sat 23/03/2019

Classical Interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Composer Pierre Boulez

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

David Nice writes: it hardly seemed possible, but a pivotal figure in the 20th century music scene has died, two months short of his 91st birthday. As composer, Boulez now seems not so much a game-changer as a constant innovator in one of many strands among the possibilities of contemporary music. He even admitted in an Edinburgh Festival interview that he and his colleagues may have underestimated the role played by the audience in absorbing his avant-gardism.


Jaap van Zweden: ‘A great orchestra needs to be a chameleon’

Gavin Dixon

Jaap van Zweden is going places. At 55, he is already 16 years into a second high-profile musical career. His first, as a violinist, saw him appointed leader of the Concertgebouw, the youngest ever to hold the position. From there, he moved to the conductor’s podium, and is now Music Director of the Dallas Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. According to some rumours, he is also under serious consideration for the New York Philharmonic.


We Made It: Concert hall acoustics

David Kettle

Glasgow has a brand new concert hall, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra has a brand new home. A move for the Orchestra from Henry Wood Hall, a converted church in the city’s West End it has occupied since 1979, has been on the cards for several years, but few could have predicted the scale and intricacy of the final project.


10 Questions for Composer Ludovico Einaudi

Adam Sweeting

Last month, Ludovico Einaudi's album Elements debuted at No 12 on the UK album charts, which made it the highest-charting modern classical album since Henryk Górecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs reached No 6 in 1992. It was proof of the quietly burgeoning allure of Einaudi, which has been stealthily expanding around the world since his first solo release, 1988's Time Out.


theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Elizabeth Watts

David Nice

Not many people write conspicuously brilliant tweets, but Elizabeth Watts is someone who does. Working on the most demanding aria on her stunning new CD of operatic numbers and cantatas by the lesser-known of the two Scarlattis, father Alessandro rather than son Domenico, she tweeted: “Good news – I can sing 88 notes without a breath. Bad news – Scarlatti wrote 89.”


10 Questions for Nicola Benedetti and Wynton Marsalis

Jasper Rees

He’s an American jazz giant; she’s a Scottish doyenne of the classical violin. Anyone familiar with one more than the other – and that’s more or less everyone – would do a double take to see their names on the same bill. But this week at Barbican Hall, a new concerto by Wynton Marsalis will be premiered by Nicola Benedetti and the London Symphony Orchestra.


theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Edward Gardner

Jasper Rees

It’s odd seeing the whole of Edward Gardner, as upright as a guardsman until a passionate passage unleashes a repertoire of fierce jabs, deft feints and rapid thrusts. For nine years Gardner's main post was on the podium in the pit of the London Coliseum where all you could see were his disembodied hands and, slowly silvering over the course of his tenure, his schoolboy haircut.


theartsdesk Q&A: Pianist Stephen Kovacevich

David Nice

“Whatever happened to Stephen Bishop?” is not a question likely to be asked by followers of legendary pianism. Born in San Pedro, Los Angeles on 17 October 1940, the young talent took his stepfather’s name as his career was launched at the age of 11. Later he honoured his own father’s Croatian "Kovacevich", by appending it to the “Bishop”.


10 Questions for Conductor Peter Phillips

Sebastian Scotney

Peter Phillips founded the Tallis Scholars, a vocal group specializing in the sacred music of the Renaissance, in 1973 while still a student. He has been directing the ensemble ever since: it is about to perform its 2,000th concert.


Q&A Special: Pianist Lucas Debargue

ismene Brown

Last week the 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow was rung down with a sigh of relief for the home team, with once again a Russian pianist in possession of the gold medal, Dmitry Masleev following 2011’s Daniil Trifonov. It was all very satisfactory for President Putin as he delivered his speech at the winners’ gala, being Tchaikovsky’s 175th anniversary year, but it was not a result that many disputed.



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