“Music expresses that which cannot be put in words and cannot remain silent.” ~Victor Hugo
This young creative soul is unique and humble beyond words. The music he plays is heart touching, inspiring, at times stormy and at times calm, and it always finds its way to your heart. Sharon Lars Steffens is a German pianist and a self-taught or, better said, a self-felt improviser that creates his music on the go and if it does not get recorded, it gets lost in the space of time. The best way to truly describe him and his musical talent would be in his own words – I Am Music.
What is Music to you?
I grew up with music. I started listening to classical music at the age of three, and at the age of five I began playing piano, later I added clarinet so to be able to play in orchestra. During the schooldays I more or less started using the piano as a very intimate way of expressing myself. And I mostly used this channel when I felt I had no other way to express myself.
When I started studying physics, I paused making music for about two years. Then, later, I began playing again, but this time I started improvising… About five years ago I played on piano an improvisation about a friend of mine and he became very impressed with what he heard and also the things I told him about that I saw in my mind while playing.
Also some time ago I became interested in spirituality and because of that I blessedly met wonderful people who have been guiding me in that way since. This new experience opened new creative channels in me. I often get feedback that my playing touches people very deeply… When I play, I do not necessarily intend to evoke this. I just play the music that is all within and around me.
You said you studied physics? Why physics?
I first got interested in physics after some kind of mystic experience I had at the age of 12 concerning a question ‘what is time?’ My father gave me a book about physics and as a result I started learning advanced physics and maths all by myself so to get answers to my questions. Eventually, after graduating from school, I decided to study physics. I finished with the thesis about the topic from atomic quantum physics. Afterwards I worked in the field of nanoelectronics.
This is amazing. Now, coming back to music… What do you feel while you play? How does it all come to you?
Music is simply there and all I have to do is to grasp it. I let go of thinking and my surroundings and allow music to happen… My fingers know how and what to play. I also get some additional musical ideas while playing, which I use as some kind of overall guideline.
The improvisational playing feels as a natural state to me. I just go with the flow. I usually also get some information about the topic I am playing about, some mental images or at least some feelings about it. In other words, it is like a meditation to me.
Do you look at the keyboard when playing?
Most of the times Yes. Sometimes while playing I close my eyes to get a clearer view of my inner visions (or if I play for the audience, sometimes I look at them just to check if they are still there)
That depends. In general, I play about things of everyday life from a spiritual point of view… In the most recent concerts I explicitly asked audience to give me topics they wanted to hear me playing. On the other hand, I play for and about people what I call the sound portraits…
A Sound portrait… What is it?
A sound portrait is a piece of music that I play to portrait the inner essence of certain people. I set the spiritual being of the person into music. This helps me to give an idea to people about the beauty of their inner self.
Say, if you played a sound portrait for me/ about me, what topic do you think it would be and how would it come to you?
If I played a sound portrait for you, then the topic would be about you and just you. With this I mean the qualities of your heart, your soul. It would come to me by opening my heart to you, sensing, connecting to your being. And then I would begin playing and my fingers would interpret messages that come from the heart. I don’t think there is a need to state a certain topic, because everything is in the music itself and to get the message you don’t need the mind, but only the heart.
You did play for me when we had our live conversation via Skype. That music that came through you and manifested in a beautiful sound… What was it? Did you play about me already then or do you need for the person to be near you for you to be able to pick up that special sensation?
In fact yes, I played about you. In principle, I can play about a person without even being near to them, without having any physical contact with them. We are all connected…
I remember, when I met you in Germany in March this year, I asked you how long it took you to compose music. And the answer you gave me truly surprised me, so I re-asked the same question a few more times. You said that it takes you just 3 to 5 minutes to create that amazing piece of music, in other words, for as long as that piece of music you played lasts. So now here is my question. Can you re-play it again? Do you remember what you play?
No, usually I do not remember what I played and thus I cannot replay it in the same way. So, every time it is different. This also makes sense as I want to catch the specific moment. Nevertheless, I would like for my music to be written down on the piece of paper so that others could play it as well. Currently, I do record it and save it on CDs.
I have one of your CDs titled Day and Night. It is beautiful, Sharon. I do listen to it quite often, especially in the evenings. After you listen to your own playing, do you get surprised with what just came out of you – that beautiful piece of music?
If I wanted to buy one of your CDs, how and where could I get it?
At the moment my CDs can be downloaded via iTunes and Amazon. Additionally, I am working on making new CD and DVD projects, which soon will be available on my online shop www.blessed-gifts.de together with some live recordings of my concerts.
Is there anything else you like doing apart music, Sharon?
I consider spirituality to be the basis of my life. With spirituality I mean to live from within, from the heart, to live it in everyday life following the guiding principle of knowing thyself. Spirituality besides music and physics is the third great interest in my life.
I began my very personal journey to my inner-self during some rough time during my studies, and now after the storm had passed and I by this process remembered the path of my heart, I too started working as a spiritual guide – guiding people to follow the way of their heart. And music is a big part of it…
It is amazing to see how Music is capable of touching people to the depths of their core. When we were talking you said something very profound to me. You said – I Am Music. I got Goosebumps after hearing your words. Do you start feeling music only when you sit at the piano or do you feel music within you most of the times?
The world around us is all music, it is all sound and I feel it all the time. A word Feeling is the only one that could explain how it all comes to me and through me. I feel it. Usually I hear music only when I choose to hear and play it, but in truth the feeling itself is always there.
Does music happen to you spontaneously during your concerts as well?
Yes, it does. I improvise in the same way. For my first concerts I worked out an overall topic and the titles of the pieces and then improvised following the programme. Some time ago I also began asking the audience to give me topics they would like to hear me playing, so now even the topics and titles of my musical pieces are created spontaneously.
How do you see yourself, say, in 5 years time? Where do you think your artistic talent will lead you?
I see myself playing and improvising further and growing in my chosen way of creative expression. Also I see myself working as a spiritual guide guiding people to recognize themselves. I want to expand these activities by giving seminars and workshops including my creative work with music.
My vision is to give concerts all-around the world, to produce individual and heart touching pieces for different purposes, and also to work together with other artists. For instance, currently I create music for paintings of one Polish painter. I also envision myself some time in the future producing music for films, musicals, and much much more. Possibilities are endless.
I see a deep connection between my work as a spiritual guide and musician. Let’s see if quantum physics could be connected to this as well…
What do you mean by saying blending paintings with music?
What I mean is like a ‘sound portrait’ for a painting. Once one Polish painter listened to one of my concerts and asked if I could create music for one of her paintings. She was that excited about the end result that right now we are working on a ‘multimedia’ project resulting in blending several of her paintings with my music, so that the viewer also could listen to the painting. In other words, the painting receives a voice to express itself.
All that you do sound so unique. I would love to attend one of your concerts. I would like to hear you playing in London, Sharon.
I would like to give concerts at a broader range, so a concert in London would be great!
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YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/LarsSSteffens
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