2nd International Festival ChamberArtMusic took place in Kyiv. The event of chamber classical music is authors’ project of the musicians of the string quartet Collegium with the participation of National Chamber Ensemble “Kyiv Soloists”. Dmytro Logvin, honored art worker of Ukraine, the conductor of the ensemble told “Profile” about the special features of the festival program.

This year the invited guest of the festival is the old music ensemble “Soloists of Switzerland” whose first disk was nominated for Grammy Award in 2007. How did you manage to motivate them to come to Ukraine?

Last year when I started working with the ensemble “Kyiv Soloists”, the first international festival was arranged together with Nataliya Dushenko Fund, and our soloists, Collegium quartet invited amazing musicians from Switzerland – Dmitry Severin, our former fellow countryman from Kharkov, now the professor of Geneva Conservatoire, viola player and Dmitry Ashkenazi,  clarinettist, son of distinguished Russian and now American conductor Vladimir Ashkenazi.  Then the idea of the second festival was born. Denis enjoyed working with us and he offered to bring the ensemble “Soloists of Switzerland” where he played the viola solo part.   This is a baroque ensemble, specialized in baroque music. It is not traditional for our orchestras; we play in a different style. Baroque style requires different instruments, its own specifics, for instance, it needs fat but not metallic strings. Another former fellow countryman of ours, Mikhail Kugel performed at this festival. He is now a Belgium national, viola player with a tremendous artistic biography. It became clear at the rehearsal that a union of a good musician, skilful orchestra man and a competent soloist was always possible if you understand each other with your eyes.

How important is this intuitive understanding between a conductor and music performers?

It is very important. I am constantly quoting the phrase of the great Russian composer Rimskiy-Korsakov: “Conducting is a vague matter”. This “vague matter” is this intuition, feeling at the tip of your fingers, throwing a glance at the necessary moment, to catch this glance and act as it was spelled. When you manage to do what the eyes say, you will end up with creating art. If there are only hands, so called conducting manual skill – this is nothing. I, myself, worked six years as an orchestra artist in the Opera Theatre and saw different conductors.  There were some conductors with very beautiful hands but it was lifeless at the same time. They did not have intuition, there was no heaven on the tips of their fingers, and that was it…The orchestra artists could do anything – play fools, play wrong, we could afford playing various pranks. And then a different conductor came, and we had the same piece, same theatre, same soloists on the stage, same musicians in the orchestra pit – and everything changed all of a sudden, everything was different, everything was on the nerve, my back became upright, at once there was a will to give yourself away to this stream. How one can explain that? A conductor is when you cover the audience and the orchestra with your back, and then this chemistry is happening, and if it is not happening you get the same result, the concert is moving on, but it’s not that.

Several young and promising musicians of Ukraine perform in Kyiv Soloists, they are laureates of Ukrainian and international contests. Can we say that classical music experiences Renaissance now?

I would not say that there is either decay or renaissance of classical music; where everything is all right, no renaissance is needed, and it is already fine there. Renaissance is required where the things are going bad. In 1993 my father, people’s artist of Ukraine, Garry Logvin and I, established the first private orchestra in Ukraine named Four Seasons. Empty theatre halls can be seen then. Everybody said that classical music was dying and nobody needed it. We had full house at the first concert. The second – full house, the third – no tickets were available. And it is 18th concert season now. On October 25 we had the first concert and three weeks before the concert, there was a notice that all tickets were sold out in the box office. Why? Because the audience cannot be cheated. You cannot treat the audience as an element existing apart from your art. Initially we built our program in this way. Play well and, of course, look well, so that spectators enjoy what they see at the stage, hold nice music program booklets in their hands. And the spectator understood it straightaway. I have been with the ensemble “Kyiv Soloists” for a year, and it established good reputation much earlier before my participation, they have been for 15 years on the stage. We have acquired our own audience this year. People saw these changes. This was not possible to do within one concert, but when there were several shows, the new program was presented all the time, no repetitions, brilliant soloists performed, nice booklets were in hands, no failures, all parts were performed in accordance with the program in a qualitative manner, this was charming, this was chemistry.

That was it.

And now the philharmonic is saying: It was easy to sell tickets for your concerts.

If there is a young gifted musician appears, will he be able to make himself successful entirely in Ukraine or will he need to go abroad?

You have answered your question yourself. He can discover his talent for sure, yet he cannot exist further. Ukraine is a brilliant field to reveal talents and that is it. A talent has to do something, he has to have his living, to play the instrument, has to have a stage to perform. And what we have in Ukraine is a possibility to teach a little talented child well, let him/her perform with the orchestra, define that the child is gifted…And then there is no concert hall, no money, no instrument. And he/she leaves for Germany, Switzerland or England. My concertmaster Eugeniy Kostritsky, he is also the concertmaster of Odessa National Philharmonic Orchestra spent seven years in England, he completed a post-graduate education in Kyiv and then in the British Guildhall School, then joined London Symphonic Orchestra of Gergiev by competition and then his visa expired and he returned to Ukraine

But for the past seven years he made his way up from the third step to 154th step in his knowledge, his skills and experience. But this is a good example – Eugeniy took training and returned to Ukraine. And Igor Chetuyev teaches in Hannover school, he left at the age of 12, now he performs every year with Four Seasons. Practically everybody is abroad. Do you think they like more there than at home? No, they would like to live at home with their parents, friends, communicate in their environment, but there they have everything, concerts, visas that you do not need to get, producers, promotional campaigns and managers. There they take it up professionally and here they are with nothing, unfortunately. This is like when we speak of soloists, orchestra artists are more comfortable here. This or that way good musicians are employed by good orchestras which are also few in numbers, but there are never enough of good musicians.

A season ticket to the National Philharmonic of Ukraine costs 300 UAH in average for six concerts. How do musicians make their living at all?

This is disgrace. I am constantly fighting the management of philharmonic but unfortunately we have entirely opposite vision. The classic art you spend the heart, tremendous number of rehearsals, nerves on, cannot cost as a ticket to a movie. Kyiv Soloists get 100% state budget financing. We do not have the tickets; we do no have anything from ticket sales. Philharmonic management does not see the point to increase the prices. If the team is private, one thinks how to earn, what can be done better, how to spend it right. And here you come to work – you are paid, you do not come to work – you are paid, you have played well – you got the money, you have not played well – you also get your allowance, none can be either fired or charged a penalty according to the Law. Even in the Russian Orchestra of Mariinskiy Ballet and Opera Theatre, one of the best orchestras of Europe headed by the outstanding man of art Valeriy Gergiyev, five days of absence – the fee on tour is decreased by 20% or a man does not go on tour at all. There is a certain system at least. Of course, one cannot go around and punish people all the time, but at the same time, having no tools of balance it is very difficult to work, only using your own authority. If they respect you – then you manage them if not then you are nought and cannot do anything.

How would you characterize the Ukrainian audience, does it understand the classic?

You know, they do. This is a surprise and a big delight. When we were starting in Dnepropetrovsk, there were a lot of people, but they did not have any idea what has to be done in the concert, how to behave, when one should applaud. However, they began understanding it with every other concert. We had a remarkable art historian Ariadna Postavnaya, she travelled all around the world and presented concerts brilliantly, for instance, speaking of Beethoven’s symphonies, she was telling in which house, in which street he had played it.  The audience went to her concerts and I always joked then that this was a concert of Ariadna Postavnaya accompanied by Four Seasons orchestra. She passed away and there is nobody who can replace there, we are writing a music program, booklets and everybody understand now and read them.  But a different thing is pleasing to me. I used to visit Uzhgorod, Kharkiv, Poltava, Kirovograd with Kyiv Soloists. Poltava…a regional centre. There was the amazing audience that attended the concert being prepared. Someone had brought a can of honey after the concert, a box of sweets. They were happy, all of them were knowledgeable, and they had not applauded where inappropriate. This was a European concert. Unfortunately, a number of classic fans is not large, but does it make sense for the chamber orchestra to perform in the Sport Palace if the audience will fill it in full?

Is advertising also necessary to become a successful performer of classic?

It is a lot at the first stage. Though it has been three years since we stopped printing posters, we just prepare one banner on the Russian Gorky Dramatic Theatre where we perform. The audience knows when and which concert. But when you are only starting, this is necessary. Another thing is when it is just an advertising, the audience understands the cheating very fast.  But it is also difficult to perform everything good without any advertisement, none will ever know about that. Therefore, symbiosis is necessary, of course. And the money for it is necessary as well. As for Kyiv Soloists we do not have the money for advertising, we cannot even buy the strings or rent a concert hall. Everything is so mismanaged that our musicians work not owing to something but only overcoming problems.  I have a feeling that if we just collect salaries and do not perform at all it would be much quieter and may even better.  Because when we arrange concerts, the program booklets are required, one needs to find the hall, these are additional troubles.

A peculiar feature of your repertoire is the compositions Ukrainian audience is not familiar with. How do you select them for your concerts?

Despite the open borders we still live in vacuum. Fortunately, I have a possibility to travel abroad frequently, and the first thing that I do in any small town in Europe – I visit a note shop, and having spent two-three hours there I have never left it with empty hands. 90% of the compositions performed by me with Four Seasons and with Kyiv Soloists for the first time in Ukraine or for the first time in Kyiv or Dnepropetrovsk I had bought abroad, because we did not have these notes in Ukraine. We have got the notes of 1970’s in our libraries. There is nothing new delivered or printed. Three years ago in Zurich I purchased 13 symphonies of Mendelssohn unknown to me before then. It turns out that everybody know 5 symphonies of Mendelssohn, and aged 13, he, being a wonder child (he was referred to as Mozart of XIX century) composed 13 youthful symphonies for a chamber orchestra. They are breathtakingly beautiful. For the first time I performed them in Dnepropetrovsk and then in Kyiv. Indeed, this is not modern music. It is simply available in any modern orchestra in the West and we have not known them at all. Or in Kyiv Philharmonic I am planning to do a joint concert of Four Seasons and Kyiv Soloists combining them into two orchestras next year. But I do not see any sense to offer a seat to two orchestras, the number of performers to be increased by half and play pieces that can be played by one orchestra. That is why, making the program I thought of playing something special that could be fair enough for the two orchestras. For instance, Georges Bizet and Rodion Shchedrin have one of my favourite themes “Carmen suite”, it is for two string orchestras and percussion group, at once we put it into our plan, but this is not enough. And then, virtually a month ago I dropped into a note shop in London and see a thin score of Tippet, a relatively modern English composer, I opened it: The concert for two string orchestras. Definitely this will be for the first time in Ukraine.

What are your impressions of the co-operation with the founder of Deep Purple, John Lord? Is it appropriate to combine classical music and rock?

These were absolutely unforgettable moments. Lord is the great musician. One should not divide the music into classical, pop, genre music, there is good or bad music. The compositions of Lord are luxurious symphonic music, it should not be divided into rock or any other kind of music, this is perfect product of high quality.

And would you like to play with a popular musician once again?

Yes, I would like to. But you know I follow the principle – not to force events. Nothing should be asked of anyone, everything will be brought itself, one do not just need  to wait but do your own business.

Tatiana GOLOVCHENKO, “Profile”

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