About the Artist: Renara Akhoundova
Renara Akhoundova was born in Baku. She grew up in a family of intellectuals in a culturally mixed environment - Russian culture together with her native Azerbaijani. Renara debuted on the piano at the age of three years and showed exceptional musical talents from the start.
“Mother was taking private piano lessons which I always attended in a corner of the room. One day I approached the piano and sat down to play melodies I had heard as a child. Of course my parents rushed in amazement at the piano teacher! We replied that I was certainly talented, but the teachers in the crowd felt I was too young to start the systematic study of music. For this reason I began studying music only at the age of five years.”
Later Renara began serious musical training at the Central School of Music Conservatory where she studied for 11 years. She then discovered a talent and a special taste for improvisation. However, at the end of her studies at the conservatory she informed her parents of her decision not to continue music.
“I wanted to be free and independent and I absolutely did not see myself teaching music in a school of any kind. Thus I entered the University of Economics and Political Science in Moscow. I soon came to be known as the best economist among pianists - yet the best pianist among economists.”
At the end of her university studies the pianist by vocation and economist by the training flew to Paris. At the time she couldn’t have imagined that Paris would become her second home. In 2002 she went through an extremely difficult period and began to consider abandoning music again once and for all. She managed to escape this predicament by summoning intense forces from deep within herself.
“This was a rather painful process, during which I needed to display courage and integrity. I tried several methods of overcoming my fears but the one which proved to me most effective was the approach of Marshall Rosenberg: Nonviolent Communication. This experience also allowed me to meet some extraordinary people.”
And so in July 2004 during a seminar organized by Marshall Rosenberg in Strasbourg, she met Anne van Stappen and Michel van Bellingher. After an invitation to Belgium they offered her to compose music for a documentary film. Their support was instrumental in the revival of Renara’s musical career. Thus the first album will be released under the title “Marshall”.
“I also really wanted to take counsel from my acquaintance Stelios Damianos, the composer of all the most famous recorded works of Demis Roussos. He told me that the music had brought him to tears and that I absolutely must continue to compose and play my own compositions.”
Renara was lucky again in June 2005 when she came in contact with Paul de Sennevile, author of many famous compositions played by, among others, Polnareff and Christophe, and also the author of almost all the romantic music of pianist Richard Clayderman. He offered to sign her with his recording studio, Delphine Productions. The album “You and Me” was released in Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. That same year Renara recorded a second album, “Life”. The year 2006 was a very productive one for Renara as she released two new albums: “Gift” written in gratitude to a friend, and “Light”.That same year, the pianist met a Sufi master who opened new horizons, inspiring her to compose a new album, “The Meeting with the Master”.
In February 2007 Renara gave her first-ever performance in the Baltic capital Tallin, Estonia. The audience was impressed with and touched by her performance. The music that flowed forth was bright, soothing, and full of creativity, inspiring kindness, love, hope, openness, sensitivity, emotions, and finesse. It was during this period, in January 2009, that the new album “Gratitude” was recorded. The title honors her sense of gratitude for her life and experience.
In recent years Renara performed on numerous occasions in the United States, Russia, Latvia, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Great Britain, Austria, Germany, Finland, and Kuwait. Such concerts were organized by private individuals or public institutions and often have a philosophical character. Renara is also often invited to speak about the virtues of music at conferences such as the seminars, the Forum for Peace, or by the Swiss “Education for Peace” Foundation. In Russia, Renara’s albums are listed in the collection of “100 Masterpieces of Classical Music” (Summary Edition) and were published as part of the project “The Big Names for Posterity”.
Later, a new event once again altered her fate: a meeting with the renowned Russian priest Artemy Vladimirov. Together they organized a series of cultural events combining music in harmony with spiritual counsels and reflections. This unusual form of communication between a priest and a musician was found to have a strong impact on listeners, reaching their inner depths. This meeting also inspired the January 2010 album “Prayer” dedicated to Father Artemy. In 2011 Renara released her eighth album, “Forgiveness”, and in 2013 another entitled “Love”. In 2014 Renara re-recorded a number of her previous compositions and added two unrecorded tracks to produce her finest release ever, “Love and Gratitude”.
As of July 2016 Renara is represented and managed by Lucky Jack Productions / Renara Music, a new American label created to spread her music around the globe. All of her previous recordings are being re-mastered for optimal sound quality and will be re-released in August / September 2016. Renara continues to compose and improvise new works constantly, and is ready to record a new album in October 2016. Invitations are being accepted for live performances world-wide for late 2016 and all of 2017. As thousands of people around the world can attest, Renara’s live performances are an unbelievable experience - at once powerful and delicate, intense and soothing, uplifting and introspective.