EXCLUSIVE – Interview with Stanislav Kochanovsky

"Italian opera is a huge world of feelings. You can find in it all what is around you, the whole universe is there. I will never forget my own debut with Santa Cecilia in April 2014! Superb musicians and highest level of music making."

Stanislav Kochanovsky is one of the brightest and most promising Russian conductors. The debut with Academy of Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome in 2014 was amazing. Nowadays, he is on tour in Italy with the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana.

Maestro, in this period you are travelling around Italy with OGI for some concerts on Russian music. What is the relationship with the young musicians of the orchestra?

At the moment we are in the middle of our tour and I must say that every day the amazing OGI perform better and better. The relationship with these fantastic young musicians is amazing! They are always give 100% of their energy.

Can you explain me why you have decided to perform, above all, the works of Glinka, Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff. What is your connection with the music of your Country?

I’m a Russian conductor and I’d like to share with the whole world the best works of Russian composers.

Its tremendous variety of orchestral colours can wonderfully accent the high level of the orchestra members.

Maestro, you directed the Orchestra of Santa Cecilia in a wonderful concert in 2014. On that occasion, you have replaced Termirkanov. What is your relationship with the great Russian directors like Gergiev and, precisely, Temirkanov? And what is your relationship with Russian orchestras like Mariinsky, Kislovodsk Philarmonic or St. Petersburg Philharmonic?

I grew up siting on the rehearsals and listening to both great Maestros in two major music houses of St.Petersburg. At age 12 I was invited to perform the part of Zweiter Knabe in «Zauberflte» at Mariinsky theatre. Later I came back to Mariinsky playing Organ as a member of the Orchestra. It was a great school for me. In Kislovodsk I was chief conductor for the last 5 years since 2010. At Mariinsky I conduct Tosca, Boris Godunov, symphony concerts. In April I will perform Prokofiev’s Second Symphony with Temirkanov’s Orchestra.

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What do you think about the Orchestra of Santa Cecilia and its director Sir Pappano? Have you had the chance to hear some records like, for example, the recent “Aida”?

Aida I didn’t hear yet. But I know many recordings of Maestro Pappano! My favorite is of course a Tosca film by Benoît Jacquot with Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna and Ruggero Raimondi.

Few weeks ago I had a lucky chance to meet Maestro Pappano in person in Milan after his wonderful concert with Santa Cecilia in La Scala with Beethoven symphonies.

I will never forget my own debut with Santa Cecilia in April 2014! Superb musicians and highest level of music making! I was very happy that immediately after my debut I was reinvited for a “Festa della Musica” concert in June.

Why did you choose to devote yourself to music and especially to conducting orchestra?

From childhood I listened to classical music together with my grandfather and he told me libretto of operas instead of fairytales. Singing was my forte as it was easier for me to sing than to speak. I sang everywhere – where it was allowed and even where it wasn’t- for example in public transport or clinics… My perfect pitch came out as a big surprise to everybody. “Golden ears” as my first teacher said. At Glinka Boy Choir School we admired our conductor. Everybody wanted to be like him. Obviously at that time at the age of 7 I did not fully understood what it meant to be a conductor. But I remember that exact moment when I took that decision – when I performed the part of Zweiter Knabe in «Zauberflte» at Mariinsky theatre. I felt the magic that appeared when instead of lectures I was sitting in the rehearsals and watching the conductor and musicians. Since that moment being in the theatre I only followed the orchestra pit and not the singers or dancers on the stage.

What was the concert you directed that gave you more satisfaction?

As a conductor I am never fully satisfied with a concert. You always find a room for improvement. Already during last applause after the performance staying in front of the orchestra I’m analyzing what could be done better and how I can achieve it next time. And this is an endless process…

What is the best way for classical music to attract the new youngest generations?

We have to show to young people that classical music isn’t something particularly difficult but one of the best miracles of our life. I support the idea of open rehearsals for the young people, special series of concerts for each age.

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Maestro, what is your musical dream?

No one in my family had a musical background so my dream is that my children will love the Music as I do even if they don’t become professional musicians!

Tell us what is your preferred symphony and your favourite composer.

The one I’m conducting in the concert will be always my favorite! But yes, there is one special work for me to mention – “Das Lied von der Erde” by Mahler.

You have directed some operas, like Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci. What are your feelings whenever you direct an Italian opera?

Italian opera, especially ‘Verismo’, is a huge world of feelings. You can find in it all what is around you; the whole universe is there… It’s always very touching because the stories are focused not on mythological figures or kings, but on the problems of an ordinary human being with everyday life problems, circumstances and feelings.

Maestro, you come often in Italy. What is your relationship with this Country? Do you like Italian style and way of looking at life? What is the place you love in Italy?

I was born in St.Petersburg called also “North Venice” and made by the best Italian architects of that time. In Italy I feel like at home and the more I’m enjoying this beautiful country the more I want to come back. I think one human life is not enough to see all of it… I discover places connected with Gogol who worked on Dead souls in Rome, Tchaikovsky working on Queen of spades in Florence and Fourth Symphony in Venice, Dostoevsky working on Idiot in Milan and Florence… etc. This is a really impressive list! Now I understand more and more why all of these geniuses always wanted to come back and work in Italy. At the moment I’m falling in love with Fiesole and Toscana…

What are the upcoming events of your career?

My calendar is quite busy. I’m looking forward to meet on stage Mikhail Pletnev on piano in Parma with Arturo Toscanini Orchestra in November, also very important debuts will be with Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestra National d’Ile de France, NHK SO in Tokio, Chinese National Orchestra, Orchestra Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

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