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07 October 2019

Justarrived@OPL – Andrii Chugai

von Saskia Müller-Bastian

Do you remember how you first heard about the OPL?

When I moved from Ukraine to the Netherlands to study there, I visited Luxembourg as a tourist, about five years ago. I was truly in love with the city, especially with the city centre. Somehow, we were passing the Philharmonie by car and I was just thinking «Such a beautiful building! I wonder what it is.» I found out it was the Philharmonie and I was impressed. Then I saw that there was an audition for violins at the OPL and I just thought «Wow…». I went to the website and checked out the programme, I was very impressed by the season.

By the conductors and the soloists of the OPL?

Yes, and not only by this, but also by the Philharmonie season in general, all the stars that came: Argerich, Zukerman, Anne-Sophie Mutter and many more. It instantly became my goal to be a part of this orchestra, I played a few auditions and in the end, it worked!

You weren’t discouraged when it didn’t work out right away?

No, for me it was love at first sight. After my first successful audition, I was invited to the OPL as a substitute. The more I played here, the more I fell in love. So, when I got my position, it already felt quite natural to be here.

Do you think this helped during the trial period?

Yes, it helped a lot! But it was different of course, because before I was a guest player, and during the trial period you’re already almost a member. Anyway, as a substitute, I was always trying to do my best, so basically there was no difference.

Was there a moment during your trial period that was special, maybe especially emotional?

We had a tour through Spain in November, and after the tour, the orchestra felt like a family. A tour is really connecting people, because during a normal day on tour, you spend up to 16 hours a day with your colleagues: you see them as early as at breakfast, then you travel together, go to the concert hall together and so on. After the tour, I felt less pressure because I already felt like I was a part of a family.

The South America tour is upcoming – does it feel different now, being a member?

Well, I still don’t know, we’ve just started the season and it’s only the first week as a member. Of course I look forward to our tour, new countries and concerts in amazing halls to come!

Do you have a piece of advice for other young musicians being in their trial period?

I think there are some golden rules during the trial period, which you have to keep following even afterwards: be on time, prepared, concentrated, nice and open-minded. I believe this works in every team. And of course, you have to integrate to the orchestra style and vibe, realizing that some people have been working here for over 30 years.

At which age did you start to play the violin?

At the age of 5.

Why did you choose the violin?

My parents are piano players as well as my older brother. I can’t tell why I chose the violin. I once picked one up, played with it and somehow there was this deep conviction in my mind that I wanted to play the violin. I don’t know why I thought this, but I remember being very impressed in this particular moment.

Are there any teacher or artists that were especially important for your musical development?

I believe on every step of your studying, your current teacher is important. For me, the last step was my professor Boris Belkin in Maastricht conservatorium, his influence on my musical development was significant. However I can’t say that my previous teachers had less impact on my musical education. Somehow all of them come from the Moscow conservatorium. 

Are there other artists, which maybe you have never met in person, but who influenced you nevertheless?

Actually, that’s why I like the Philharmonie season a lot, as I can meet outstanding artists, such as Daniel Barenboim, András Schiff and Anne-Sophie Mutter for example, and have small conversations, just for a few minutes, this gives me so much inspiration!

Besides the Philharmonie, do you like Luxembourg?

Yes, I like the pace and vibes of this city, it suits me.