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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

Q&A | 40 Questions for Andrew Burashko

By Michael Vincent on March 24, 2015

pianist, Andrew Burashko
pianist, Andrew Burashko

Every so often, MT poses 60 questions to a local or visiting artist in Toronto who has made our classical music community that much more interesting. They pick and choose. The minimum response is 20 answers. A kind of Rorschach personality test, if you will.

After making his debut at the age of seventeen with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Burashko has become a fixture of the Canadian music scene. As a soloist he has performed extensively throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe, and as a chamber musician, he regularly collaborates with Canada’s top artists and performs in festivals throughout Canada and Europe. He has performed with most of Canada’s major orchestras, and collaborated with conductors such as Marin Alsop, Andrew Davis, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, and Pinchas Zukerman. Since 1998, Burashko has been flexing his musical dexterity as the artistic director of the Art of Time Ensemble, a chamber music society committed to building a new and younger audience for classical music.

You can catch Andrew Burashko and the Art of Time Ensemble on May 22-23 for their 8 Songbook concert focusing on the music of Brent Carver. Details here.


What are three things about Toronto that make you want to live here?

The multiculturalism, the food, and how green it is in the summer.

The first three things that you do every morning?

Drink coffee, read the news, and do a puzzle or two.

The first album that made you love music?

Help by the Beatles.

Default drink/cocktail of choice?

Red wine and red wine.

Name your favourite concert hall/venue in Toronto.

Massey Hall or Koerner Hall.

Name your favourite concert hall/venue anywhere.

I’ve been to some amazing concert halls around the world, but I would have to say Massey Hall for sentimental reasons. I saw/heard so many unforgettable concerts there – from The Police to Vladimir Horowitz.

Your role models?

The friends in my life.

Your favourite sound?


Your least favourite sound?

Car alarms.

First thing that comes to your mind when you think about Toronto.

The canopy.

The historical personalities, both good and bad, that fascinate you the most?

Baudelaire, Beethoven, Nietzsche, Shakespeare, Van Gogh and Brodsky – I could go on and on. Most, if not all, would probably be in the humanities.

Your first three record store purchases?

Captain Fantastic by Elton John, Band on the Run, by Paul McCartney and Desolation Boulevard by The Sweet – all when I was nine or so.

If you could board a plane this afternoon, where would it be taking you?

Back to Buenos Aires.

The three books that you read that made an impact on you in your formative years?

Tropic of Cancer, Brothers Karamazov, and Paris Spleen (among many others).

What is your biggest phobia?


The cliché that you overuse?

“Sarcasm is the lowest form of humour.”

Shoe of choice?

A Beatle type boot.

The different career path that you could have gone on?

I fantasized about directing film & theatre, but I never really explored any other paths.

Your favourite curse word?

Definitely F**k.

Television show that you could tolerate re-runs of?

Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The Sopranos.

Under what circumstances would you join the army?

Under no circumstances.

Your major character flaw?


The character flaw in others that you can’t abide?

Empty talk.

Your three favourite films?

The are so many that I honestly don’t know where to begin. I would have to say that Waiting for Guffman would be in the top three.

How do you know when you can trust someone?

When they have proved consistent – for better or worse.

Three things of no monetary value that you own and will keep dearly until you die?

Books, books, and books.

What are you the most proud of?

The respect of those around me.

What are you the least proud of?

My shortcomings.

What is the best thing about your work?

The fact that I have an opportunity to get better at it for the rest of my life.

What is the worst thing about your work?

How much it consumes me sometimes.

The relatively normal piece of clothing that you believe you’d look the most ridiculous in?

A hat.

The talent that you wish you possessed?

I wish I were a better improviser.

What musical instrument do you secretly long to play?

The tenor saxophone.

What sport did you give up and why?

Tennis – because it wasn’t good for my hands.

If you had a motto, what would it be?

Take everything seriously and take nothing seriously.

Scariest situation you’ve ever been in?

Probably one I concocted in my imagination.

Your favourite word?

I love superlatives.

Your least favourite word?

I hate superlatives.

The thing that makes you the happiest?

Loving and being loved.

The best way to die?

During a delicious dream.

Michael Vincent
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