Saturday 15 December 2018

'Never play for free and do not undersell yourself'... take a sneak peak at Pianist and jazz musician Francesco Turrisi's bank account...

My Money

Francesco Turrisi
Francesco Turrisi

Pianist and jazz musician Francesco Turrisi grew up in the Italian city of Turin and now lives in Dublin.

He has released four critically-acclaimed albums and has just launched his first piano solo album, Northern Migrations. He will perform music from this album at Triskel Christchurch, Cork, on May 26. For more information, visit

What's the most important lesson about money which your career in music has taught you?

Never play for free. It's unbelievable how many times artists, at whatever level, are asked to perform for free. There is always someone trying to convince you that it's for a good reason, or that it will be good for your exposure. Then when you accept, you arrive at the gig and soon realise that everybody else involved in the making of the event is getting paid.

What's the most expensive country you ever visited?

Probably Switzerland, or Norway. I sat down for a pizza and a beer in a Swiss hotel and paid €40. In Norway, you might get a pint for about €15.

What's the most expensive musical instrument you have ever bought?

My new Una Corda piano - a handmade piano made by David Klavins. It costs about €15,000 and I was able to buy it thanks to generous funding from the Music Network. I have bought many instruments. My daughter says I could open a music instrument shop.

What's the best advice you ever got about money - and who gave it to you?

Don't undersell yourself. Sometimes you get more respect if you stand your ground as an artist.

What was your worst job?

I usually try to enjoy every gig I play. However, the really bad gigs are the ones when you feel that there could be a CD playing instead of you, and nobody would notice the difference.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

Buying too many instruments, CDs and books

What was your best financial killing?

Buying too many instruments, CDs and books. They have made me who I am and created my unique identity as an artist, so they were a good financial investment after all.

Are you better off than your parents?

Definitely not. My father was an engineer and owned his own successful company, which he sold when he retired. I work as an artist...

If you won the Euromillions, what would you do with the money?

I would not worry about when my next gig is and buy more instruments. I would also spend money on producing my own CDs, invest money in my career and in organising my own concerts.

Which city have you found more expensive - Dublin or Turin?

Dublin. Eating and shopping are a good bit more expensive in Dublin, but the rent situation is insane and out of control. With the same amount of money you might rent a bed for in Dublin, you could rent a large family apartment in Turin. For many things, Dublin is one of the most expensive places in Europe.

iTunes or Spotify?

I am addicted to listening and finding new music. I am always on the hunt, so I use both. I use Spotify mostly when I am on the road. I have a huge collection of digital music on iTunes. I also have a collection of several thousands CDs.

What was the last thing you bought online?

Digital books for my kindle.

Do you ever haggle?

Yes - to get better fees for gigs. I hate haggling but it's kind of part of the job, unless you have a manager that does it for you.

What three things would you not be able to do without if you were tightening your belt?

Good food, music and books.

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