Mihran Kalaydjian is a musical painter of spellbinding lyrics and grand compositions. He is also known by the nickname, “Mino” who is truly a musical storyteller that connects to his audience by the delightful keyboard melodies and heartwarming songs.
Born in Jerusalem, Israel to Armenian parents and raised in the United States, this provided Mino with an outlet to reflect both cultures and rhythmic sounds that emulates the diverse talents he posses.
Mino has been playing the piano since the tender age of seven and at the age of fourteen he was greatly influenced by a musical teacher, Colin Stone, who Mino calls brilliant and inspirational to his long standing musical career.
Whether playing solo or with his band Element, Mino delights his audience with charismatic music and mesmerizing words.
I am enthralled at the opportunity to introduce you to Mihran Kalaydjian and I want to personally thank him for this interview and to be a part of my Arts & Entertainment Features:
Tell us about yourself?
I am a Contemporary Solo Pianist & Composer. My original solo piano compositions are often described as “musical storytelling”, and are haunting and contagious, relaxing and beautiful, peaceful and touching.
I believe in making the world a better place through music, whether it is a world premiere, entertaining millions live on TV or a performance of the iconic Goldberg Variations; I deliver what cannot be taught: the finest inner musicality, intuition of a natural composer and an electrifying drive.
I perform both solo & with orchestra at venues & festivals around the world & has been described as having an electrifying stage presence, charisma, talent for communication & improvisation that makes me a performer of unique entertaining talent.
I am a visionary on a mission, a charismatic leader, embracing everyone into the majestic world of sound with my poise, artistry and improvised interaction with audiences.
I’ve often been told that my music is “haunting and contagious”, “relaxing and beautiful”, “peaceful and touching”. I’ve also been told that my music is “captivating” and that it transports the listener into worlds of imagination and wonder. For me though, my music is my story…
Who or what inspires you to write your lyrics and compositions?
You know that question people ask musicians “who influences you most”? Well, I’ve never been able to answer it. For a while I thought I’d just list what music I grew up listening to, as that must have made an impact on my writing style and served as musical inspiration.
I grew up in a family of musicians. My mother is a piano teacher and my father was a conductor in Jerusalem, Israel. My mother had a large influence on my musical development; she was the one who introduced me to music. Thanks to her, I was surrounded by music from the very beginning.
Since childhood, I remember listening Berlioz’s “Fantastic Symphony”, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto, Chopin Etudes and many other beautiful music compositions.
You are a composer, songwriter, and singer which of these do you enjoy working on the most?
That’s another tricky one to answer… I commit myself entirely to whatever it is I’m playing, and I adore most of what’s on the musical menu.
You’re right; sometimes it is hard to choose simply because each instrument has its own unique quality. If I pick up my piano, I’ll write a song with a different vibe than if I was fiddling around with my accordion. But if I’d have to choose one I most enjoy playing, I’d have to go with piano.
The relationship between musical intention and execution is essential, and it’s good to ask yourself how you’ll best get from one to the other. It was the best ride of my life.
I’ve heard your songs in English, Armenian and Arabic which do you prefer more often?
It depends on how comfortable I feel. Sometimes, when I’m struggling with the music or just learning it, then, of course, I’m more self-conscious. But when you really know a song or are comfortable with people around you, then it’s much easier, it kind of works unconsciously.
I played with an Arab musician from Tunisia, and I would say the differences are just the melodic structures, the modes, and actually, the use of those quarter tones. Like, Swedish people have quarter tones, too. You know what I mean? So it depends on where you use it and how you use it. And of course the most important thing is the rhythmic structure of the song or the dance, and also the melodic structure.
Well, compositionally… I mean, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a sad mood or a romantic mood. Just compositionally, you can’t play a burning standard next to an Armenian song.
There are a few Armenian expressions that stand out from the rest for me. Words that are the only appropriate way to convey something, whether I’m speaking with an Armenian or an American or a Liberian. “You’re speaking from a warm place,” I’ll say in English, explaining that it’s an Armenian expression for someone who is in a convenient position to have a given attitude or belief.
What up and coming concerts where we could hear you perform?
I’m very excited, and challenged, by a commission project to write a work for three string quartets: the Kronos Quartet, the Providence String Quartet and the latter’s students at the amazing Community Music Works program in San Francisco, California, USA.
I continue to enjoy my collaboration as a soloist and composer, recording for the music publication Pianist Millennium Production; a tour in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, and New York for Christmas Melody; I will be travelling to Texas at the end of the year with other concert activities as usual; and learn more Rachmaninov pieces!
Mino invites you to visit and listen to his wonderful sights & sounds:
You may connect with Mino on the following social media platforms:
Written by Hadel S. Ma’ayeh, ©Copyright 2016, All rights reserved.
Images provided by Mihran Kalaydjian ©Copyright 2016, All rights reserved.