Guildhall questions: Pietari Inkinen answers
We quiz conductor Pietari Inkinen ahead of the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra's performance at the Barbican Hall on 15 March.
Following his adjudication of the Gold Medal in 2016, Pietari Inkinen returns to the School to conduct the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra in an extraordinary arrangement of Wagner’s famous Ring Cycle, with a special guest appearance from soprano Lise Lindstrom.
The repertoire for the evening is The Ring Without Words, Maazel’s arrangement of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. What can audiences expect?
Listening to and performing Wagner is always a thrilling and overwhelming experience. Even though the title here is Without Words, we have a surprise last minute addition to the Maazel arrangement. It will be great night out for everyone in the Barbican Hall!
You recently conducted the Melbourne Ring Orchestra in the entirety of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. How does Maazel’s arrangement compare with the full opera?
Well, first of all this is about an hour-long arrangement, whereas the whole Ring Cycle is 16 hours of music! Maazel has picked the highlights from the cycle. The main difference in Maazel’s arrangement is that there are no singers, but we have changed it a bit this time around.
There’ll also be a special guest appearance by soprano Lise Lindstrom. How did she come to be involved?
Lise has sang her first Die Walküre Brünnhilde with me in Palermo´s Teatro Massimo in 2013. Just recently we did the whole Ring Cycle together in Melbourne, which was her first time performing the complete Ring Cycle. I asked her if she would like to join us for this concert London to sing the Immolation scene (Maazel´s version cuts a good chunk out of it when there is no singer). She said yes, lucky for us, and we have now reinserted the whole Immolation scene back as it is in the original.
What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming concert in the Barbican Hall?
All of it. Working again with highly motivated and skilled students on my favourite repertoire and of course working with Lise!
How did you get into conducting in the first place?
I started at 14 as a pupil of Jorma Panula in the Sibelius Academy youth department (Panula organised a session with the conducting class orchestra and took three of us along as his younger pupils). Back then, the violin was still my main focus but conducting slowly took over.
You’ve conducted some phenomenal orchestras around the world. What have been some of your favourite experiences?
It difficult to choose favourite moments or orchestras (there are many) but I still remember the feeling of walking out on stage for the first time at the Musikverein.
What do you like doing outside of music?
Like many colleagues who travel a lot, I like exploring local foods and wine. Downhill skiing is my favourite sport in winter. I live in Switzerland, so we have a good access to some of the greatest slopes in the world.
If you hadn’t become a musician, what would you have chosen as a career?
That´s too difficult to say. What would have happened if....
If you had one piece of advice for aspiring musicians today, what would it be?
Keep working hard and playing together. Especially important in today´s world, music unites and brings us together no matter where we’re from. This alone should be a good reason enough for everybody to start learning and come together in music.
Pietari Inkinen will be conducting the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra in the Barbican Hall on Wednesday 15 March. Book your tickets now.