Ahead of his debut concert as the CBSO's brand new Principal Guest Conductor, Kazuki Yamada took some time to chat with us about the year ahead...
What can we look forward to during your time as CBSO Principal Guest Conductor?
I always feel the CBSO and I are almost telepathic, we can make a chemical reaction for each performance. It’s a very special thing.
You have strong connections with orchestras in Japan and France as well as here in the UK could you tell us a little about the different approaches of musicians from these countries?
I think Japanese orchestras and UK orchestras are quite similar. They are very punctual, have fantastic technique and prefer efficient work. French orchestras are like fashionable, they have more colour, temperature, and perfume. More so than other countries music.
And what about the audiences? Do you find that classical music is received differently in Japan and Europe?
I don't see any differences between the orchestras in Japan and Europe but when Japanese audiences come to a concert, they are full of concentration and very quiet. However in this era audiences all over the world can enjoy classical music, it's fantastic.
Can you tell us a little about how you prepare before concerts? Do you have a go to pre-concert meal?
If I have time before the concert, I try to sleep a little bit. Sometimes I go for a pre-concert meal, there are no strict rules. I find a lot of musicians change clothes very early before a concert, but I prefer to start changing just 15 minutes before the concert.
You toured Japan with the CBSO a few years ago – does the orchestra behave differently when they’re away from home?
Not really, I could see that they were enjoying the tour very much. I organised a party for the musicians in Tokyo, almost all musicians attended it, it made me extremely happy.
What advice would you give to any young, aspiring conductors reading this?
To love music, to live in music, to see beautiful things and to love nature. It is also very important to be interested in a variety of things, not only music.
Are there any particular highlights that you think the audience should keep an ear out for in the 2018-19 Season?
It is a great pleasure to work with the CBSO and perform three programmes with such varied repertoire in my first year. Each piece is full of character. For the first concert, dance is the theme and I love French music. Among Tchaikovsky’s symphonies, No. 4, 5 and 6 are frequently performed. I decided to choose in my opinion the most special symphony, it’s a dramatic and explosive work with organ. And alongside the Schumann, commonly known as ‘Manfred’, it makes for a wonderful programme.