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26 April 2019

Mutual Curiosity

von Christoph Gaiser

Isabelle Faust in conversation with Christoph Gaiser

Since 2012 you have appeared six times at the Philharmonie Luxembourg and have toured with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg as well. Is there one among those concerts in Luxembourg which you remember in particular?

I have always felt very at home here, both in the main and the smaller hall. The acoustics are excellent in both cases, the audience is very attentive, and behind the stage one is very well taken care of and comfortable. The fact that the artist spends quite a bit of time in the hall and the dressing rooms is often overlooked, and that backstage conditions make a huge difference for the subsequent concert. The Philharmonie Luxembourg is exemplary in this regard! Of all the beautiful concerts there, I enjoy remembering the Schubert Octet, for example.

Schubert: Oktett F-Dur | 08.06.2012 | Photo: Sébastien Grébille Schubert: Oktett F-Dur | 08.06.2012 | Photo: Sébastien Grébille

It was the first time we were all playing on historic instruments; some of my string-playing colleagues had never played on gut strings before. It was a very intriguing and happy event, which opened new sound perspectives to us.

A residency always aims for a more intense connection with the local musicians, but also with the audience. The connection arises from a give and take; what would you wish for from the Luxembourg audience in this regard?

I think it can be a chance for the audience to understand a musician and his intentions better and with greater differentiation if given the opportunity to encounter that artist in very different programmes and formations. During my residency, I will perform some rarely-heard works, but only my «coups de cœur». For example, some members of the audience will surely hear the Westhoff Sonatas for the first time. Ideally, curiosity about the musician should be transformed into curiosity about the music I have chosen. 

I always try to introduce music lovers to a musical treasure trove that is as large and varied as I can make it, to sustain an open-mindedness for unknown works (or unknown details in familiar works). My extraordinary musician friends help me accomplish this. It is a great honour for me that they have all agreed to join me.

During your residency, you will perform with the orchestra and also play several chamber music works in a smaller formation. Which of the works scheduled for Luxembourg is the most challenging for you? And which are you looking forward to most?

Oh, all of these programmes are so beautiful! It is truly impossible to single out one of these fantastic works! They are indeed all favourite pieces of mine… perhaps I am particularly looking forward to the evening of Bach and Westhoff, since we have not had so many opportunities to perform it so far.