Saturday, 23 April 2011

St.George Day - Easter

Easter is an inspiring time… Quite a few months I haven’t written anything here in the blog – due to many reasons. First of all it’s been incredibly intensive season with a lot of traveling and new pieces of music to study. And it’s been a worried mood in RLPO about coming cuts and future plans, so, decided to not overheat the situation even more.
Well, now we know much more about the budget in coming years and we know how demanding it will be. Of course, keeping our ambitions on the same level (and you know that ambitions are to be a Number One Orchestra) with constant decrease of financial support is extremely difficult and challenging. We do appreciate all hard work and effort by the local and state government and we know how tough it is, but in the same time a bit disappointed that so far all the cuts are similar in per cents for everybody. In my point of view it might be more encouraging for all cultural institutions to have different changes of funds according to their role in community, representation of Liverpool within the UK and worldwide. Otherwise there is not enough encouragement to progress and improve. At the difficult time priorities must be given for a further improvement of key organizations, those flagships will bring other fleet to the right place later on, when economy will recover.
Meanwhile, RLPO had a very successful season – quite a few recording awards, great reviews (on recent tour to Europe most of German and French newspapers acknowledged that Liverpool is not only about Beatles and football, but equally important Orchestra is there). And most important, we have a rise of ticket sales again! Instead of concerns about spending abilities in a current year, which I haven’t share due to huge believe in our audience and supporters. Now we are looking forward towards next season – presentation is soon!
My guest conducting was also very satisfying, a lot of great concerts around Europe, Asia and America; now looking forward to the summer and my first visit to New Zealand in August. I've heard it’s an amazing country! As you probably know, Oslo Philharmonic has appointed me as a Chief Conductor from 2013-2014, so, I’ll have two main bases by then (1 hour flight!) and less time for guest weeks. Hope that life will be more settled when it’ll start… By the way, at the moment traveling by train from Newcastle to London, where is a concert with National Youth Orchestra (amazing!) tomorrow. Such a beautiful day outside of the window!

P.S. I know that most of you probably would like to know, will I stay in Liverpool beyond 2015 or not – as I’ve said many times, it’ll depends on many factors, two of them are the key: keep our ambitions shared not only within Philharmonic but in all public areas and city councils; investing money into further improvement of facilities to attract more listeners and tourist all around the world to enjoy Liverpool. For me way “to preserve” is a way down, the only option is “to improve and expand”.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


Well, a couple of months ago I’ve been enjoying Glyndebourne and East Sussex in a beautiful summer days. Now is October, but still some good weather, at least in Paris last weekend; +24, sunny, city in full glory with falling leafs, haut-couture autumn dresses... and millions of tourists together with thousands of homeless on the street.
Summer was busy as usual, but very exciting too – Macbeth, White Nights, Prom, Spain, France and, of course, tropical Saint-Petersburg. Those 10 days at home in August with temperature over 30 degrees were just something! At one moment I’ve seen amazing rain: under +36 dark cloud suddenly appeared but produced just a light drizzle which immediately vaporised from the surface; it’s been so strange to see water going both directions, down and up at the same time!
Amongst all engagements in July-August I’d call two as a very special. Prom in London was a big showcase for the orchestra and I’m very glad that it has a great reviews and response, but more important is a level of consistency which has been extremely high in RLPO performance; this is as you know not only that “you can beat any opponent”, but that you’re sure that you’ll do it week by week, day by day without any doubts. And it continued in our Spanish trip, especially in Parsifal, with a fantastic set of singers in a very spiritual city Santiago de Compostela. Wagner is always difficult for orchestra not only because it’s length, but also because intensity; Liverpool doesn’t have at the moment huge Wagnerian tradition and to perform this piece with a very limited rehearsals time was a tread. I’m very proud that on reception after Parsifal (about 2am  ) soloists who sang this piece many times in top-class theatres like Met , ROH or Bayreuth, said it’s been one of the best performances by the level of the orchestra.
Next morning I’ve been flying to Paris straight to rehearsal of Onegin. (Here software suggests me to change it to One gin!) Bastille is a very big place, but, surprisingly, with a good acoustic. And there is enough space in the pit for orchestra of any size! Yesterday was a last performance and I had a lot of pleasure from this project; even if production was discussable, level of performance every night has been on the highest standard. If you plan to visit Paris or other French city, I can give you an advice – check in advance when there are next strike days, French people like to make them and it’s quite difficult to travel!
Tomorrow we all off to China, looking forward very much (for me it’s a first visit), particularly to perform Shostakovich 15 which I think will have a very special reception there. Even if there are a very few things to improve after our great performance in Liverpool, another culture and mentality should give a special angle on perception of this great piece. And, of course, we’re so proud to be Liverpool ambassadors there!

Monday, 14 June 2010

East Sussex

Yesterday was a first performance of Macbeth in Glyndebourne, after a long and difficult rehearsing period! And a very good one, despite that some people found staging a bit disturbing...
Lewes and Glyndebourne are beautiful places, as well as Seaford, Newhaven and Hastings, white rocks, seaside with long beaches, a touch of history with fortresses and castles, active cultural live and plenty of traditions in everything. Brighton is also nearby, but in a good day it’s a feeling that half of the World suddenly came there! Glyndebourne itself surrounded by hills and fields, plenty of animals, birds and fantastic gardens on which a very large crew of gardeners works every day. It’s quite unusual to finish a rehearsal or performance, open the door and hear immediately sheep’s choir and solos!
Between rehearsals a while ago I had a very busy week with Brit Awards (very glamorous!), BBC Young Musician (fantastic teens! My best regards and congrats again to Lara, Callum and Emma, no doubts we will perform together many times in a future!), and Mahler 3 back in Liverpool (in a hot night, but another great step in Mahler Cycle in my point of view!!!). Now looking forward for Shostakovich 3 and 6 recordings, by the way, 3rd Symphony is very exciting but very difficult to play; it’ll be wise for members of RLPO to spend quite a lot of time for preparations. And of course, Shostakovich 5, Manfred, Simon with 2nd Rachmaninov concerto, Prom and 11 more Macbeths! Plus we need to rehears Parsifal for Spanish Tour... so, Summer is really intensive and busy.
There will be a few exciting days in St.Petersburg – hope for a good fishing there, but might be lack of time due to parents and friends, eagerly waiting for this week. Meanwhile, here in seaside, a mackerel is in full glory and good numbers, and quite a few of them migrated from the sea straight to my fridge!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


Birds are singing and flowers blossom, trees becomes green and in some parts of the World is already very warm... So, long, cold and snowy winter is over and time of summer concerts is coming.
February and March been very busy and intensive, RLPO had a great success at home and away, CD’s and concerts got great reviews everywhere, all smiles like Hollywood movies! Plus another exciting period of concerts ahead: Till, Petrushka, Shostakovich 6th and Bruckner 7th within 10 days. Swiss tour went very well, and, instead of difficult schedule, quality of the concerts was extremely high (the best orchestra in Migros-serie by the words of organizers!). Beautiful historic halls, cities (particularly sunny Bern) and nature together with big emotional reaction on British music left very positive feelings from this week. Even if at some nights there has been very little time to sleep...
San Francisco is a rare US city with a lot of character in architecture and citizens, I’ve stayed in a hotel opposite Notre Dame de Paris de San Francisco or at least it looks like it. The same square had a copy of Romaine Fountains and a couple of blocks away some parts of Berlin... But altogether it looks very organic and somehow blends into special SanFranStyle. Had a lot of fun playing Grieg concerto together with Simon Trpceski and a lot of drama with Shostakovich 8 (by the way this symphony is next on release from Naxos). Met a lot of Russian members of audience – not surprisingly, because Fort Ross isn’t far away ))) And there are Russian Hill in San Francisco.
Atlanta gave me a warm Georgian welcome with 80-84 degrees during first 3 days; does anybody know how much it in Celsius? Work intensively in such a climate and blossom peach trees isn’t easy (unless you’re working outside!), but Atlanta Symphony had a lot of will to improve and Manfred was great as well as piano concerto. Was a great pleasure to meet Barry Douglas, who’s been many times in Liverpool in a last couple of years, and perform with him first time in Atlanta! By the way, it’s another city planning a new concert hall.
Now back to the Old World, in quiet and villa-geoise Hilversum, rehears for a concert in Concertgebouw this Saturday. Somehow in Netherlands I’m always so nostalgic, perhaps because it’s been a model for Peter the Great when he founded St.Petersburg and hired best Italian artists to build a city on Neva ))) Looking forward to this Saturday, then next week (next season is sealed and it’ll be even better than current one!), then Macbeth, Mahler 3, Shostakovich 5 plus many others...and to the end of July, when I’ll see my original home city again!

Sunday, 31 January 2010


Overlooking the most famous estate advertisement in history, sunshine, +20 Celsius, bird’s singing, palms and orange trees... January? Paradise? Well, it might be a lot of different views on Los Angeles, but one is for sure – Walt Disney Concert Hall is one of the most spectacular buildings in the world. It’s great at day and at night and it has great interior, acoustic and facilities. And most important – it boosts a confidence and level of LA Phil and it’s sold out in a same night with Grammy ceremony, NFL, NHL and NBA games in the same city! So, it’s probably very vicious and dangerous city, but when I’m crossing the door of WDCH it’s a Dreamland (or Disneyland?). What about west coast of UK, apart from Millennium Centre?
I hope you’ve enjoyed last month concerts with NYO – Blackpool is a VERY quiet place in winter :), and a lot of respect to staffs and teens, who’s been working very hard in such a circumstances and played terrific concerts! Even more respects to Liverpoodlians visited my St.Petersburg’s concert in a middle of January, they’ve seen a real snow, not just miserable couple of inches with breakdown of the whole country )))
And, finally, to Mahler fans – Titan was very good, now so much looking forward to Resurrection and especially 3rd Symphony in May! In my point of view this edition is one of the most amazing projects of decade and unlikely you’ll have a chance to attend all symphonies in two seasons till middle of this century; so, grab a ticket or subscription!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

With a hint of snow!

Hello everyone from a cold snowy St.Petersburg (less than inch of snow and melting due to +4 today!) At least, no rains everyday )))
Enjoying peace and tranquillity for a couple of days in my home town, and more precisely in a country-house, is a rare time in my life. Re-reading Chekhov, Dostoevsky and, of course, music scores, walking on the silent streets of this village... next time I’ll be able to do it by the end of July.
It’s been quite intensive and exciting couple of months from beginning of season, we’ve got a few awards with RLPO, and you’ve attended a few decent concerts! Last weeks in London (and Cheltenham, Basingstoke, Cambridge), Liverpool (and Blackburn) and Oslo (and...Oslo one more time) were very interesting for me and quite tough because of flu around, which cost a lot of replacements in orchestras, sometime in a very last moment!
Briefly, Philharmonia went very well and I have a huge respect for musicians, who work all around the year and all around the World (we rehearsed with them in East Croydon, week after mine they’ve travelled in Europe with Mahler 9 every night in a different town!) in such a difficult schedule and still give a huge energy in a concerts. We will play together again quite soon. Brahms/Tchaikovsky concert was really exciting because of Arcadi’s great playing and because of clear sign of progress, which RLPO made since 2006, when we’ve performed 4th Symphony first time. Oslo Philharmonic did amazing concerts with Prokofiev 5 and Elgar Violin Concerto and it’s been very easy to understand each other (perhaps because of Mariss) and I felt very comfortable instead of extreme prices in the shops and restaurants. Actually it’s a great way of savings – look, don’t buy and think how much you saved! ;)
Answering question about upcoming concerts: 22nd December Salamanca, 23rd December Valladolid with Julia Lezhneva; 6th January Stoke-on-Trent, 7th January Liverpool with NYO; 10th January St.Petersburg Mahler 3, 16th January Liverpool Mahler 1. And so on till late summer!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Russian fest

Glad to read, that last few concerts has been appreciated a lot, as well as few awards, received by the Phil. As always excited by the amount of attendees which keeps growing!
Thanks a lot as well for your response on the question of new hall – at least now discussion is open and taken quite seriously. Main question apart from a budget will be location, and this is really tough! I think new building should be somewhere in central Liverpool, I know that it’s a lot of pressure to stay on Hope Street, but in my point of view best option then might be “a new spectacular 21-century building” next to the Phil!
In a last few weeks being as usual extremely busy (it’s been a big pleasure to see some of Liverpoodlians in Moscow!) I’ve seen a lot of examples how the new buildings improved classical music life in other cities – many years ago in Boston, in a middle of 20th Century in Moscow and more recently in Granada (where current hall under renovation now) and Monte-Carlo. After all I still believe that whatever will happen in my and RLPO life’s, new building will benefit Liverpool forever!
Regarding Orchestra layout last week – idea is to bring more of contrabasses into general balance and have them more involved in performance. I think it’s been quite exciting experiment and we will repeat it in a future. But it’ll be possible in case of small percussion section (as last week), otherwise there is no space, and this is again about needs of new hall...

P.S. I would recommend to everyone attend Saturday’s concert, all music there is absolutely fantastic and not too often performed, so, grab your chance!

P.P.S. If you kept reading till this point, you probably guessing about the title on the top – this is a little test for you, do you know which fest is in Russia today?