Think of iconic Finnish tunes and you’ll likely choose Sandstorm by Darude, Freestyler by Bomfunk MC’s or In the Shadows by The Rasmus. However, you’re very unlikely to have heard them played on the piano. That will change once you check out the social media channels of Mindaugas Neverovas.
Born to play
The Lithuanian pianist and piano teacher graduated from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn in 2015, before studying for two years at Helsinki’s prestigious Sibelius Academy. Since then, he’s given numerous solo recitals across Europe and participated in music festivals such the Piano Pic Festival at Bagnères-de-Bigorre in France.
So how did this classical pianist end up doing YouTube covers of some of Finland’s most iconic tunes? To find out, we sat down with Mindaugas to learn more about his musical journey.
“My mother is a musician and music teacher who specialised in small children’s education, so it was inevitable I’d start playing an instrument at a young age,” Mindaugas says. “She noticed my interest and talent for piano when I was just 5. First she taught me herself and later I was sent to a music school.”
Making music magic
Mindaugas has performed countless times for audiences both big and small. Needless to say, to stay at the peak of his profession, he must practice dozens of hours every week. This dedication underlines Mindaugas’s passion for music. So, what does he see as the best and worst things about playing?
“I love the power of music itself,” Mindaugas says. “Every time I touch the keys, it’s like magic as the vibrations and resonance of the piano flow through my body and mind. Classical music has a healing power, it’s like a therapist with whom you can talk and it talks back to you. I feel privileged to be able to play and interpret masterworks of geniuses like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and many more.”
Finn for the win
But it’s not all smooth sailing even for an experience pianist like Mindaugas. He still gets stage fright. “The worst thing is the fear of forgetting something or something going horribly wrong. That’s why you need to be prepared 150% in order to execute 80-90%. 100% hardly ever happens. It’s a profession which requires daily work and constant learning.”
What about Finnish music that he’s so marvellously interpreted – who is Mindaugas’s favourite Finnish composer and why?
“I love Jean Sibelius. His ability to take notes and develop and transform them into themes so organically and completely is wonderful. His music is nationalistic, yet mysterious with a sound that is pure and colourful. You can often literally hear Finnish nature and landscapes in his music.”
Sibelius is clearly a much-loved favourite of classical pianists worldwide. Less so the Finnish hits that Mindaugas not only plays on his social media channels, but also dresses up for to really bring the pieces to life. His Finnish repertoire is a trip down memory lane, he says.
“I like Rasmus, HIM, Lordi, Darude and Bomfunk MC’s, because they had huge hits which I listened to as a teenager. To be honest, until I came to Finland, I didn’t even know these were Finnish songs, but I was happy to discover they were!”
We can safely assume Mindaugas won’t be the only one to discover that. Hopefully, we’ll see him discover and interpret many more Finnish iconic tunes he likes, too. Until then, be sure to head on over to his channels and watch him in action. We promise you’ll be wowed.