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04 June 2021

«No one can stop the music»

by Lydia Rilling

Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg

Gustavo Gimeno

Gustavo Gimeno in conversation with Lydia Rilling


One of Gustavo Gimeno’s many virtues is that he always sees the positive aspect of a situation. In that spirit, he also begins our conversation during a rehearsal week amidst the pandemic: «I am so happy to be allowed to perform. Each rehearsal and every concert gives me immeasurable joy. At first we thought it would be impossible to play under all these restrictions. But together, we managed much better than we would ever have expected. That is a joyful experience: despite facemasks, physical distancing and other obstacles, we play, and no one can stop the music. Those are touching aspects in this dramatic context.»

Then Gimeno starts to look ahead to the coming season. Each concert with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg has special meaning to him, both with a view to programming and artistic partners. He will open the season with the ballet The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky. «We will record the full ballet – not merely the suite –, thereby launching an exciting new chapter, our collaboration with the renowned label harmonia mundi. During the past months, we have made lots of plans, and they begin with Stravinsky.» In January 2022 the pianist Beatrice Rana will perform with him and the OPL for the first time: «I admire her greatly and have shared the stage with her several times elsewhere, but never here. That was a long-standing wish of mine, and we will also undertake our Spanish tour, which has now become a tradition, with her.»

Gimeno intends to continue several of the thematic threads of past seasons during the coming one: «There is a great affinity and history of the orchestra with French music, but certain composers are missing. That’s why it is so important for us to play Messiaen. And after several opera productions of Rossini and Verdi works, we now perform Puccini’s Messa

Gimeno has been chief conductor of the orchestra since 2015. To him, the six years they have spent together have borne significant fruit: «We have reached a higher level together and are a better team than ever before. Even if every project also feels like a fresh start, we achieve much more within a shorter period of time, and the concerts we play reach a level that keeps getting even better.» Gimeno will lead the orchestra until 2025, and he has so many plans that they will undoubtedly be four fulfilling years.


Cover photo: Marco Borggreve