Award-winning keyboardist, Gili Loftus’ three-fold expertise on the fortepiano, modern piano, and harpsichord lends her playing a character that is unique to her, and which has opened up new and exciting paths for artistic and historical exploration which Gili has been invited to share through her performances and lectures on both sides of the Atlantic. In growing demand as a solo and collaborative artist, Gili is invited to play with period-instrument ensembles both internationally and in her adopted city of Montreal, and is especially happy when she is called home to play concerts in her native Israel. Gili’s studies and artistic endeavours over the years have been generously supported by the Canada-Israel Cultural Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, as well as Fonds AIDA, le conseil des arts et des letters du Québec and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and her recordings can be heard under the Leaf Music (Canada) and Backlash Music (Berlin) labels.
YES: When did you start your artistic journey and what were some of your goals when you started?
Gili: My artistic journey started around the age of five, but thoughts of a more entrepreneurial nature were definitely not at the forefront of my mind at that time (playing Nintendo games at my friend’s house was definitely a higher priority). Looking back, I think I may have always had an underlying entrepreneurial kind of inclination or approach to my music-making (especially so as I entered a more professional performance stream in my teens), but the incorporation of a more fully-fledged and conscious type of entrepreneurial thinking started after I had completed my postgraduate studies. The first couple of years after graduation were confusing ones; leaving one kind of structure behind and searching for a new one. To be honest, I’m not sure I knew what my goals really were in those first few years out of the “academic nest”. I knew that I had very clear goals in the past (or were some of those more the goals that I was encouraged by others to have?) and it took me a while to sift through and understand better what really were ideas and goals of my own, that I found interesting to pursue and explore and that challenged me artistically in ways that I found fulfilling. I am happy to report that although I am forever still searching, I now do so from a place of curiosity more than confusion.
What stage are you at now? What have been your greatest achievements?
I’d say that more than any artistic achievements or projects that I’ve worked on in the years since, my greatest achievement to date is probably exactly that: learning to trust in the fact that even if they sometimes elude me, I know that those strong anchors and motivators are there, and I just need to take a moment to reconnect with them. They are what ground me, inspire me, and propel me forwards to keep working, keep thinking, keep doing, keep making, and keep creating!
What were/are your biggest struggles?
The professional arts world is a funny place. Getting to know it and how to navigate within it has been a significant and challenging learning curve, and it continues to be one. On the other hand, it is also part of what keeps it interesting. Otherwise, another type of thing that poses a struggle (and it is by far the bigger of the two) is — myself! I know this is something I share with artists around the globe and across time. My friendly (oftentimes it is far from) inner critic has been a constant companion of mine since before I can remember. This inner critic has a very loud voice and doesn’t miss an occasion to blast it out at the top of its little critic’s lungs. To date, I’ve found but one remedy that seems to keep this voice at bay: keep working, keep thinking, keep doing, keep making, and keep creating!
What was the problem you were experiencing before you came to YES?
I usually really enjoy the brainstorming and thinking-up-of-ideas phases, but the preparation and planning phases (without which no idea, beautiful and incredible as it may be, will come to pass) is where I can sometimes get a little bit lost. Before coming to YES, I was toying around with a pretty interesting idea that was on a much larger scale than anything I’d ever done before, and at some point (thanks to some very helpful feedback from a friend) it became clear to me that if I wanted to have a chance of really executing this project properly, there was a lot of learning I needed to do, and that I would need a lot of help.
What did you find as a result of using our services? What was the best thing about it?
From getting a better handle on tax-related issues for freelance artists, to arts and arts management book recommendations, to strategy planning and writing one-pager drafts to connecting with artists in other creative fields and receiving feedback for grant proposals, I’ve learned a great deal from the various seminars, lectures, and webinars that I’ve attended at (or through) YES in the past couple of years.
In particular though, having regular one-on-one coaching sessions with YES’ Artist Business Coaches Gonzalo Coloma, Caroline Gauthier, and David Cerenzia has been an absolute game-changer for me. Having such experienced and thoughtful pairs of ears over the years with which I could discuss projects at various stages of development and then to have the opportunity to be given feedback, and suggestions, to be offered different points of view, encouraged to think about a particular challenge in new and creative ways has been a godsend! I have learned a very great deal from them all, and I look forward to continuing to do so.
How do you feel about the service you have received from YES?
My response to anyone who’s asked me over the years whether or not I’d recommend looking into what YES has to offer has been a very emphatic YES! Having access to such an incredible source of professionally and thoughtfully curated year-long programming, as well as the possibility to receive personalized and individualized coaching is a resource to be treasured. I am but one of many who have benefitted from the many and varied services at YES, and could not recommend them more.
Learn more about Gili here.