That young violin virtuoso from Valencia has turned into a young man of 18 who has played with orchestras around the world and taken lessons from musicians the likes of Zakhar Bron. This evening, he will play at the Valencia Symphony Hall.
Today at 20:00 the Iturbi Auditorium will provide the stage for a multimedia show “Casual Concert & Lounge”, with the Valencia Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Oliver Díaz performing works by Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mussorgsky, Borodin, Sarasate and Saint-Saëns. The young violinist Jacobo Christensen will put his “Stradivarius” at the service of the last two composers. The music will be accompanied by a visual montage and choreography by students from the Higher Dance Conservatory under the direction of Toni Aparisi. After the concert, the atrium will open up to the public to listen to music and dance with DJ Gianluca Tavaroli. All for 8 euros. This “new public” in search of tried and true sensations has never had it easier.
Question: Can you explain what the “Casual concert and lounge” is all about?
Answer: The idea is to bring classical music to a younger audience, through exceptional pieces that are easy to understand. These are beautiful, but really demanding pieces, but they are not hard to listen to.
Question: And they are all very romantic. What is it that romanticism can offer young people that you won’t find in, say, baroque music or twelve-tone composition?
Answer: The Romantic period is known for its brilliance. As for the two pieces I will be playing, one was composed by Pablo Sarasate, one of the greatest violin virtuosos, and he wrote it for himself; the other is by Saint-Saëns, and he composed it specifically for Sarasate. They reflect the philosophy of the time: they are meant to allow the soloist to show off. Don’t forget this is when the first “groupies” appeared, like those who threw their undies at Liszt.
Question: Will music written for “groupies” in the 19th century be to the taste of young people in the 21st?
Answer: If they are open to it, of course it will. It’s beautiful music, always. I’ve never met anyone who has said that it is boring or hard to listen to. That’s why I think this concert is a great opportunity to bring this exceptional music to both a public that is familiar with it and to one that is not.
Question: And to attract this young public, is it necessary to also provide videos, dancing and a DJ for after the concert?
Answer: It’s not necessary, no, but if that helps bring them in, then why not? This is marvellous music, and it would be a shame for people to go through life without ever having heard anything like it.
Question: Do young people from other countries have more knowledge of classical music than in Spain?
Answer: In Spain, it’s hard to attract young audiences to classical music, although there is nothing wrong with that per se. Here, it’s hard to get young people to overcome their prejudice against classical music. In Denmark, where my father is from, young people aren’t ashamed to recognise that they like this kind of music.
Question: Is the cost of tickets to classical concerts a barrier to bringing this music to more people?
Answer: The price will always be a barrier, but we mustn’t forget that going to a classical music concert isn’t like going to the movies. There are a whole series of musicians who are playing live and giving their all and who have invested enormous amounts of time to get where they are and provide high quality concerts. I think it depends on what people are interested in, although I haven’t met anyone who wanted to come hear me but wasn’t able to because of the price of the ticket.
Question: One of the pieces you will play today is by Sarasate, a piece you recorded on your first CD. What do you like about him?
Answer: I like everything he wrote, but Zigeunerweisen is my favourite piece. It shows off his genius, his way of blending virtuosity and lyricism with a popular tune. I enjoy it enormously. I played it a few years ago then left it for a while. Now I’ve started playing it again.
P. And what is it you like about Saint-Saëns’ Rondo?
Answer: I was enthralled by it the first time I heard it. It’s a technically difficult piece, but it’s easy to listen to. It’s perfect to put you in the mood to dance while listening to classical music.