A psychology, mathematics and philosophy enthusiast; the recipient of many prestigious awards including Choc Jazzman, Disque d’émoi Jazz Magazine and Victoires du Jazz; a man of adventure and experiment… How many pianists fit this description? We know at least one – Yaron Herman.

We talked to Herman, one of the most extraordinary pianists of our time, before his “From Mozart to Ellington” concert with Geneva Camerata & David Greilsammer at IKSV Music Festival.

Is there any moment in your life that changed your perceptions about music?

The first time I heard Keith Jarrett play was a life changing moment. I started to realize that through music one can access a whole other dimension of being that is out of the ordinary like a passage to a new world.

What was the boldest move you did in your musical career?

To choose to have musical career. (laughs)

What is the best advice you can give to a musician who wants to improvise?

Studying improvisation is like learning to dance. You can study the moves but then you need to have the feeling and the intuition to do the right thing at the right time and create your own style. There no substitution to learning the history and techniques of great improvisers and then forgetting it all and just doing it.

What is your favorite rock band of all times?

That’s a hard one. I’d have to say it’s probably Radiohead, I could not even pick one song. I think I love it too much to choose just one. I admire their capacity of creating beautiful songs, that are very complex musically and yet can touch the soul in a unique way.

Are there any musicians from the past you wish you perform together on stage?

I would have loved to play with Coltrane and take lessons from Bach.

What would you like to say about Britney Spears?

Not much, I hope she’s less toxic.

How will you spend your free time in Istanbul after your concert?

Probably go out and explore this beautiful city, get some good food and enjoy the atmosphere and hopefully meet some new friends.