Where in the world are you now? What’s going on?
Dinara: I’m now in London. Last week we had a heatwave, which made it difficult to breathe, even when no face coverings were used. The lockdown hasn’t been strict here, but sadly we still aren’t allowed to perform, and all my engagements were cancelled till the end of this year, apart from a few online performances.
Antonii: Right now I am in Kiev, in Ukraine and it’s very hot. Tomorrow I will play my first off-line concert since March. Quite exciting.
How have you been using this time while not performing and staying at home? Have you taken up anything new? Have you learnt any new works?
Dinara: I’ve learned to cycle! I’ve been enjoying it – whilst breaking my body mildly. Other than that, I have been doing quite a bit of online teaching, exploring the unknown capacities of my patience.
Antonii: I’ve been practising without understanding when and where I will perform it. I’ve learned some new pieces by Beethoven, Prokofiev,Ligeti, some contemporaries also. I have watched many movies as well, even serials – I think it has been a perfect time for doing this.
You and Antonii both come from Ukraine. What is spring like there?
Dinara: Spring in Ukraine has changed over the years, according to what the older generation says. The official spring period is 1 March – 31 May. It’s highly expected to snow during the winter, so it also can easily snow in March. When the weather gets warmer, the snow on the ground changes to mud. And when the sun has been out for a sufficient amount of time, then the beauty begins. The most exciting for me is seeing the trees blossom. It’s common to have some fruit trees by the roadside in my hometown.
Antonii: Spring is very cool here, and we have so many trees blooming – lilacs, apricot and cherry trees, camellias, magnolias…
As soon as the weather warms up, many Australians swarm to the beach. What is the first thing you usually do in Spring?
Dinara: The first thing I do in spring is become happier somehow… the days are longer and more productive. Of course, it’s not uncommon for me to feel moretired during those months, but it compensates pretty well.
Antonii: When spring is warm it is so nice to walk around Kiev’s two botanical gardens.
There are so many songs and music about Spring? Could be any genre at all – do you have a favourite?
Dinara: Beethoven’s Spring Sonata!
Antonii: There is nothing better than Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
If you could invite 4 people – living or dead – to dinner, who would they be? Why? What would you make to eat?
Dinara: My mother, who’s now back home and whom I’m missing. My grandmother, who basically was my second mother. My grandfather, who I didn’t happen to meet as he passed away long before I was born. And Mozart. I’d treat them with Ukrainian Borscht – I think that’s the best I can cook.
Antonii: To be honest, I think if I invited famous people whom I don’t know for a dinner it would be confusing – both for me and for them. So I would just invite my friends and cook some grilled meat served with salad and red wine.
When you come to Sydney, what are you most looking forward to?
Dinara: I’m really looking forward to meeting some wildlife, and particularly koalas. My heart was breaking seeing how much trouble was caused by the bushfires.
Antonii: I’m looking forward to seeing Sydney’s architecture, eat Australian food, to experience the nature and explore its beauty, I am sure.