Notes from an Orchestra: Kirill Karabits BSO Principal Conductor

The first 10 days of June I spent in Moscow conducting Puccini’s La Boheme at the Bolshoi. Then, I was hoping to have some time off but didn’t in the end as I took a cancellation in Brussels to conduct the Belgium National Orchestra on the 20th June, two concerts with a programme of Elgar and Rachmaninov. So logistically it was not an easy one as there was a BSO Prokofiev recording day at Lighthouse, Poole in between the rehearsals and the concert both taking place in Brussels. So in under a week I went to Brussels, I rehearsed and then I came back to Poole to record on the 19th June for one day and then went back to Brussels to conduct the two performances. People often say to me ‘Kirill why can you not sleep?’ well this is a very good example of why I sometimes can’t sleep!

I came back from Brussels for this patch of recording with the BSO of Prokofiev Symphonies No. 1 & 2 to be released later this year.  This will follow the successful BSO Prokofiev Symphonies No. 3 & 7 that reached the top 20 of the specialist classical albums chart this year. The recording sessions with the BSO were followed by rehearsals for the Cheltenham Music Festival taking place on the 2nd July where we played a programme of Beethoven, Panufnik and Elgar.

A few days later at the Cheltenham Music Festival on the 5th July, conducted by Maxime Tortelier the BSO performed the premiere of Tony Banks of Genesis first publicly performed orchestral work. This was for the BSO a very busy schedule as the recordings and Cheltenham Music Festival was in the middle of their engagement to the Grange Park Opera season performing the Queen of Spades.

July was a quieter time for me where my suit case that is always full of packs of scores was a little lighter – before the new ones I now have started to appear. This was the perfect opportunity to take a couple of weeks off, the first time in a very long time and to take a family vacation.  Towards the end of July I started studying for big works such as Shostakovich Symphony No. 7 for the I,Culture Orchestra, Poland residency in August.

August has arrived and I am now in Gdansk in Poland where I have started rehearsals and preparation for the tour of I,Culture Orchestra, a residency and tour that I really enjoy. The I,Culture Orchestra project now in its third year was established by Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Poland for outstanding young musicians from Poland and the Eastern Partnership member states – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

After the auditions those selected are then invited on a 10 day residency in Gdansk a head of the tour with tutors from the UK, one of the tutors is Andy Cresci – BSO Principal Tuba. We then prepare and rehearse the programme for the tour including Shostakovich Symphony No.7, a piece by Panufnik a composer the BSO performed at the Cheltenham Music Festival. We will work with soloists including Simon Trpceski who we know well and has performed a number of times with the BSO and a German Japanese pianist Alice Sarah Ott.

This year the first concert will be here in the beautiful city of Gdansk on the 9th August, we then go to Kassel in Germany on the 10th August. We are then performing at La Roque d’ Antherón – a famous piano festival in the South of France on the 12th August. We then travel to Scotland for the Edinburgh International Festival on the 17th August and the last concert will be in Stockholm, Sweden on the 23rd August.

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