I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming concert for ANA RUCNER, the beautiful and superbly gifted cellist from Croatia, taking place at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga (just W. of Toronto, Canada) on Sunday September 27th (7:30pm showtime) presented exclusively by Toronto-based Cronnexion Entertainment & Events.
Rucner will perform two sets of contemporary and classical pieces, accompanied by special guests University of Toronto String Quartet, and will also feature videos of her beloved Croatia. Tickets are $55 – $75 and are available from the Living Arts Centre: http://www.livingartscentre.ca/theatre-performances/world-classics-and-croatian-beautiesOne of the most innovative classical artists to emerge over the past several decades with numerous national and international awards, Rucner is one of Croatia’s most successful performers whose shows are well received all over the world. Her unique style and creative repertoire, a combination of classical, modern and world music make Ana a highly recognizable face of music today far outside her native country. Ana’s solo performances and concerts with symphonic orchestras or piano, in concert halls or sport arenas, have attracted thousands of fans.I had the opportunity to chat online with Ana and ask her about her career, her summer concert tour across Europe and her expectations for the upcoming Canadian date.
What first inspired you to learn cello, and can you tell us about your very first performance?
I was raised in a family of musicians, my mother also plays cello, my father plays viola, as does my brother. Since I was a little girl, I enjoyed beautiful classical music and fell in love with cello. When I was a student, at the age of 17, I started to perform and had different concerts, with some of my friends and also as an honorary member of Maribor Philharmonic Orchestra in Slovenia.
Has your family been supportive and encouraging with your career? And are any other family members who are musicians or artists? I always had and still have enormous support from my family, and they usually give me a lot of very useful advice as they have a lot of musical experience.
Do you have fans already in Canada or will this upcoming concert be your first foray into the North American market? I have previously visited Canada and enjoyed it so much, especially Niagara Falls. It is really a beautiful country and I’m looking forward to performing on Sept. 27th. I believe among all my FB fans there are many from Canada.
I gather you’ve spent the summer touring and performing across Europe, can you share any road stories with us? For example: what stages have you played on? What countries or cities, any interesting stories about fans or fellow musicians? This summer I was very busy, but very proud of all of my various concerts, and some of them were completely new experiences and challenging for me.
My busy summer started with my own Festival in Dubrovnik (5th anniversary) called Ana in Town. We have 5 concerts in four days, with esteemed guests from London like Oliver Poole, and from Italy Luca Lucini and Mario Stefano Pietrodarchi. The last day of the Festival, June 21 was special: at 5am we celebrated the first day of summer together with World Music Day on the top of the hill Srđ, overlooking Dubrovnik (famous as the location of many scenes from Game of Thrones). My mother played cello with me and it was like magic playing and looking at the first sun showing its beautiful golden face. That same day in the evening, there was a concert at Dubrovnik National Theatre where I played with the Symphonic Orchestra from Mostar and we all enjoyed the music from the most popular movies like Schindler’s List, Pirates of the Caribbean, Love Story and many others.
Dubrovnik, pearl of the Adriatic
During the Beck’sperience club tour in July and August, I was performing the latest hits live together with DJ Tom Polo. Our audience was mostly young people and they just loved it. We were touring on the Adriatic coast and had one great concert in the Church of St. Matthew in Bakar, Istria – I always feel special when playing in sacred places.I also launched my latest video “Alkar’s Pride” in Sinj, which already has a lot of fans on you tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EXiD4uxEWM) . We produced this video during the 300th Anniversary of Sinjska Alka – a very important annual traditional equestrian competition in Sinj, and we believe the video may win several awards.
In cooperation with the Tourist Board of Novigrad in Istria, we launched another video “Habanera”, completely different from all the previous videos, modern and dynamic. I also had the pleasure of introducing my music and videos to several groups of tourists who came to Croatia from all over the World – we work with tour operators who take care of entertainment for their clients’ holidays.You are a passionate ambassador for Croatia – how do you find the rest of the world receives artists from Croatia? Do people know about the wealth of talent and cultural heritage that is incorporated into contemporary arts and music? I love my country and use every opportunity to share my Croatian cultural heritage and music. As I have been honoured to receive several awards for tourist videos of Croatia, some people also call me “ambassador for Croatia” and I find that very flattering. I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot and many people throughout the World already have heard about our beautiful country but when they see also videos they are impressed and grateful for having a chance to see so much beauty. I am also a honorary ambassador of the City of Beijing which is a great honour for me.
Wherever I travel, I’m always warmly greeted; I feel their respect for my music and my country. Some Croatian artists like some actors, singers and artists are very popular Worldwide, and I am happy people appreciate our culture, but they mostly remember our footballers, basketball players, tennis players…I’ve viewed a number of your YouTube videos and really enjoy your classical repertoire, but I love it when you add a little “rock star” attitude to your contemporary pieces. How do you mix your classical with contemporary styles that work so well? Do you work with video directors or are these all your own ideas? Generally all ideas for videos are mine, I enjoy making videos as a part of my creative process, but it would be impossible without the team of top professionals including producers, video directors, directors and other team members. Each video is a result of team work and I am so excited for being able to show some of them to your public in Canada. I love mixing classical with contemporary style – it’s my favourite style – as it is the way I see and feel music. What is your latest CD called and what is the theme or genre of music? Can fans purchase online uploads of your music as well as CDs?
Yes, it’s possible to purchase two of my CD’s – Expression and Vječne uspavanke (Lullabies for Babies) from iTunes and Amazon.com. My latest album, Expression, one of my favourites, offering classical pieces like The Sabre Dance, Moonlight, Bolero, Alla Turca and Ode to Joy but I play them in a style that combines classical with modern music.
Have you recorded or performed with any other stars of classical or contemporary/pop artists that we might know?
Oh yes, and many of them were my guests at this summer’s Festival, including Oliver Poole, a great young British piano player, then two Italian musicians Luca Lucini and Mario Stefano Pietrodarchi – both great artists. A few years ago I had the privilege of playing with Peter Soave, the world famous accordionist & bandoneonist from USA. While playing with Maribor Phylharmonic Orchestra, I had the chance to play with the legendary Lalo Schrifrin who wrote the main theme for the movie Mission Impossible (also famous for the soundtracks or scores from Bullitt, Enter the Dragon, Cool Hand Luke and TV’s Planet of the Apes and Starsky & Hutch) I also collaborated with David Muller, one of the members of famous quartet Il Divo. There were also many performances with famous Croatian musicians, for example rock band Srebrna Krila (Silver Wings) who were the most popular band in the ex-Yugoslavia and they influenced my work as I like their live instruments.
What do you most look forward to about your visit to Toronto?
First of all, I’m looking forward to meeting all of the wonderful people working so hard to bring me to Canada. Then, for me, each concert is a new adventure and experience but I will do my best to give the audience the best concert experience – that is always the greatest reward for me! On a more personal note, I would like to see Niagara Falls again and try the Edge Walk on top of the CN Tower. So…see you all soon and we will have a great time, I promise!
To learn more about Ana Rucner, visit her website and social media: www.anarucner.com www.anarucner.com/youtube www.anarucner.com/facebook
Ana’s concert will be MC’d by Canadian music icon and founding veejay of MuchMusic TV channel, MICHAEL WILLIAMS.