Shlomo Mintz: Moscow is a special city for me

On 27 November, the Grand Hall of Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatoire will be hosting the final concert of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra tour “MPO Moscow Tour – A Union of Cultures”. Shlomo Mintz, the legendary Israeli violinist, viola player, conductor and teacher, who first took up the violin at the age of three and debuted as a soloist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra when he was eleven, will be performing. We talked with him about the sea, about music, Malta and Moscow.

Shlomo Mintz: Moscow is a special city for me

You were born in Moscow but then moved to Israel. In your opinion, how has this city changed over time? Do you have any particular places in Moscow, which you love the most?

I am sure that Moscow is not the same city that it was when I visited it for the first time in 1982. I was born on Arbat Street and left Moscow when I was only two, but my parents spent a lot of time in Moscow. So of course, the city has a very special meaning to me. Besides visiting the main institutions, the Kremlin, Red Square and other important and very emblematic places, Moscow has a very special atmosphere, which is constantly changing, with small theatres, venues and local activities. I am personally not so informed on those activities but I always enjoy being introduced to new things whenever I go to Moscow.

As a soloist you will perform at the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory together with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of its Principal Conductor Sergey Smbatyan within the MPO Moscow Tour – A Union of Cultures project. Could you present us your concert programme?

First of all, I would like to say that I am very excited to perform with the MPO on the same stage. Well, within that frame the composition of Alexey Shor is certainly new and revealing, it represents and gives the scope of the sea which is far away from Moscow. So, something to imagine for the Moscow audiences and I suppose in that way it is a sort of exchange.

I will also play in this concert, “Le Coq d’Or” by Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov as a sign of “the union of the cultures”.

You have already performed works by A. Shor within the Vienna Classic Strings Festival, the Wandering Music Stars International Festival in Israel, at a concert in Kazakhstan, and soon you will play his compositions in the USA and Russia. As a composer, have you found something in common with the music of Alexey Shor?

I find his music near in harmony progression and in the sense of neoclassicism. Both Mr Shor’s and mine tastes are deeply rooted in the classical period and of course, it is reflected in any of the compositions that either him or me have composed. So, in that way gives me great pleasure to perform his music.

Recently, you have participated in many projects organized by the European Foundation for Support of Culture. Do you have any plans to continue your cooperation with the Foundation and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra? Shall we wait for you in Malta?

I am looking forward to work with the Foundation all over Russia in 2020; this is something that I have missed in many, many years of career as a soloist and as a conductor, and it seems it will happen next season. But not only to work in Russia, but also in other countries where their activities are. I think that they are doing an important and very tremendous work and they should be fully credited for all their efforts.

I am also looking forward of course to come back to Malta where I have played and conducted before, and I will be pleased to be back for a visit. It is a beautiful place with a great audience and hopefully after this work together in the upcoming concert in Moscow, we will continue working together. I am looking forward to it!

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