this saturday, sunday, and monday, p-town plays host to a 26-year-old (!) violinist named yossif ivanov. before he tackles a concerto not much older than himself, this fiddling megastar was super-nice enough to sit down with a certain rodent for a hard-hitting interview:
with the oregon symphony backing you up, you’re set to play a violin concerto composed by henri dutilleux in 1985 ~ how would you describe this music?
As Dutilleux’s music is quite far away from the standard repertoire such as Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven, I would suggest you listen to his music in terms of soundscapes and clouds. As the title of the concerto is Tree of Dreams, one should listen to it that way: a dream with its landscapes, different moods, and emotions.
tchaikovsky’s symphony #6 is also on the program… any thoughts on pairing your dreamy concerto with uncle pyotr’s pathétique?
I must admit on paper it reads like a contrast between night and day.
hmmm… a simple but intriguing theory. i like it. hey, how come the violin is so awesome?
It’s an instrument with endless possibilities and great repertoire, so it never gets boring – except maybe for the many hours practice! For example, a passage can be played hundreds of different ways, so it’s always a challenge to find the one which convinces me the best. Besides, I’m very fortunate to play on a Stradivarius violin from 1699, which makes it all even more special. And last but not least, it’s a mobile instrument which I can always carry with me ~ What a relief compared to pianists!
whoa: if i had a 1699 strad, i’d always carry it with me too! so what’s so great about live classical music?
The direct and almost physical transmission of emotions with the audience. And, an orchestra looks way cooler on stage than on CD!
amen brother ~ especially this band! alright let’s see… if i had 48 hours in antwerp, what should I do?
You should definitely have a walk in the beautiful old town, visit the wonderful cathedral, and walk down the main shopping street of Meir, paying a visit to Rubens’ house. After all that you can relax by having one of our great beers in one of the local bars!
something tells me it’s gonna be difficult finding an i.p.a. in belgium! oh well, i guess i’ll suffer. um, do you have any pre-concert rituals or exercises?
Nothing really exciting. Generally, I try to rest as much as I can before a performance, so I keep my days quite low profile, to save all my energy for the concert.
i see that aziz shokhakimov will be conducting the concerts you are playing. i’ve never heard of him ~ have you worked with this guy before?
This will my first time working with him and I’m really looking forward to it – I’ve heard great things! Beside that, he’s only 24 years old, so this will actually be the first time I will be playing with a conductor younger than me!
nice. i’ll buy you a drink old-timer. what’re you having?
Easy: A local beer!
ding, ding, ding: folks, we have a correct answer during fresh hop season! tell me yossif, does anything in the world of pop music excite you?
There’s great pop music, just as there is great classical music. I love ‘classic’ pop such as The Beatles, Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, and Michael Jackson, but more experimental pop such as Pink Floyd, good electronic music, and rap always grab my attention as well!
sweet mixed tape! okay, last query: what are your expectations for our fair city of roses?
I’ve recently read that Portland is one of the 25 top cities in the world to live in, and this will be my first visit, so I’m really looking forward to discovering the city!
plus, you’ve lucked out and timed your arrival with the return of our beloved rain. mr. ivanov, thank you so much for tackling all these questions ~ the beavs really appreciates it. cannot wait to see and hear you soon!