianists who do not follow fashion, which is highly expressed in music, especially in pianist circles. Turned to himself and his art, he moves about a tested repertoire that he has cherishing for years and which includes classic works of world literature. He never turns towards innovation and everyday life. Both on concert podium and in his personal practice, he begins with Bach's (Joann Sebastian Bach) music which is the foundation of all pianist knowledge and skill. Many preludes and fugues from the collection "A well-tempered piano" adorn his repertoire, but those are not all of Bach's works that he performs: Italian concert and Chanconne in d minor, as well as works, adorn the repertoire.

Scarlath's (Scarlatti, Domenica) sonatas belong to the same music style period, but with other pianist problems. Many sonatas, of over 600 that the Baroque master and cembalist composed, are Stanich's repertoire.

A large part of that repertoire is kept for Haydn's (Haydn, Joseph) works, likewise numerous sonatas from his opus, thence Mozart (W.A.Mozart), beside piano sonatas and fantasies, piano concerts, especially concert in E minor.

Tomislav Stanich always had an affinity for the great composer of classicism and all musical art to the present day, Beethoven (Beethoven, Ludwig van), whose piano sonatas he plays in almost every recital, especially the "Spring" sonata, but he also accompanies solists in violin sonatas, in parts that require great skill of a pianist, and thereby Beethoven's violin sonatas are often called sonatas "for piano and violin".

Tendency towards sonata form is not the only "speciality" of this pianist. is repertoire contains a number of pieces and miniatures for piano with romanticist style direction, such as Schubert's (Franz Schubert) impromptu, Schumann's pieces and "Carnival" and a special place in the list belongs to the other romanticist, Chopin Chopin, Frederic), Liszt (Franz Liszt), Brahms (Johannes Brahms).

In the year when the whole world celebrates the 250th anniversary of the birth of the great Polish composer who spent most of his life in France, Frederic Chopin, there are many reasons for Stanich to put in his programs those compositions which have for years comprised the main and important part of his repertoire, and these are primarly all piano etudes, from opus 10 and opus 25, and polonaise in A flat major and As major, ballade in g minor, scherzo in b minor, fantasy in F sharp minor, many nocturnes and waltzes, as well as extensive and difficult work, Sonata in b minor.

He is especially able to express his virtuosity, which exceeds standard frameworks and reaches concert brio, in numerous Liszt's works, such as his very difficult and demanding etudes, fantasy "St.Francais of Assisi walking on waves", Mephisto waltz and the special place is of course taken by Faust-like written, complex not only for technical mastering but also for interpretation and cognitive perception, the great Sonata in B minor performed by only the best pianists of our time.

Authors of the Russian school are dominant in contemporary music, first of all Rachmaninoff with his etudes, preludes, Variations of "La Folia", then Scriabin with piano etudes, as well as Prokofiev in a couple of sonatas and Shostakovich with Concert in C minor.

In the programs of Tomislav Stanich there are several pieces by local authors, among which the cycle of Seven Balkan Games of Marko Trajcevic and the comprehensive fantasy "Odjeci" ('Echoes') of Vasilije Mokranjac have a special place.

The way that pianist Stanich performs all these works could be characterized as a personal approach, classical in the sense that it contains the necessary technical device mastered in all elements, as well as expressiveness and musicality, which is reflected particularly in the slow movements, thereby here we emphasize in particular the first movement of Beethoven's Sonata in C sharp minor, Op.27. no.1 as an example of abstained, could be said "objectivist" lyric which does not drop to the level of sentimentality and banality but achieves a distancing attitude instead. An idea by which a sonata is by energy brought together on the level of musical dramaturgy and interpretation of each section and movement is visible in the way that he builds cyclic forms, with right pace and good distribution of sections, parts, minor and major internal forms. In the name of creation and affirmation of a piece os a whole, attention is paid to each individual movement.

The virtuoso part of pianist Stanich's nature is expressed much, though not always dominant, often namely, his programs contain the most difficult and most demanding pieces of the piano repertoire. The interpretation of "Mephisto" waltz, which is always exciting for the audience, is one of the works that is breathtaking and which, under his fingers, breaks the keyboard to unimagined proportions.

Tomislav Stanich is one of the professionals who can play always and in all sorts of conditions, but instantaneous inspiration and transmission between music, him as a performer and the audience, means a lot to him. As a result, some of his concerts were very successful and are spoken of for a long time after they are over, are remembered and serve as a reference to young pianists.

Mastering of device in many etudes, musicality which is devoted to listening of simultaneous voices and other, underground and hidden line scores, is especially expressed upon occasion of piano accompaniment and collaboration with other musicians in numerous chamber ensembles. They need nuturing of inner hearing, listening to others as themselves, participating in a joint interpretation and common joy of the performed piece. This is a special and very important skill and, as is known, not all musicians deal with this.

Very often while listening to recitals performed by Tomislav Stanich one gets the impression of animation and one is assured of a very graphic approach to music, altrough the pieces that he performs do not contain at all program filling. They are all part of the so-called absolute music and are not associated with any other impressions outside of music. However, Tomislav Stanich's interpretation actually reveals another world, fine art in its essence, as well as the entire color palette on the piano, perhaps borrowed, or just associated as if it stepped out of canvas paintings.

Harmonic hearing and harmonic rhythm, shades of different music colors, is precisely that field in which he expresses himself in the most authentic way. When playing the so-called virtuoso repertoire, that is works which are essentially and primarily intented for studying and mastering specific technical requirements, such as etudes, Stanich gives them soul and dedicates himself to them by exposing and adding to them musical content. Similarly, he does not leave a single expression program to other compositions, which are rich in content, but have high technical requirements for the pianist, and thereby he makes an effort to master these more important, bigger and more extensive works in all their ramifications.

As it us usually music of baroque, classicism and romanticism, except Ravel's sonatina, Stanich's shift from music of the twentieth century and latest works, styles, "isms", is quite clear. He belongs to a generation of traditional pianists who adhere to proven values. the repertoire which he performs is primarily chosen as a result of personal affinity and choice, and he is not a slave of current whims, fashion, or laws of supply and demand. High artistic values are his only motive. This is the real secret of good performing, but many were nowadays and in the past forced to make compromises of different kinds, which Stanich consistently, being for decades present in art and pianism, successfully resists.

Dr.Branka Radovic, musicologist and music critic