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28 May 2020

«Every week here is a highlight for me»

von Lydia Rilling

Gustavo Gimeno in conversation with Lydia Rilling

Gustavo Gimeno prefers to look into the future, rather than gazing into the past. However, when the conversation turns to his tour of Latin America with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg in the autumn of 2019, his enthusiasm is palpable. This tour, one can feel it, is one he will never forget:  «In São Paulo we played Brahms’ First Symphony in a hall with a wonderfully warm resonance. It was one of those moments where everything simply comes together, and the energy flows in a way you could never stop. Experiences like that are incredibly inspiring.»

Gimeno has been Music Director of the OPL since 2015; this spring he extended his contract to 2025: «This long-term perspective is very important.  Like in a relationship, it gives everyone security to know that both sides are committed to each other without question marks. Such a lasting commitment is especially important today, at a time when orchestras tend to change conductors quickly. At the same time, we know that 2025 is the end point, and that provides us a timeframe for everything we want to achieve together.»

In the 2020/21 season, Gimeno will conduct a programme ranging from Bruckner and Mahler to Stravinsky, Shostakovich and Dutilleux. One  focus is Beethoven, whose Piano  Concertos  are combined with works  of the Second Viennese School:  «With Beethoven and compositions by  Berg, Schönberg and Webern, we are  pursuing  two lines which illuminate each  other because they are so different in emotional  terms. I find such contrasts, which are still closely connected historically – the same city and same tradition, but 100 years apart –, particularly interesting and attractive in concert programmes.»

Among the outstanding soloists  with whom Gimeno will share the  stage during the 2020/21 season,  he especially mentions Leonidas  Kavakos  and Krystian Zimerman:  «As soon as Zimerman strikes even one  chord, you can hear that this way to play  is simply right. Of course you also feel the history in his playing: he was already famous forty years ago and performed with Bernstein. I have a particularly high regard for musicians like him and Kavakos because they are so honest and true to themselves. They are strong personalities who make the score resound with absolute transparency, in a highly natural and organic way.»

The renewal of his contract demonstrates  how much Gustavo Gimeno  plans to achieve with the OPL, and  during that time, nothing could be  more foreign to him than routine in  Luxembourg: «Every week here is a  highlight for me – thanks to the orchestra,  the programmes, the soloists and the  contexts.» 

 

Cover photo: Marco Borggreve

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