1st February, 2011
If I recall correctly, it must have been some ten years ago when I heard the Solistes Européens Luxembourg for the first time in my life. I had just started as a Kapellmeister in a German opera company. The two rehearsals which I had the chance to attend struck me like lightning and had an unexpected impact on my thinking: they showed me that music making can be fun even in orchestras, and that the spirit and flexibility of chamber music and the personal involvement can be kept. I guess I envied the conductor a lot. Never could I have dreamed of conducting them, and less so to be ever associated with them. Years after, there was a first tentative contact and the vague possibility to conduct one concert.
And now: In September 2010 I have conducted my first concert as principal conductor of the Solistes Européens and I feel like having found my musical home. The conditions could not be better: When we meet, the joy of playing together and being with each other is unmatched. During the last twenty years the orchestra has developed a gentle velvet sound in the strings and a superb blending of all the different and diverse sound colours, which reminds me of the Wiener Philharmoniker or the Staatskapelle Dresden. Certainly, there is a similar mindset, mentalities are alike, and that helps a lot. But so much sunshine and no shadow, where is the rub? I haven’t discovered any yet. After every concert I have been deeply satisfied about how joyful and flexible the music making was on stage, I am truly grateful for this gift. That does not mean that there is nothing to do. There is a plethora of challenges. We want the programmes to become more colourful, we want to take more risks on this side, we are pushing hard to secure our funding for a longer period, we would like to invite the Luxembourg public institutions to support us even more as we are ambitious to be recognised as one of Luxembourg’s leading cultural ambassadors, and to this end we will further develop our international touring activities. We have just started in 2011 our collaboration with Chandos and are looking forward to leaving our own individual footprint on the recording industry. And, last but not least, we take every effort to secure that our especially loyal public stays as loyal in the years to come.