Manchester Camerata's incoming Music Director Gábor Takács-Nagy brings with him an international reputation. Read here his recent interview in the Swiss edition of Paris Match! about his forthcoming festival Bellerive in Geneva, and his role at the prestigious Verbier Festival.
|Translation: PARIS MATCH
Gabor Takacs-Nagy: Music must be brought to life
Founder member and first violin of the famous Takacs Quartet has devoted himself to conducting since 2011. Based in Geneva, he became Music Director of the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra in 2007, which he brings to the Collonge-Bellerive Festival at the beginning of July.
Q. What is the last concert you went to in Geneva?
A. I went to hear Beethoven's 9th Symphony conducted by Krivine to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Conservatoire.
Q. You are professor at the Geneva Conservatoire. What draws you to teaching?
A. I always feel most creative with the magnificent genre of the quartet. I played that genre for twenty years, had outstanding teachers in Budapest and I think I have a mission to fulfill. I have to try to let the younger generation benefit from my experience. I'm not claiming to be a genius, but I believe I have a pretty good understanding of what I teach.
Q. What do you try to get over foremost to your students?
A. The most important thing is to know how to bring music alive. You have to put your whole soul into it, because the musician has to bring the composer to life through the concert. Then, I try to get them to learn how to play, breath and imagine together. The pleasure of music is not in the technique of the discipline, but in the emotion and the sharing.
Q. Which students are you most proud of?
A. I am very happy to see the Ebene and Terpsycorde Quartets enjoying such good careers. They have won big, international competitions and year after year they prove their immense talent.
Q. What do audiences absolutely have to hear this year at the Verbier Festival?
A. That's a difficult question. Of course, there's Martha Argerich, in whatever the repertoire. She is extraordinary! Apart from that, I have three dates in my mind: 24 July, the Festival Orchestra are performing Pucinni's Tosca and on 26 July in la Salle des Combins, there is a night of absolutely exceptional music with among others, Kissin, Argerich, Gitlis, Kermer, Mutter and Maisky. And then on 30 July, I can highly recommend the concert under Valery Gergiev, a conductor who has a real sense of mystique about him.
Q. We can also see you in July in Geneva. What exactly is in the programme there?
A. I'm appearing in the Collonge-Bellerive Festival. On 7 July, I'm conducting the Bellerive Camerata, comprising great musicians who come together especially for the festival. We are playing Grieg, Piazzolla, Bartok and Dvorak. On 14 July, I return with the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra. We're playing Beethoven's 4th Symphony, as well as his Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61.
Q. You are also conducting the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra. How does that differ to conducting a chamber orchestra?
A. A symphony orchestra has three times more musicians than a chamber orchestra. It's a big machine, a mass in which musicians loose their personalities a little. It can feel like there is a certain distance there, and I try to make that gap disappear. It's as much a psychological feat as a physical accomplishment. Simon Rattle, who conducts the Berlin Philharmonic told me that to be a good conductor, you have to be a musician, clown, policeman, dancer and psychiatrist, all at the same time. I love that combination!
(Translation: Jane Nicolson)