Nicolas Mazmanian ‘s LA concert Review by Jonathan Burkhead:
Hailing from France’s largest Mediterranean costal town, composer-pianist Nicolas Mazmanian brought the humble nature of Marseille to a wonderful audience at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. His expressions of love and positivity captivated the listeners at the event, and sparked much intrigue toward his career path. Here is a man who keeps that notion of the American Dream alive and well. Mazmanian had expressed that France’s music scene thrives with experimentation. While he enjoys all facets of art, Nicolas feels no need to change his unique contributions to music. It seems to be that LA would be the perfect location for his music to thrive. This is a city where creativity manifests itself in an infinite amount of ways, and anything could be fair game. While he does declare his influences to mainly be those of classical composers, it does not make his music conventional in any sense. His technique and manipulation of the piano lead to contrasting tones and very well-crafted gimmicks. “Theme et petites variation” (Theme and Little Variations) is an excellent example of how versatile his playing his. The most impressive aspect of this piece how the fortissimo and pianissimo are structured into the piece. It is common for pianissimo playing to emerge into fortissimo, but he cleverly does the opposite. Initially, the faster tempos and louder sounds are already riveting to the audience, but the transition into slower and softer music are actually quite climactic. It is very difficult to execute such a feat, but Mazmanian nails it. In addition, the “Theme et petites variation” is supplied by an intensely unexpected gimmick three-fourths of way through the piece. It only added allure, and became one of the highlights of the performance. “Exaltation” was one of the longer pieces, and it served two very distinctive sections. The first was more vivacious, and the second was far more reserved. This contrast was interesting, because it represented the piece with two different atmospheres. It nearly felt as if it were a miniature epic. When it comes to the inspiration behind his lovely music, “Le lever du jour” (Sunrise) perfectly captures what he wants to express. He definitely embraces the joy love brings, but the darker, heavier sounds of this piece can provide the listener with a different perspective. He does not convey pain, but rather a beautiful sadness that comes with love. In addition, “La lever du jour” really implies a new beginning. That concept is a wondrous one that bring about new light and a natural confusion. The contrasting reactions to this beginning are beautiful incorporated in this piece, but it ultimately remains positive and happy. That is truly what Mazmanian wants to represent in his music. Nicolas Mazmanian is an ambitious, kind-hearted free spirit who always remains true to and in control of his creative freedom. Through his music, he’s inspired by joy and brings happiness to his listeners. His performance in Los Angeles has clearly inspired him to become more affiliated with this city. His strong convictions and idiosyncratic approaches would be perfectly suited for LA. This is a man who makes a fairly conventional genre uniquely his own, and that’s not an easy feat to accomplish.