Enrico Mainas 21 yrs from Sydney

Enrico grew up in Maroubra in Sydney. He is currently undertaking Honours in hisfinal year of the Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and will finish at the end of 2018.

Enrico Mainas

What drew you to become a musician?

My mother plays the cello and got me started on piano when I was 8. For a long time it was just one of the things I did, but I’ve become more invested over the years and am now really enjoying immersing myself fully.

Do you sometimes perform in an ensemble?

Yes, I really enjoy performing in chamber groups and as an accompanist. I count myself very lucky to be surrounded by so many fantastic musicians.

What is so special about the piano and its music? It’s very accessible as an instrument; you get a huge range of pitches and sound combinations right at your disposal. The creative potential is there regardless of your technical capabilities, or even your ability to read music; with a bit of experimentation you can pick out tunes, learn some chords, or do whatever you want really. As you go more in-depth, further possibilities open up with regards to tone production and dynamics; you’ll find aspects of your sound to tinker with no matter how long you’ve been learning. The instrument always finds a way to engage you.

The repertoire available is absolutely staggering for its sheer size and variety, allowing you can take whatever approach you like; you might have favourite works you want to learn, or expose yourself to a range of ways to use the instrument, or find a niche and stick to it.  Every pianist has a unique and personal relationship with the instrument, it is a wonderfully open-ended and rewarding platform for self-expression

What else can you play? I’ve been fairly stuck in the classical world for most of my life. Occasionally I’ll mess around with pop songs, or play stuff from films, games, or musicals.

Do you sing? Only alone and badly.

What are your hobbies and why are you passionate about them?

I used to write a lot, short stories and that sort of thing, and would love to get back into that. Apart from that I enjoy watching things; movies, shows, stand-up, and following soccer, which I’ve been attached to since I was a kid.

Do you do a lot of travel?  Where have you been overseas in the past few years? Most of my family is split between Italy and China, and I’ve been to both of those fairly recently to visit them. I’m also lucky enough that my studies have taken me overseas; I’ve done a competition in China, and will travel to Austria this year for a summer academy in Salzburg.

What are your goals over the next two years? This year I’m looking to just to get through my Honours and finish my B.Mus. Looking ahead, I’d be pretty keen to get straight into postgraduate stuff, perhaps overseas. At the end of every year I’ve felt like a completely different musician to the one at the beginning, so hopefully that trend continues.

Who inspires you and why? I get general inspiration from all sorts of places; authors, public speakers, actors, athletes, even if I know nothing about their specialty I get a kick out of hearing passionate people talk deeply about their craft. I’ve found you can draw links between piano and pretty much any other activity involving performance under pressure. More personally, I’m surrounded by incredibly dedicated musicians at the Con, it’s really energising just being around people fighting their day-to-day battles.

Which musician inspires you any why?   I don’t really latch on to any individual pianists, I more gravitate to favourite recordings of whatever I’m learning or have learned. Some musicians articulate themselves in a way that provides amazing insights into their artistry and process; Stephen Hough is an example. 

Which composer’s music do you love and why?  I think I enjoy playing Chopin and Beethoven the most; the characters they come up with are so satisfying to inhabit and bring to life. It’s the sort of music you need to hold on to for years and years, there’s always new discoveries to be made and new ways plot the ideas.

Do you play sports?  Not since I was little. I do really enjoy watching soccer though.

Name 4 of your favourite things to do to chill out/have fun:

Hang out with friends. Go for a walk. Watch a movie. Read.

What’s your idea of fashion/what do you prefer to wear? I tend to just wear whatever’s comfortable. I’ve worn skinny jeans so often that all other pants feel like pyjamas.

How do you relax and unwind from rehearsing? Basically any of the things I said that I do for fun! I’m also not opposed to a solid YouTube binge when I’m in the mood.

How do you care for your back etc. (to stop injuries etc)? My posture has never been great, so I’m trying to just be more aware of slouching/slumping and doing more regular exercise.

 Do you love the movies? Yes! I think there are a lot of parallels between the disciplines of music and film, and I tend to think very cinematically in the process of interpretation and generating expression. I’ve been really coming around to the idea that we play pieces the same way an actor plays a role.

List at least three bars / favourite spaces to hang out in Australia and why?  I don’t branch out much beyond the places around the Con, so I’d say Bar Luca and Buckley’s. The Sydney Con is right next to the botanical gardens, which are beautiful to sit in or walk around.

What is your favourite alcoholic drink? At a bar I usually default to a gin and tonic.

Favourite meal / food / fruit and why? I’m not picky but have recently been eating a lot of sushi. I just never get sick of it.

Do you compose your own music? It’s not really my thing, no. I wouldn’t know where to start.

What do you hope to get out of this Australian National Piano Award?   I know just the process alone of preparing all of that repertoire for the Award is going to push me to new heights, so I can’t wait to see what kind of progress I make. Going to Shepparton is going to be my first time interstate, which is very exciting. To get to perform on such a prestigious stage, for adjudicators of such a high calibre, and in the company of an incredibly talented pool of competitors, this is really everything a young pianist could ask for. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot and come out of this event with unforgettable experiences.

How long have you been rehearsing for this event? Some of the repertoire I’m bringing goes back several years, along with my program for this year. The months before September are going to be very intensive.

How did you hear about the Australian National Piano Award? My teacher, Dr Paul Rickard-Ford, told me about the Award.

Some of Enrico's music clips can be watched on YouTube:
Clementi Sonata- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpeLSB8IY8U

Brahms Variations- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBaeo7DXqkk

Filippenko Toccata- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vsf4MsBWT_0