Ayşe Deniz breaks down the idea of what is a pianist, and how we perceive them. She re-establishes the face of piano over and over. Her solo orchestra performances are full of surprises… Nirvana’s Breed and Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall are songs she enjoys to play the most. She wants to combine music with unexpected nuances and add a little more excitement. We’re sure her soul is rock and her tone is classical. We caught up with Ayşe Deniz right after Piano City Milano, and we’re very excited to get to know her better…

“To present different perspectives by taking risks is more important than imitating what others do.”

You’ve been on stage since you were nine-years-old. Can you tell us about the moment when you realized music would become your job, and furthermore, your life?

I saw being a pianist as a career since the beginning… I guess the first time I decided (to be a pianist) was when I played the Chopin Waltz at the age of seven. My mother, father and piano teachers took my education seriously. We’ve always been a team. There are hardworking people behind an artist.

Pink Floyd Classical Concept followed by the Nirvana Project… How do you see classical music?

Classical music is not a quiet, calm style… Incredibly energetic classical pieces that push an instrument’s capacity all the way are the soul fathers of rock music. That’s where my Pink Floyd adaptations come from. I prepared an adaptation in its style as a tribute to the 200th year of Hungarian composer Franz Liszt. My aim is to bring crazy performers and composers, from two different centuries together, through the power of piano.

Ayşe Deniz wears Cashmere In Love Nine Beaded Intarsia Pullover and Sari Envelope Skirt.
As a team with Ekin Bernay (dancer) and Ivan Shopov (electronic music producer and DJ) in the Nirvana project, you all interpreted subjects from different perspectives. What are the exciting things you learned and explored in this process?

Thanks to Ekin I learned to use my body with more expression and comfort on stage; thanks to Ivan I learned to balance electronic beats with the piano. I hope we perform together more often. These days, I play the Nirvana project solo; also the unplugged version, which we called Nirvana Classical, is now on iTunes!

It’s your mission to make a difference in the piano world. What’s the next step?

Right now, I’m working on an album. A substantial piano playlist on CD; it has songs varying from Beethoven to Coldplay, from my own compositions to folk songs. The common factor is that they are short piano pieces. So, it’s a fun album for people who like different styles of music. I’m also planning on starting a blog where I’ll be writing my memories!

Ayşe Deniz wears Cashmere In Love Roseanne Cropped Top and Thirtyfour Ribbed Wrap Skirt.
You try alternative techniques on the piano, sometimes you play the piano as if it’s another instrument. How are you with other instruments?

The purpose of this is to imitate instruments of a rock band on the piano. Like creating the sound of a guitar or distortions… When I was a kid, I wanted to play the violin but they didn’t let me in order to concentrate on instruments. In elementary school, I played the percussions but as a part of a class band. Now I don’t play any other instrument, the piano is like an orchestra itself!

“My aim is to bring crazy performers and composers, from two different centuries together, through the power of piano.”

Which concert excited you the most?

When I was nine, I was going to play JS Bach’s fifth Piano Concerto with an orchestra. The other orchestra members were four to five times older than I. Before the concert, I played hops- cotch on the stage, and I tried the percussion. During the concert, I was burning with excitement of performing this incredible piece, which is usually played by 30 to 40-year-olds!

What’s your pre-concert routine?

Before a concert, I lock myself in my house. I stop all my social activities and spend time with my piano. The day before the concert, I get up, practice, and then sleep. I eat food with proteins before the rehearsal. I warm up backstage before the performance, then begin.

Ayşe Deniz wears Cashmere In Love Twentyeight Beaded Pullover and Sari Envelope Skirt.
Your different approach to music sets you apart from others. In our minds, this unifies you with Cashmere In Love’s innovation approach to cashmere – which has been a cult texture for fashion. What is your take on re-arranging conventional concepts?

There are elements in each style that can be taken as an example. This is the same for both music and fashion. To present different perspectives by taking risks is more important than imitating what others do.

Interview: Duygu Bengi

Photography: Ämr Ezzeldinn

Fashion Editor: Işıl Gün

Videography: Sergi Planas