When I came for the interview to Dmytro Logvin, Four Seasons orchestra was just rehearsing Old-fashioned Suite by Alfred Schnittke that had to be performed several hours later in Dnepropetrovsk for the first time. Garry Logvin Chamber Orchestra celebrates 18 years this year. His manager and conductor Dmytro Logvin is also the head conductor of Kyiv Soloists and is employed as the Managing Director by PinchukArtCentre. Our conversation is about demand for classical music, about modern art and lack of concert halls, about honesty with spectators and the magic that appears between audience and musicians.

– Your concerts refute a wide-spread opinion that classical music is not popular in Ukraine. You always have full house. How do you manage it?

– I cannot agree with this opinion. In 1993 when we created Four Seasons orchestra with my father, the trends were that one could see a large number of people in philharmonic halls and opera theatre rarely. In April of 1993 the first rehearsal took place, and the first concert was on June 6. We had the full house then at once. And since then I cannot remember a concert of Four Seasons orchestra for the past years 18 we have had about 200 of them, when the hall has not been full. And for the past 5 years the sign “All tickets are sold out” appears 15-20 days before the day of the concert.

All of the following, Dnepropetrovsk, Poltava, Kirovograd and Kyiv are the cities that are in an absolute need for the chamber classical music; audience can feel pretty well when they are treated honestly and also when it is cheated. And it can be cheated two-three times in a row but for the forth time you won’t be able to persuade that this time everything will be fine. When a spectator is aware of a holiday to happen, in expectation of a sort of hypnosis session to happen, a session that will heal psychological problems, then he attends this program and in this way it overcomes the statement that Dnepropetrovsk or any other city is not cultural.  One just needs to be honest with the audience, and then everything will be fine.

– They say you are a strict manager, you are very demanding to appearance of your musicians, their work…

– First of all, that is my attitude to myself. I cannot let myself approach the conductor’s stand of any orchestra I conduct without being prepared, though my experience let me read most of scores from a sheet on a rehearsal. As an orchestra artist in the past I know that musicians can see it and feel it from the very first measure.

You will never win your authority afterwards and will never achieve your objective if your musicians know that you are weaker in a certain aspect.

That is why, in the first place, I am so demanding to myself: to appearance, preparation to a rehearsal, to a concert, to making music programs, posters…That is why musicians allow me to be demanding to them.

– Classical music conveys positive emotions, catharsis, it changes people for the better, and most of contemporary art exhibited in PinchukArtCentre where you are the Managing Director, is scandalous, it challenges, and conveys most likely negative feelings. How do you manage to combine these opposite types of art?

– I just like to work very much. I like the process itself. I think that if I were a director of a metal producing plant I would work with just the same interest and excitement as I conduct the orchestra. When at the end of 2002 Viktor Pinchuk told me that he was planning to build a contemporary art museum I was just shocked. If he said that he would build a picture gallery of classical art this would be normal, he has been collecting pieces of Russian paintings. But that was such a turn by 180 degrees. Well, we go to work then and in 6-week time we started to work. And now PinchukArtCentre is one of the largest and most powerful institutions of contemporary art in the world. This also disproves the opinion that Ukraine is not grown up enough, that it is too early… It is beautiful that today one of the world centre of contemporary art is located in Kyiv. I mean centre not in terms of the building but in terms of its position. Everybody knows that there is MOMA, Tate, Bilbao, and there is PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv.

– There are many argues that for instance Shark in Formaldehyde by Hurst is not an art but just a well advertised project. What do you think in this regard?

– In Ukraine only there are more than 45 million people, all cannot think in the same way. Someone likes Hurst, some people don’t, if you do not like it – please do not attend. If I dislike something, at first I am trying to understand. This has been learnt by me right during my work at PinchukArtCentre. Indeed, contemporary art takes into account the position “like-dislike” in the last place. The classic art, yes, it is different there, you are looking at the painting by Rafael, and without deepening into this artwork you can feel emotionally: whether you like it or not. This is not enough in the contemporary art – one should know why this or that work is created, how it is created, what roused an author to it, in which way it was created technically – and only then it causes a feeling of respect, interest. And you also already treat it in a different way. All the rest is just subjective.

– It has been sixteen months since you became the head conductor of Kyiv Soloists orchestra. How have you achieved harmony in work with them?

– The best answer to this question I will be able to give you on December 6, when we meet in the same theatre on tour of Kyiv Soloists in Dnepropetrovsk. We have worked well together, because the musicians of Kyiv Soloists are very professional, young and hot-tempered people with proper education and good instruments, with a large repertoire. And the main thing is that a potential of Kyiv Soloists as orchestra in my vision is discovered by 35-40%. There is a great space for growth and further work. Because their individual capacity is much higher than that we can see today. Once Bashmet said that it took eight years of joint work for an orchestra to become the orchestra. We have got only 14 months and we have played a great number of concerts, we have won our audience throughout Ukraine. That means we are at the very beginning of the way, but this road is very interesting.

– To which extent are Ukrainian concert halls equipped for orchestra concerts?

– This subject requires not an individual interview, but a round table with the participation of the President and the managers of art teams. Ukraine has a disastrous lack of concert halls! State Academic Symphonic Orchestra of Ukraine, the main symphonic orchestra of the country, does not have their hall at all. These are 100 people that are sheltered in a certain assembly hall. National chamber ensemble of Ukraine “Kyiv Soloists” does not have their own hall and they are squeezed into a small room where it is impossible to rehearse.  While the hall of Kyiv Philharmonic is suitable for such concerts, they have literally every 15 minutes scheduled because this hall is the only one.

In Dnepropetrovsk the situation has been even worse, there was a descent hall in Dzerzhinsky Street wherein a VIP-club Opera is located, where everything was removed that could be removed and they set up a club for entertainment because there is a disastrous lack of clubs in Dnepropetrovsk (laughing).  And it turned out that there are too many concert halls and they have removed a good hall. There was Culture Palace Ilyicha there with a descent acoustics and 1200 seats and now there is either a warehouse or a bomb shelter. Nothing has been built by anybody for the past time. Our officials think that they will dwell in people’s memory in their photos on the billboards. But as a matter of fact, they will be remembered by actual actions. For instance, would anybody know of an American tycoon Carnegie if he had not built Carnegie Hall in New York?

I often work in Israel, in a small town of Ashdod with the population of 150 thousand. Two years ago I performed in a concert hall there and I was told “We apologize, we have not managed to complete construction of the new concert hall, and it will have been built by your next visit.” And now on April 7 I am travelling to the new concert, and there is a third concert hall under construction for 2500 people there. There are 150 thousand people, not a million as in Dnepropetrovsk and it is in permanent tension, because Palestine is close, there is a war. I feel that our politicians will grow up some day to understanding that one should not educate the population with TV commercials but with the things that are established for many years in advance.

– During a concert you have to stand all the time with your back to spectators. Isn’t it pressing when there is an entire hall behind and you cannot see the reaction of your audience?

– This helps a lot, I can feel with each nerve of my back and hands the entire audience, each and every spectator. I will tell you about one detail, and I have not made it up, but I have felt it many times. There is such a moment when a cloakroom tag is dropped down. And it sounds quite loud. On the one hand, the orchestra can loose the rhythm of the music, but on the other hand, at this moment you realize that a person is covered with emotions and his fingers do not hold any more. That is the energy of the hall is transferred via me to the orchestra, and on the other hand, the energy of the orchestra is conveyed via myself to the hall. That is the role of a conductor. Because otherwise it is like a traffic regulator in the street,   no alchemy only takes place there. If this symbiosis is in the concert, when aura of the hall is overlapped with the aura of the musicians then magic occurs. This can only be done by classic art; this cannot be done by contemporary art.

– Are you worrying before entering the stage?

– Always. The musician who is not worrying – this is not a musician at all. Because this is such a work that one cannot define its result in advance. Now everything has just been all right at the rehearsal but once you enter the stage something might go wrong. And this can be understood only during the process, one cannot foresee it beforehand. Somehow I can get disconnected from my emotions. But the most difficult moment for me is going from behind the wings to conductor’s stand. When I am on the stage I do not worry.

– Can anyone understand classic music, or one should grow up to understand it?

– Israel ranks second in milk yield. And the first place is Holland, where there is a lot of green grass, perfect pastures, mild climate…And there are stones and sand in Israel. But Bach is always played in Israeli cowsheds.  I do not think that the yield is that high only to due to the music, but even if cows which are of low intellect perceive classical music, then I do not believe that there are people that cannot understand it. There are people that are not aware of it. But, having attended once, there will be few who would say I do not want it anymore. If the performance is good, there is this special aura. And if the spectator sleeps throughout the concert then one should blame the performer not the music.

– Do you choose the repertoire yourself?

– Yes, I do. I reckon that one of the main merits of Four Seasons orchestra is the selection of their repertoire. A chamber orchestra is basically limited in comparison with a symphonic. Theoretically, one should stop wasting so many efforts on rehearsals. And we are constantly playing new programs, often they are for the first time in Ukraine, I am bringing rare notes…One could play a limited set of compositions from the concert to concert changing the consequence of the symphonies in the concert. But this is disrespect for the audience. If you play like this, the audience will get to the bottom very fast, even if you play well. One has to give something fresh, new, and well-prepared for sure. That is why I am trying to find these products and cook them well.

– How many rehearsals take place before the new piece will sound for the audience?

– Everything depends on an orchestra and a program. There is a standard in the West – three-four rehearsals. I like rehearsing more. Since Four Seasons are the private orchestra and we are free from the plans for the concerts that have any state orchestra including Kyiv Soloists. For instance, they have the plan of 50 concerts a year. Four Seasons do not have such plans, and this does not restrain us in rehearsing till I understand that the stone is cut. When the edges are shining then I announce the date of the concert. If I was restrained by the standards then I would not be able to allow it to myself. That is why when we were establishing the private orchestra with my dad we did not want anybody to dictate us anything: What to play, who we should play with, how much it should be rehearsed. Especially to be free from the dictates of the people that do not have any relation to art but they just hold certain positions.

– You worked with John Lord, the founder of Deep Purple. Who of world stars you enjoyed playing together, and who you might be dreaming to perform with?

– I did not dream to perform with John Lord, and, in general, I am trying not to force the events. If you work professionally and qualitatively then you will have everything you need. I am not a supporter of rock music, but when the John Lord’s concert organizers turned to me I said yes at once. I had a very successful concert with a bright musician Aleksandr Malinin. There was a concert with the outstanding Ukrainian tenor Anatoliy Solovyanenko; this was the last concert in his life. Who would I like to perform with? The range is extensive: These are classical and opera artists… I would enjoy having a concert with Sting…

Tatiana GONCHENKO, Dnepropetrovsk

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