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Arts & Life

Partners In Music: Ben Sayevich And Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich

Julie Denesha

It’s late morning and a dim light filters in through the stained glass windows at the chapel at Park University. Lithuanian-Israeli violinist Ben Sayevich, and his wife Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich rehearse with a handful of students onstage at Park University’s Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel. They’re practicing a rarely-performed Concerto in D for Violin, Piano and String Quartet, Op. 21, by French composer Ernest Chausson.

Sayevich, a professor of music and violin at at Park’s International School of Music, first met Lisovskaya-Sayevich seven years ago. He says he noticed at once she had a special talent for musical collaboration.

“Music is very unique in all art forms, because it is a living imaginary world when you are making music, “ Sayevich says. “That is the ideal, and when you make music together with other people, you have to have a very similar imagination."

Finding a companion who shares your passion

Originally from Uzbekistan, Lisovskaya-Sayevich works with students during the rehearsal process and accompanies them on piano in performances. She says it was important for her to find a companion who shared her passion for classical music.

“I started playing piano when I was four. My grandmother, my grandfather, and both parents are musicians,” Lisovskaya-Sayevich says. “I cannot imagine myself to be with someone who is not in classical music. I wouldn’t be able to share my love and my passion This is a very big and very important fact about the relationship that we have, that we are both musicians.”

According to Sayevich, finding the harmony in working with other musicians can be rewarding.

On stage, all the arguments go away

“When we started playing together, that even though we had many arguments about things, naturally that happens to all musicians that you cannot always feel exactly the same,” says Sayevich. “But we discovered when we are on stage all the arguments go aside and you listen to each other and if you are glued to the music and glued to the partner you are playing, you will make it happen and that will be exciting.”

The musical rapport they have together is difficult to quantify for Lisovskaya-Sayevich, but she says she finds their collaboration musically fulfilling.

“We just, just work together," Lisovskaya-Sayevich says with a laugh. “It’s just click, you know, and I love when I work at his studio. I work with his class and I like to listen to his lesson with students because it’s different all the time and you are learning all the time from him. It’s never enough for you.”

Sayevich says it is vital for musicians who work together to be unified in a common goal.

Finding the right musical partners is 'the key'

“You have to feel very strongly together about the main character of the music that you want to express” says Sayevich. “Only then, the audience will actually get your message across. So, naturally, it is not that easy to find those kind of partners, you know, where you hold the key to door of this magical world. And when it happens, this is when great music, hopefully, can take place.”

As important as music is for both of them, Lisovskaya-Sayevich says it is also important to have time for each other too.

Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR
Originally from Uzbekistan, Lisovskaya-Sayevich is a collaborative pianist at the International Center for Music at Park University.

“We actually don’t talk about music all the time at all,” she says. “Of course, when we are working, it’s all about it, but when we go home, we have a baby and it’s all around her so, no, only when we are working.”

And both musicians agree that a professional attitude is essential when working closely together.

“For couples who work together, my best advice is to keep the relationship out of the rehearsals, to keep them at home, and to concentrate purely on music,” says Sayevich. “I think that is the healthiest way to coexist, as musicians.”

Park University’s International Center for Music presents Ben Sayevich and Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich performing Ernest Chausson, the Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet op. 21. Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel.

Find out more about creative couples in Kansas City here.

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