The Dreamers from Sonoro

They love music with infinite passion and they would play Schumann and Brahms every single day. But they also are fascinated by opera singers and… Japanese designers. In one morning, just in the middle of Sonoro festival, I talked with Diana Ketler (piano) and Alissa Margulis (violin) about their favorite parts of music, about composers, love stories in musical history and a life between planes and music festivals.
I had the privilege to listen them (and their colleagues) at the rehearsal for Luigi Boccherini cvintet. And to see them, along with other talented musicians, on the stages of the 10th edition of Sonoro Festival. (Info about Sonoro’s schedule on

diana ketler

Diana Ketler

alissa margulis

Alissa Margulis

It is not your first time at Sonoro festival, right?
Diana Ketler (smiling): Definitely not for me, I am one of the organizers.
Alissa Margulis: It is my second time here, in Bucharest.
An which one is your favorite?
D.K.: This one, for sure. Otherwise it is not possible. It must be the one you are in.
Do you often play in this formula? With the same colleagues on the stage?
D.K.: Sometimes yes, sometimes you play for the first time with somebody. You know, the whole thing is just like a puzzle. Every time is different.
A.M.: You could play many times with some people, or it could be the first time and you have to adjust… But that is why we have rehearsals.
How many hours do you practice for a performance?
A.M.: The whole day, actually. But we are rehearsing different parts of different pieces every day, so it And what was, for this edition, the most difficult part? To play, to rehears…
D.K.: For example, because the other pianist (Konstantin Lifschitz) had to leave because of some personal problems, I had to change some pieces. Last night, the Brahms part was difficult; sometimes I had to play some parts I wasn’t supposed to… Things happen.
I love about this festival the part when somebody explain to the public what is going to be played and, most important, what is the story behind a specific piece. Like that story behind the Brahms piece, his love story with Clara Schumann… How do you see that from the other part of the scene?
A.M.: For us, sometimes, it is difficult because not everybody is used to speak in front of an audience. It is a bit stressful. But, on the other hand, we know that is interesting and useful for the public, because we imagined that everybody knows all about the composer or the work and in fact people would like to know more, to find out new and interesting things.
Talking about the stories… what is your favorite one in the music history?
D.K.: Well, every story is special to us.
A.M.: I think many musicians love the stories related to Clara Schumann; she was an important figure in that music era. And a lot of music was inspired by her.
You both play since you are very young. Do you still have a lot of emotions before a performance?
D.K.: You mean… anxiety? No…
A.M.: Well, it depends. Sometimes, it depends on what you play.
D.K.: I think is good to be a little bit nervous. It makes the performance better. But I think that kind of anxiety don’t get better or worse with experience.
Do you play Romanian music?
A.M.: Yes, we play Enescu. I love Enescu! And Dinicu, he wrote an incredible violin part!
D.K.: We played a pice by Dan Dediu he wrote it for our ensemble.
And you favorite composer?
A.M.: You cannot pick just one. Mozart, of course. Than Brahms, everybody is obsessed by Brahms. Then Schumann.
D.K.: But if I have to choose just one and stick with it, that would be Mozart.
Your favorite part to listen to?
A.M.: I like to listen big symphony orchestras, like Mahler, Bruckner, because I don’t get to play myself. Also I love opera, I like Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Anna Netrebko, she’s just amazing.
D.K.: I like opera a lot. My favorite is Jonas Kaufmann, I think he’s brilliant.
Your personal music icon?
D.K.: Carlos Kleiber, the conductor, a complete genius.
A.M.: I grow up in a piano players family, so I had a lot of figures around me. My dad.
Why did you choose your instrument (piano, violin)?
D.K.: My father wanted someone to accompany him. So I did that, at the piano.
A.M.: Everybody in my family was playing piano, so I wanted to do something a little bit different.

Photography: Șerban Mestecăneanu,
Thank for the support Oana Dobre & Răzvan Popovici ( and BMW România (


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