Mak Grgic: Rachmaninov Realizations

This season, we are celebrating the many ways which music can expand a person’s world view, and the ways that music can transcend age, language, and more to bring people a little closer together.

Today we learn about Mak Grgic’s journey as a young musician and why he chose to pursue music.

It was mostly by chance that our Elemental Guitar Director Mak Grgic started playing his instrument. Mak first picked up the guitar after passing by a local music school holding open auditions. As a kid with lots of interests, he never expected that music would lead him to travel the world.

At age 14, Mak moved from Slovenia to Croatia to study music at an arts high school. In his second year, he had a life-changing moment while listening to a recording of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 through headphones on a crowded tram.

"This feeling of pleasantness came over me. It was just this realization of something that is intangibly universal and magical. I wanted to replicate that feeling each time I played music.”

Mak was eventually driven to obsession over the technical points of practice in his desire to understand and articulate the feeling that Rachmaninov had given him that one magical day.

“When I was practicing, I was trying to find different ways where I could initiate that feeling over and over again. That propelled me further and further until I actually decided to pursue music seriously."

Mak’s virtuosic journey led him to the forefront of music’s universal language exchange. Today, he tours the world and performs with an eclectic confluence of artists – k.d. Lang and LA Phil concertmaster Martin Chalifour, to name a couple. Wearing the title of virtuoso guitarist, he is able to define what it is musically that moves him and others - the shared experience of that magical feeling.

“And that’s exactly what it is, you know, the universality of it. Each type of music I’ve played throughout my life, always that feeling sort of creeps back. I think that’s what makes music accessible to all.”

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