By Mudassir Raja
As the bow hit the base her cello, a sense of classical clarity coupled with a sound distinctly European mesmerised the audience. The cellist was thriving with energy on stage and she appeared as a force to be reckoned with.
Ana Rucner, a Croatian musician, captivated people with her melodious songs coupled with colourful videos as she performed at the recent launch of the Croatian Business Council.
This was Rucner’s debut performance in Qatar. Following the event, Community sat with the visiting artiste to talk about her life and music journey thus far.
“I was born in Zagreb, Croatia, into a family of great musical talents. My parents are both classically trained musicians. My mother Snje?ana is also a cellist, soloist with the Croatian National Theater, while my father Dragan is a violist, soloist with the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra. My brother Mario is a violist as well. I am married and have a 12-year-old son,” she said.
“In 1998, my parents founded the now internationally acclaimed Rucner String Quartet. My parents have been the greatest musical influence throughout my education and career. When I was 17 or 18 years old, I started to have the imagination to make some music for young people, commercial music and the mix music. So I just started playing a little bit of rock, modern and classical music. By the passage of time, I started making different projects to present my small but beautiful country to the world. I started making music videos and multimedia projects. When I sing alone on the stage, I always have the videos in the background showing my beloved country.”
Rucner is one of Croatia’s most successful performers and her shows are well received all over the world. She is popular for being one of the most innovative classical artistes to emerge over the past several decades with numerous national and international awards.
“I have toured China, Korea, Japan, India, Russia, Scandinavian countries, Australia, US, Canada, Brazil, Holland, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Monte Negro, Macedonia, Greece, Israel, Turkey and the UAE. This was my first visit to Qatar.”
“I have been spreading the joy of music and the genius of some of the greatest composers of all times in my modern and unique style. Actually, my unique style is the basis of my international success. Elements of classical, modern, ethno and world music and attractive performance on stage place me in the elite circle of Croatia’s musical performers.
“I was the first Croatian musician playing electrical cello which enabled me to attract younger listeners as well. My performances have been receiving critical acclaims from my audience and fans from the world around.”
She added: “I had the privilege to play with many famous artistes. At my early age, I played with Slovenian Maribor Philharmonic Orchestra and legendary Lalo Schifrin, the author of the main theme from the movie Mission Impossible. I also co-operated with David Müller, member of the famous quartet Il Divo, Peter Soave, the world’s most noted bandoneonist and accordion player, and many others.”
In 2008, Ana received the honorary status of free artist, joining an exclusive club of individuals whose activity influences and shapes development and recognisability of Croatian culture worldwide.
“I have been honoured with 27 esteemed local and international awards for Croatian tourist videos and many people call me the ambassador for Croatia. I am also a proud honorary ambassador of the City of Beijing. I have received various awards and recognitions for my albums and videos from different countries in the world.”
Speaking about what kind of music she played for Croatian Business Council concert, she said: “I played small pieces from classical European music and musicians. I also played some beautiful Croatian pieces. We have very good traditional music in Croatia.
“I started singing later in my career. Now I have also started creating my original songs with different known producers.”
Expressing her love for cello, Ana said: “I do not know why but I just love cello. I have been breathing with it all my life. It has become a part of myself. The day my mother gave a cello to me, I have been in love with the instrument.”
Sharing her thoughts about music in general, she said: “I think classical music is like speaking all world languages. If you put it in some package, which people can understand, this is a kind of creation. Music is for all to enjoy. Music is love. Music is freedom. It is beautiful to be a musician, to be an artiste and to have this gift.
“Music is my style of life. It is not a job or a profession. It is lifestyle. When I play music on the stage, I have so many different feelings. I can be angry. I can be passionate. I can be sad.”
When asked about her plans for the future, the musician said: “I have never been dreaming of reaching at a certain stage. I am going step by step in my life and dreaming about the moment. I have played with famous musicians and in front of many leaders all around the world.”
Sharing her first impression of Qatar, Ana said: “Honestly, when I came here, I felt so good. I do not know why. The people are very nice here. It seems that they are taking good care of their people. It looks very safe here. I have been to some good places. It is a wonderful city. I enjoyed the concert. They are real professional people and I like to work with professional people. They have been taking care of every second of my stay here. I would like to come back. [Laughingly] Actually, I do not want to go away. I really appreciate Mario Lozancic, president of the Croatian Business Council for inviting me here. I just met him when I reached here. I found him very cordial and friendly. But you know, this is the mentality of our [Croatian] people. They are loud and strong. They like to go to the end to something.”
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