We are incredibly lucky to have Zachary Daza as our in-house pianist for the 2019/2020 Season. Zachary is an exceptional musician, and we wanted to shine a spotlight on him and formally introduce him to our community. Check out this interview with Zachary to get to know him better and learn what it takes to be a collaborative pianist for Vera Causa Opera.
When did you first start playing the piano, and what drew you to the instrument?
I started playing the piano when I was 14. Put simply, I had heard Für Elise and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in some movies I saw in school, and was intrigued by the emotions those pieces made me feel. I knew I had to get into classical music, so I asked my parents for a piano. The piano was from circa 1896 and could not be tuned to pitch (and I paid for half of the price with all of the money I had saved up), but that is how I started out.
What kinds of music do you like? Have you always been an opera fan?
I like mainly classical and romantic music; my favourite composers are Beethoven, Chopin, and Liszt. Notably, I also have a love for heavy metal. I became an opera fan when I went to see Der Rosenkavalier when The Met performed and streamed it to movie theatres a few years ago.
What do you like about playing with VCO?
Well, I like everything about playing with VCO! I suppose one thing in particular, though, is getting to play in an ensemble environment. Before VCO, I had never really played piano as part of an ensemble, so it has been a new and fun experience for me.
Being a pianist certainly has many unique challenges. How is playing for singers or as part of an orchestra differ from playing solo piano, or playing with other instruments?
Playing with singers involves a bit of push and pull, of course. Sometimes they want to slow down but you can’t let them, as much as you want to follow them. Playing for an orchestra is hard because you have to look at the conductor and always have the conductor’s tempo in mind. Looking at the conductor is not always easy when you have to not only look at your music, but your hands as well!
What would your dream gig look like?
Dream gig, huh? Well, despite being a pianist, I am not exactly the most interested in performing solo, as far as the present is concerned. I actually get pretty nervous performing solo in front of others! So I suppose I don’t have a dream gig at the moment.
What are some of your other interests besides music?
I have many other interests in life. To name a few (in no particular order), I enjoy video games, reading, music composition, learning languages, and long distance biking.
Give us a fun fact about yourself.
My favourite video game is Gauntlet: Dark Legacy (yes, old school), and to this day I’ve beaten the game over 20 times. The last realm (nightmare realm) is a masterpiece on so many artistic levels; highly recommend giving it a play through!
Catch Zachary in Community Opera Fest, playing June 19th and 20th in Cambridge and Waterloo.