This Saturday through Monday, the Oregon Symphony is hosting guest conductor Hannu Lintu and guest fiddler Benjamin Schmid. The classical beaver is so stoked for these upcoming concerts, it decided to go for broke and interview both of these superstars. Let’s meet ’em, shall we?
Maestro Lintu, you’re scheduled to conduct Shostakovich’s 15th (and final) symphony this weekend… a work the band has never yet performed! How would you describe this music?
I think this piece is a unique combination of humor and mature musical thinking. It is a touching testament of a great symphonic composer.
Can. Not. Wait. Hey, congrats on your appointment as Chief Conductor for the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra! Suppose I had 48 hours in Helsinki ~ Any suggestions?
I would go and see the home of Jean Sibelius, listen to a concert in our excellent new Music Centre, and explore the beautiful archipelago… including the fortress island of *Suomenlinna.
Sounds perfect! And speaking of music centres: You’ve been all over the globe and I’m wondering if you have any favorite concert spaces?
The Philharmonic Hall in Saint Petersburg, Russia and Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan.
Nice. Um, not to be weird or anything, but if I could buy you a drink, what would you order?
That would be a Negroni.
I’m a Bombay Sapphire rodent myself – hope that’s okay. Before I turn to Ben, what are you expecting from your visit to P-Town?
I’m looking forward to meeting my friends in the fantastic Oregon Symphony again – and to play with Benjamin Schmid with whom I have recorded and performed a lot. And eat well, or course. Everyone in Europe knows that Portland is the culinary capital of the US.
Well, perhaps I’ll run into you at Clyde Common then! So talk to me Mr. Schmid: Why is the violin so darned awesome?
Because it can connect two notes in the most beautiful and varied way.
Indeed. What’s so great about experiencing classical music live?
We constantly deal with the greatest spirits of mankind, making them alive through playing, and it is continuous team work: other great instrumentalists, conductors, composers, arrangers, violinmakers, concert promoters, audiences – we all work together to enable one fantastic and instant experience: Music.
Wow ~ Thanks for that sweet response! You’re on tap to perform the third (and final) violin concerto by Camille Saint-Saëns this weekend. What composers really rock your world hard?
Bartók and Brahms.
Awesome – No one ever says Bartók! You also perform a fair amount of jazz ~ What’s the biggest difference playing jazz versus playing classical?
In jazz you can change a mistake into an idea – if you can keep a pokerface. As a classical violinist, if you play with good intonation, it’s already half a win. In jazz if you play with good timing, it’s already a 95% win.
Since you’re a fan of both classical and jazz, do you happen to have any guilty pleasures in the world of pop music too?
I have lots of other vices.
Let’s leave it there so my little imagination can run wild. Maestro Hannu and Superstar Schmid, I am sooo looking forward to hearing you both Monday night ~ Thanks so much for chatting with the Beavs!