19 August, 2009

Interview with Jordi Savall

Image: Jordi Savall.

Jordi Savall is conductor for Le Concert des Nations at Usher Hall on 20 August. He is also directing and performing in Hesperion XXI on 21 August at the Queen’s Hall. We spoke to Jordi Savall prior to his Festival 09 performances and asked him a few questions.

When you were growing up how did music influence you and what is it that your particularly like about early years music?
When I was 6 years old I was a choir-boy at school, which I loved - until my voice broke when I became older. This was very frustrating for me as I still wanted to sing, so I tried to find something to replace it. I discovered the Cello, and the music of Bach, as well as English Composers such as Simpson. These gave a new lease of life to my music.

Do you find that there are many differences between audiences in different parts of the world. If so what are they?
There are many differences, sometimes incredible. In places like South America and Eastern Europe, where people don’t have as much money, the audiences are very warm. They’re happy you’re visiting and it feels a different atmosphere.

How did you find your time at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2007?
It was marvelous. We had a series of nice productions, they were all very full, it was a great ambience.

What do you see as the main differences between performing as part of a festival and performances in other seasons?
In festivals there is always a nice audience, very multicultural. The audience are motivated to come to the festival, it’s not just high society, people are interested in the programme and the music. There’s such a variety, the local audience, people from far away, it’s very cosmopolitan. The city of Edinburgh is incredible, full of activity – a nice stimulating audience.

What do you think people will gain from coming to see your performances at the Edinburgh International Festival?
It’s difficult for me to say. I’m happy to present the compositions - they maybe very well known, such as Handel, or others that we have done special research on. We also have great musicians in our orchestra who play from the heart. We put life into our version of the music, like in older times without rehearsal.

As well as Le Concert des Nations, you're also directing and performing in Hesperion XXI. How do you find performing on stage compared to conducting?
I’m used to doing both, and I like to do both. I like to travel and conduct, but it also depends on the music. I also like to play alone, by myself, without intermissions. With Hesperion XXI, we have a group from all over the world, who’ve been playing together for 20 years. This is great for me, to get together is a festivity, with such a nice group of musicians and friends, and of course to share that with our audiences.

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