Some have it all. Mariam is blessed, for she is not only very talented, but also very beautiful and on top of that a very caring person. When she throws her head back and laughs, the sun starts shining, however, this does not mean she takes everything for granted. No, on the contrary, she is very dedicated and serious. “I am blessed to live in Europe, in a western society. There are so many unfortunate people in this world. It is my goal in life to make this world a bit better.”

It is for the first time that Mariam visits Hengelo. Although she likes to explore places and is eager to learn about it’s culture and meet the people who live there, she won’t have time to visit the city. Instead she will be flying off to perform in México. The travelling is absolutely no burden to this gentile creature. “Franz Liszt is my role model. I love his music, but I also get inspired by his travels. And I try to follow in his footsteps”, she smiles.

One of the places that impressed the young pianist very much is Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Quito is the highest capital in the world. There she visited the church of Jesus Christ and had a spiritual experience. “I am a religious person and visited this church which is very beautiful. A lot of golden carvings and a golden ceiling. Being so high up in this beautiful church I thought this is the nearest I could get to God. After the visit I shared my thoughts with some local people and they said: ‘you are one of us.’ I got so inspired by this!

When the charming Georgian pianist is not travelling, nor performing, you might catch her playing billiards. She does not like the pubs, but loves however the game. Also she likes her books. Her range of interests is wide. She digests the works of Kafka, but also has fun reading P.G. Wodehouse. Is it a hobby? “No”, she answers very seriously. “When I read I study, I am learning. I even underline sentences of interest to me. I do not like those digital e-readers. I like the smell and the touch of real paper.”

This is one of the reasons why Mariam calls herself old-fashioned, and even suggests being born in the wrong age. She loves the classical arts and prefers Renaissance and Baroque. “I do not understand the modern art”, she exclaims. “I do not feel anything.” This young artist wants to be touched by art. Not only does she want to feel a connection herself, she also wants to share her emotion with her audience. When people listen to her music and think to themselves: “How does she know this music makes me feel like this?”, Mariam could not be more happy. She sums it up perfectly by saying: “This is actually why I love my job!

Do you want to be touched by Mariam too? Come and hear her play at the opening concert of the International Holland Piano Series at the Waterstaatskerk in Hengelo on Saturday 8 September, 20:15.

Interview by Wilma Lagendijk