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World Mag > WM Winter 2011 edition > The interview with Petru Calinescu

The interview with Petru Calinescu

As a musician, you don’t “go to work”. You are the work. The instrument is within you, and so it feels much more personal when people criticise you.
Petru Calinescu - Class of 2005
Petru Calinescu - Class of 2005

WM: Petru, let’s start by telling everybody what you do.

PC: I’m a singer/songwriter and occasionalactor. I have just finished my BA studies at theprestigious Liverpool Institute For Perform-
ing Arts (founded by Sir Paul McCartney) this summer and have decided to return to Romania after university to try to apply what I’ve learned and experienced in England to the Romanian music scene which, in my opinion, is not dis- playing the level of quality and professionalism that it has the potential for, and deserves.


WM: How did AISB contribute to choosing your career?


PC: Having always had parents who were per- forming artists meant that I have been exposed to that world since I was very young. However, it was not until my time at AISB that I decided this is what I want to do with my life. I have had the fortune of working with (and being inspired by) Mr. Greg Jemison and Ms. Terry Ham, both of which were instrumental in developing the AISB performing arts scene to the heights it reached in the 2003-2005 period when I was there. And I’m glad I was there centre-stage for that. Work- ing with them, and the wonderful performances we did together at AISB made me realize this is what I want to do with my life.


WM: What have you been going through while pursuing your life-dream? How hard is to choose this type of career?

PC: It’s a very risky path to take in life, that’s for sure. There are rarely any stable periods of employment in this line of work, especially when you’re just starting out. Fresh out of uni, trying to put together a band and to make it work at a time of global crisis when there is not a lot ofmoney in the performing arts is a difficult path totake. One has to be really passionate about art, and to be totally fascinated by the process of creating art and sharing it with an audience. You have to feel that this is the thing that makes you happiest in the whole world, and to be preparedfor less professional and financial certainty asyou might have in other lines of work. You also have to learn to develop a strong outer shell, because as a musician, you don’t “go to work”. You are the work. The instrument is within you, and so it feels much more personal when people criticise you, so you have to learn to deal with that. And always be kind to everyone, from the director of the show to the person wipingthe floor with a mop. All of them contribute to a successful show, so you must remember to thank everybody!

WM: You were a special guest at the 2011 Auction Gala, where you performed in front of many AISB parents and teachers. How did it feel like?

PC: That was a great honour, and a dream come true for me, to sing in front of an AISB audience after all these years. It felt like coming home, in a way, and I felt honoured by all the nice compliments that I received that night. It’s just a shame I had to sing to backing tracks, but if they ever invite me back, I hope to have a proper band behind me to do it right this time!


WM: What would you advise the current AISB students to follow in life? Would you recommend arts as a way of making a living?


PC: I think everybody should follow their heart and do the thing that makes them the happiest. If you’re good at sports, maybe you should be a professional athlete! If you want to be a lawyer, be a lawyer! If you want to teach and inspire others, be a teacher! If you like to sing, then you should sing! It is unnatural, in my opinion, to be forced to do something with your life that you do not want to do. Of course, I was also lucky to have parents who always supported what I wanted to do, instead of what they wanted me to do, and I always felt encouraged by that, which enabled me to make these life decisions for myself. I guess the bottom line is that you have to determine where the line is drawn betweenwanting financial security and following your heart. Art offers less guarantees that you’ll “makea living” out of it, especially in the early stages of a career, so you might have to take on a side jobto survive. But whenever you do find success, it is infinitely more rewarding on a personal levelthan a boring, desk job. To me, at least!

WM: What would your recommendations be for choosing the right college towards the musical career?

PC: My personal recommendations for popular music degrees:

• The Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts (UK)

• Berklee College Of Music (USA)

• Tech Music School (UK)

• Academy Of Contemporary Music (UK)


WM: Is there anything else you would like to share with the AISB community?


PC: I want to tell every student to enjoy their time there as much as they can, as it is a unique, magical environment that I have not been able tofind since. Do well at the academic side but alsoenjoy the time you spend with your friends and (if I may) don’t be afraid if you have to choose one night between doing your homework and learning your lines (and choosing the latter). It will mean an argument with the teacher the next day but could lead you to a rewarding profession inlife! Thanks a lot for offering me the opportunity to partake in this first issue of the Alumni Magazine. I am already looking forward to my next performance in front of an AISB crowd! And also, seeing the upandcoming artists there and maybe inspiring them to follow this path in life!

Read the entire WORLD Magazine Winter 2011 edition here.


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