We spoke to Russian conductor Stanislav Kochanovsky ahead of his debut with the CBSO on 14 November, in which he'll conduct music by Janáček's Taras Bulba, Prokofiev's First Violin Concerto and Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony.
Your programme with us features two works by Russian composers – does the music of your homeland have a special place in your heart?
Without a doubt! As a Russian-born conductor, music by composers from my homeland is in my blood. It’s wonderful and exciting to bring this music to many different countries, and to share it with all cultures. I’m thrilled to be joined on stage by Russian/Italian violinist Sergej Krylov to present Prokofiev’s first violin concerto.
Tonight is your debut performance with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. How do you approach meeting and working with musicians for the first time?
Making a debut is always an incredibly exciting moment. I believe the best possible approach is to simply be yourself, because you will never have a second chance to make your first impression again! I am thrilled to be making my debut here with the CBSO this evening with such a spirited programme.
What do you enjoy most about your job as a conductor?
I love meeting new people, musicians and colleagues all over the world. One huge element of our work, inevitably, is travel: it’s wonderful to continuously visit and discover new places, and to share the unique yet universal language of music around the globe.
Having studied at the Glinka Choir School and the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire in St. Petersburg, you’ve been immersed in music making for most of your life. Do you take creative inspiration from anything outside the world of music?
Nature is a big source of inspiration for me, and I make the most of enjoying it as much as possible in my free time. And, for the last four years, a huge amount of inspiration and energy has come from my two kids!
If you could have coffee with any composer from history who would you choose and why?
Gustav Mahler. In addition to quizzing this genius over coffee about conducting and composing, I would have loved to have attended one of his rehearsals – it would have been a truly fascinating experience.
What do you hope to share with tonight’s audience through this programme?
In the audience there will always some people who are attending for the first time and experiencing this music for the first time. Without a doubt, the most important thing for me will be to make sure they are keen to come back next time, and the time after that!
What do you like to do on tour when you’re not rehearsing or performing?
I always try to find time to walk outside alone, to explore and to breathe in the atmosphere of whichever city I am in.