Tetiana Afanasenko

Composer and pianist




Tetiana Afanasenko is a young composer from Kyiv, performer, teacher, author of 6 piano collections for teaching children of different levels, a three-part cycle and separate piano works for adults, several pop songs.

Tetiana was born in Dnipro city, where she graduated from a music school and a music college. Education was continued at the National Music Academy named after P.I. Tchaikovsky in Kyiv, where she not only received a master's degree, but also made a research on the topic "Timbrecoloring palette in the piano works of Olivier Messiaen" and have got the PhD. While studying she won a several competitions (3d Prize at "Regional competition of young performers", Grand Prix at “Art of XXth century”) and took part in piano and cembalo master-classes in Denmark and Poland. She also found an interest in jazz and pop music, playing in duet with her husband Eugene Afanasenko. An interesting combination of knowledge of the classical and jazz trends allows the author to create compositions in various styles, and sometimes even combine them in one cycle, although Tetiana have never learned composition professionally. The author’s spotlight is the creation of original educational material for teaching, as well as various arrangements for piano ensembles. But the last piano cycle “Three Haiku” shows a perspective of creation modern music for big classical stage.



What does music mean to you personally?

This is a way to feel life and reproduce it in sounds, this is meditation. Music shows the path of the human spirit in such way, it seems, as words cannot, it shows its very subtle facets and emotions. Music heals and harmonizes, either because it brings harmony, or because it helps to bring the destructive out of the human.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Of course it is the same as everything that was created by mankind. But for me the most valuable thing is music that just comes to you, and you do not create it by willpower, but simply catch it from space.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

When I was a teenager, I dreamed of becoming a designer, and in those days I chose music or the path of design. So, as we can see, the music has won, but now I have the opportunity to translate my passion for design into my books, since I create them myself.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about the future? What do you envision the role of music to be in the 21st century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

I believe that classical music will always have its audience. I see that its role will be such as to remind humanity of the true, of the values ​​that have always been and will be out of fashion. Real art has always helped a person survive crises, healed the soul and mind. It seems to me that in the modern world, where there is a lot of everything new, accelerated, unnatural, it is important to turn to the classical tradition, including music, in order to slow down, remember the main thing, and return to the roots.

Do you think that the musician today needs to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

It seems to me that musicians should be creative at all times, and they have been and will be so. The difference, perhaps, is that now, in order to attract attention, you need to have not only interesting music, but also something else. Many call this show. But it can also be just a job of presenting yourself to the public, which is also good to be creative, and this is a big part of the work, almost the same in volume as just making music.

Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?

We must constantly immerse children in the field of music, let them listen to different performances and attend concerts with them, this, of course, is not new, but there is nothing better than this. Now many teachers complain that children are more interested in gadgets than music. I try not to oppose them, but rather include them in the lesson. For example, I like to start the lesson by listening on the phone with a student of some young talent, asking him questions about what he liked, and what would you do better? At the same time, I subscribe him to a useful music channel and the next time YouTube itself offers a new track. Also now there are many good applications that will help you learn the location of notes and consolidate other theory skills, you just have to get your child hooked on this game. New colorful books also help keep you interested. In general, we can say that children follow our own interests.

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

First, something must arouse my delight. Inspiration can come from a walk or after someone sends me a performance of one of my compositions, even if it's just an arrangement of a famous song. Then an image or feeling arises, and then it is best if the music comes as a meditation and you just hear it. Often melodies come to me for household chores and I record them on the voice recorder of my phone, and sitting at the piano I already understand for what age and for what project this motive is suitable. Perhaps, my favorite piece of mine is "Swan" from "Children's catalog of birds". It just appeared, I didn't look for a long time, and this was the first piece that I composed for this cycle. I like the nobility and calmness of this music

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

Just listen and trust the process. The heart itself will choose what kind of music is right now. And perhaps later you will want to listen to something more unusual and modern.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

Yes, I think about where and under what conditions the piece will be performed, for what level of instrumental proficiency this composition is. But for example, I can be free in styles, as happened in the "Children's Catalog of Birds" cycle, where classical pieces are next to jazz ones, and I see organic quality in this.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

The next project will be arrangements on the themes of Ukrainian songs for the smallest musicians. I believe that the world should get acquainted with the folk heritage of our country. This is especially important at this moment in history.