Blog: CBSO Leader Eugene Tzikindelean’s Top Notes

CBSO's new Leader Eugene Tzikindelean chooses his Top Notes playlist of music that has influenced him throughout his career.


Beethoven: String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor

"Holy song of thankfulness to the Deity by a convalescent". Quite an appropriate message by "the old Ludwig Van" in these mad times. 

This recording stands out for me as not only a landmark example of the Borodin Quartet at its best, but simply of string quartet playing in general. Having played a number of full Beethoven cycles I can recall this movement every single time I performed it. There is something so human, so vulnerable about it; the loneliness and void of the last man on earth... Borodin’s palette is of course extraordinary as they transfigure some passages as if Beethoven would predict the Shostakovich Cycle. 

Elgar: Violin Concerto in B Minor

The Elgar is my latest premiere, March 2020, together with Nikolaj Szeps Znajder conducting. This moment has an immense importance in my heart, because for one - the period of incubation of the piece - 17 years, longest to date for me, and for two: the challenge, honour and pure bliss to share the stage with one of the masters of this violinistic and emotional “Everest”.

Bruckner: Symphony No. 6 in A Major

Brucknerʼs music has been like my confident since the times when other violinist friends were still giggling at Heifetz slides (all due respect) and called me a big nerd. Bruckner is always with me in times of change, of struggle, of transformation which I think are vital to any musician. Is it the profound spirituality of his apparent simple and rather square music, or his large horizons, deep red sun-downs, the existential moments... Whatever it is, Iʼm always in the mood for it. Especially when it is played like on this recording, so honest and humble and yet vigorous... I can close my eyes and see Bernard Haitink conducting the BR like a grand-father watching over his sons and daughters... loving, caring and in perfect unity.

Wagner: Siegfried / Dritter Aufzug: Vorspiel

I consider my musical journey pre-and post Wagnerʼs Ring that I had the chance to lead in 2017 after 2 years of intense study. This incredible journey has marked me for ever and it is now part of who I am. I find myself going back to this beginning of Act 3 of Siegfried more than any other passage. Itʼs somehow stuck with me, this scene between The Wanderer and Erda, the premonition of the end, the unworldly atmosphere... Here, an excerpt from the legendary Cycle.

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 9 in E Flat

I always loved this symphony and the rebellious rock star bad boy move that he made - writing something completely different than what was expected of him. I love him even more for that. Purely compositionally, it just shows the size of his genius to be able to write in such pure style... closer to Mozart than his 10th Symphony... As a long time fan of BSOʼs sound I always followed their releases and I am so happy about these Shostakovich recordings. I can hear Andris Nelsonsʼ deep understanding and advocacy for this music and BSOʼs superlative playing is just irresistible to me.