Interview: Teodor Currentzis

Interview: Teodor Currentzis

“Rituality and spirituality are the things I am looking for in contemporary music.”

On February 18, 2017 Teodor Currentzis conducted the Russian premiere of Sergej Newski’s violin concerto Cloud Ground in Perm. The soloist was Elena Revich.

What fascinates you about Newski’s Cloud Ground or his other compositions?

I think the work of Newski is a multifaceted project of tone research. He is trying to find the root of the sound. There is an absolutely certain form that is based on a classical system of understanding of musical lines but in a very new way.

What is the difference in rehearsing classical and contemporary music for you?

There is no difference. Actually, it is like dresses: there is no difference if you wear an old one or a new one. Looks different, but the principal function is the same.

It looks like you worked more with contemporary music before and now you’re back to classical compositions. What has happened?
First of all, I don’t think that it’s true because our theatre is the only one in Russia that gives commissions to develop new operas and pieces every year, - much more than others - all together. I believe that for me contemporary music…it’s a task to create a new piece. I am really convinced that it’s a thing of great importance to give an opportunity to composers to give a commission and write new pieces. I am playing, of course, masterpieces that have been created, including from contemporary music. But I think that contemporary music shouldn’t be divided from the academic classical music, so I try to combine a piece of contemporary music with a classic, so the lovers of the classical music have a chance to understand a contemporary music. 

Also the Laboratory that I have here in Perm, teaches people new ways of listening so I’m not convinced that there is the audience who only listens to contemporary music or orchestras and ensembles playing only for that exact audience; contemporary music is for everybody. That means to open our hearts and minds and try to bring this music to everybody. Sometimes a person doesn’t have an opportunity to experience contemporary music, so it may have a higher impact on them than to a person who is used to it. So that’s why I don’t play only contemporary music. It’s - let’s say - 20% of my activity. But it’s still very important, because I initiate new creations like this one by Sergey Newsky.

Which Russian composers of the 20th and 21st centuries are the most interesting for you and why?
A lot: Leonid Desiatnikov, Sergey Newski, Alexey Syumak, Dmitri Kourliandsky, Darin Sysoev, Boris Filanovsky… and many others. But I believe that it’s very important to return to the ritual art and musi for me is a ritual art, not an intellectual one. Composers need to have either very strong identity or very strong talent to take path. Because we live in the times when people have less and less opportunity to have a ritual life. So the rituality and spirituality are the things I am looking for in contemporary music.

Sergej Newski: Cloud Ground • [2015]
for violine and orchestra
Solo: vl - - - -
World Premiere: 7.2.2016
Duration: 18’
SY 4403

Sergej Newski: composer profile

Photo: Olya Runyova