Narek Hakhnazaryan will play Joseph Haydn's Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in Prague
On September 14, renowned Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan will play Joseph Haydn's Concerto for Cello and Orchestra alongside the Dvořák Prague Youth Philharmonic at the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival, with conductor Tomáš Netopil.
The concert programme will also include Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Violin, as well as Lukáš Sommer's "Dvořák Airlines for String Orchestra" commissioned especially for this festival. On the eve of the concert, conductor Tomáš Netopil and cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan answered the questions of ORER magazine.
- You have performed with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra many times before. What are your expectations from the performance of Dvořák Prague Youth Philharmonic and work with Tomáš Netopil?
- Well, that is a pretty complex question. I’ve played with the Czech Philharmonic and I enjoyed it very much and it was back when maestro Jiří Bělohlávek was alive and he was leading the orchestra. We also had a tour in Japan, concerts in Japan where I played. It was a dream set-up, I played the Dvořak cello concerto in Japan, I played with the Czech Philharmonic and Jiří Bělohlávek, it was a fantastic experience. I also very much enjoyed performing in Rudolfinum several times. Beautiful, wonderful hall.
I am working with this Youth Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time. They are wonderful young musicians, have fantastic levels of preparation and professionalism and are very talented musicians. I enjoyed our rehearsal very much, especially playing Haydn. It’s not the easiest task for young musicians because it requires experience, it requires some stylistic knowledge. And they are doing a brilliant job. Obviously with big help of my good friend, fantastic maestro Tomáš Netopil, with whom I have played several times, although not yet in the Czech Republic. I admire him very much. I think he is a fantastic conductor and a fantastic musician. I am very excited to be performing aghain with, I would say, the future of the Czech musical school, with Czech young musicians.
- What place does Haydn occupy in your creative life? How often do you do his works?
- Haydn has a very special place in my musical career and in my heart because I played a Haydn concerto in my Tchaikovsky competition, in which I won in 2011. For me it’s probably an even more precious reward as in the second half of the second round all cellists were playing the same Haydn C major concerto and I was also playing that but with my own cadences that I composed by myself; I won the best Haydn concerto performers prize. And that for me is absolutely priceless considering that I am Armenian, and I was competing against European and American cellists. Winning that award means to me almost more than getting the golden medal of the Tchaikovsky competition because it was judged by my favorite cellists, professionals and they thought that my Haydn was convincing. That is the trickiest part in the music of this style – to be right stylistically but also to add something personal without crossing the line of the style. Since then this concerto became a very dear concerto for me. And I don’t actually play it that often but every time I do I enjoy it very much.
- What upcoming concerts are planned in Europe?
- Right after this I am flying to Pisa, Italy, to play another very challenging programme. I will play 3 suites from Johann Sebastian Bach, the 3rd, 2nd and 4th. I was originally supposed to play all six which is a very big responsibility and a hard task for a cellist. However, because of COVID-19 the number of concerts was reduced to one. Then I have a few concerts in Russia, which I am very excited about because in about 10 days I will do my conducting debut where I will conduct the Tchaikovsky Serenade for strings. Then I will be back in Europe in November, in Serbia and then in Germany.
-The composition Dvořák Airlines is very interesting, it is a combination of Dvořák's quotations with the special musical language of Lukáš Sommer. And for the purposes of a young orchestra, the composition is characteristic, because it is very lively, especially the second movement is rhythmically rich and uses the youthful energy that this orchestra has.
- You will perform Haydn's concerto with Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan. What are your expectations of Narek? Are you going to perform with him for the first time or have you already had joint performances?
- My expectations of Narek are high, because we know each other… We have performed several times with my orchestra in Germany, where he played Dvořák's cello, and it was a great joy with him and then I collaborated with him a few more times. I think that it was such a common idea - Jan Simon, the director of the festival, and I - so I'm really happy, I'm looking forward to it and I'm glad that he will come. I hope that it will be a beautiful experience in connection with the youth philharmonic.
H.Asatryan, ORER magazine