Saturday, 23 April 2011

St.George Day - Easter

Easter is an inspiring time… Quite a few months I haven’t written anything here in the blog – due to many reasons. First of all it’s been incredibly intensive season with a lot of traveling and new pieces of music to study. And it’s been a worried mood in RLPO about coming cuts and future plans, so, decided to not overheat the situation even more.
Well, now we know much more about the budget in coming years and we know how demanding it will be. Of course, keeping our ambitions on the same level (and you know that ambitions are to be a Number One Orchestra) with constant decrease of financial support is extremely difficult and challenging. We do appreciate all hard work and effort by the local and state government and we know how tough it is, but in the same time a bit disappointed that so far all the cuts are similar in per cents for everybody. In my point of view it might be more encouraging for all cultural institutions to have different changes of funds according to their role in community, representation of Liverpool within the UK and worldwide. Otherwise there is not enough encouragement to progress and improve. At the difficult time priorities must be given for a further improvement of key organizations, those flagships will bring other fleet to the right place later on, when economy will recover.
Meanwhile, RLPO had a very successful season – quite a few recording awards, great reviews (on recent tour to Europe most of German and French newspapers acknowledged that Liverpool is not only about Beatles and football, but equally important Orchestra is there). And most important, we have a rise of ticket sales again! Instead of concerns about spending abilities in a current year, which I haven’t share due to huge believe in our audience and supporters. Now we are looking forward towards next season – presentation is soon!
My guest conducting was also very satisfying, a lot of great concerts around Europe, Asia and America; now looking forward to the summer and my first visit to New Zealand in August. I've heard it’s an amazing country! As you probably know, Oslo Philharmonic has appointed me as a Chief Conductor from 2013-2014, so, I’ll have two main bases by then (1 hour flight!) and less time for guest weeks. Hope that life will be more settled when it’ll start… By the way, at the moment traveling by train from Newcastle to London, where is a concert with National Youth Orchestra (amazing!) tomorrow. Such a beautiful day outside of the window!

P.S. I know that most of you probably would like to know, will I stay in Liverpool beyond 2015 or not – as I’ve said many times, it’ll depends on many factors, two of them are the key: keep our ambitions shared not only within Philharmonic but in all public areas and city councils; investing money into further improvement of facilities to attract more listeners and tourist all around the world to enjoy Liverpool. For me way “to preserve” is a way down, the only option is “to improve and expand”.

34 comments:

jill said...

Hi Vasily, its great to hear from you again. As you say, a busy and rewarding season and looking forward to hearing about next season. Funding is going to remain difficult for a while, it's so subjective, everyone will think they have a better case than everyone else, but certainly your work at the Phil should be acknowledged and rewarded, it is a completely different orchestra from when you first arrived - I am sure the players feel the same too. I think it is to Liverpool city's credit that they still give to the Phil, although a reduced amount, Liverpool is by far the poorest of all the authorities in Merseyside and the others, especially Sefton and Wirral, should do a lot more. There is no doubt we all want you to stay after 2015 and I think things might have improved by then, but contracts such as yours are usually signed years in advance, so where we will be in just a year or two is anybody's guess. I understand that the Phil was "next on the list" for Liverpool Council when the financial hammer blow struck. It is clear to all supporters that you deserve all you want for the Phil, we know how lucky we are to have you here and you can be assured that we will do all we can to persuade you to stay longer - with money, with publicity, with pleading and prayers!

For now let's enjoy the rest of this season and look forward with great pleasure to the next. I am sure you would be delighted if a few more people responded to the blog too.
Jill

jill said...

I forgot to mention New Zealand. I hope that, after travelling all that distance, you have enough time to look around, especially in South Island, even if you are not conducting there. That, I believe, is where the more spectacular scenery is. New Zealand is almost opposite to the UK on the world globe, so the climate and way of life are similar - you will be able to confirm this when you return (or not, as the case may be!)

Macmillan's St John's Passion at the Phil last week was absolutely stunning, the choir were quite unbelievably wonderful and the whole piece was amazing.

jill

Titus said...

I sincerely wish you well with the RLPO's future in these awkward times, Vasily. The National Youth Orchestra – what an orchestra! This afternoon I was in the RFH audience for the Mahler 10 and was deeply moved by the intensity and penetration shown by those young players in this technically difficult and emotionally complex work. Many congratulations to all! Tim

Robin said...

Hi Vasily

As Jill says, it’s great to hear from you on the blog again and I do hope people start contributing again like they did in the past. Facebook chat is OK, but this ssems so much more personal somehow! Can’t see what you’re doing at the moment, so perhaps you are having a deserved rest, though that doesn’t seem like you…

Waiting for the cuts has been worrying and, though they are not as bad as they could have been, the size of them is a huge challenge for building on success and taking things forward. I agree entirely that budgets and cuts should be tackled differentially and that the same percentage funding changes should not be applied to all organisations. I have made this point strongly to many people in the City Council, where I believe they are dodging their responsibilities in treating as many organisations as possible equally rather than on relative merit. All this will mean eventually is a diminution of the excellence that only a few arts organisations are displaying, and I’m going to continue stressing that if they want a major orchestra they won’t keep it with continued cuts. I’ve also pointed out to the City Council that they diminish their culture budget by the large number of free events they stage, when they could easily have modest charges. Unfortunately, I think we have to discount the other local councils, whose miserly contributions are unlikely to change. At the national level, though, we also still need to keep making representations to ACE, which has also implemented (more or less) equal cuts for all orchestras – and we need an explanation of why some orchestras get considerably more than others. The RLPO is at the lower end of ACE funding for orchestras.

On the positive side, it’s wonderful to have continued to experience wonderful concerts at the Phil and to ‘share’ in the artistic success, and I’m also looking forward to this coming Friday’s presentation of the new season. It’s also great to see your success with other major orchestras around the world and with the NYO, which is certainly an amazing orchestra. Saw some really good reviews of recent NYO concerts and glad to see that Titus enjoyed the performance at the RFH so much. If it can be managed financially, it would be wonderful to see you bring the Oslo Phil to Liverpool, and I’m sure we all wish you success in restoring it to the reputation it had under Janssons!

I haven’t met any concert-goer that does not want you stay in Liverpool beyond 2015! I really hope that we will find a way to encourage you to stay and ‘to improve and expand’ and fully appreciate that you consider this the only way forward. Giving you the right conditions is going to need considerable money and imagination, especially in developing venues and facilities. Things look rather bleak now, but let’s be optimistic, look to the future positively and try to think of ways to maintain the massive progress of the past five years!

peteleay said...

Good to hear from you again, Vasily. It's a great idea that you take the time to Blog your ideas, thoughts etc.
I 'd like to endorse the comments of the previous bloggers, they seem to have said everything I was going to say. An equal % cut seems a little unfair, especially as the RLPO is a major orchestra providing entertainment, education & outreach work. And all the great reviews and awards you've received are testimony to that. I'm relatively new to classical music but gain so much enjoyment from the concerts & no longer travel to Manchester to hear the Halle! No need - why settle for second best!
I hope your leadership takes the Orchestra to greater heights next season [looking forward to the presentation this Friday] - just as I'm hoping that Liverpool FC [our other great team!]under King Kenny will do the same!
Thanks for everything you're doing.

Robin said...

Hoping like Pete that Liverpool FC also has a fine end to its current season - and that next season it can equal the Phil's success! Jill will disagree....

jill said...

I got my brochure this morning, so it was posted on Fri or Sat. re Liverpool FC I hope that Kenny gets (and wants) the job permanently, he seems to have found some of the team spirit that is so evident at Everton. I always thought before that Liverpool was a team of 2 plus a lot of other egos, but Kenny is changing that and hopefully will continue. And did I read somewhere that Liverpool FC is after one of our players??? Does anyone remember the 1966 charity shield between E and L when the world cup was on display? I was there!
Back to the brochure, kettle is on for morning coffee when I can go through it at leisure and with pleasure.
jill
PS great result on Saturday!

jill said...

Hi Vasily
How do you feel about a campaign to nominate you to carry the Olympic torch along Hope Street on 1 June next year? Will you be in Liverpool? You are an Honorary Scouser and we can get you a Scouse Passport, which ought to satisfy the authorities. I am sure you would be a very popular choice and it would be great publicity for the Phil. How about it?
jill

Robin said...

All in favour of Jill's suggestion Vasily!! Will you go for it if you're going to be around??

Looking forward to the concert tomorrow night.

peteleay said...

And I second Jill & Robin's suggestions. A great idea. (Looking forward to tomorrow's Heroes concert.)

elizabeth.cochrane said...

Hi Vasily, this is my first time here but I'd like to agree with the others about you being an Olympic torch bearer.Firstly you deserve the honour & secondly it would help bring the Phil to a wider audience.
Next season looks amazing. I have already booked a lot more concerts than previously so I hope it helps fill the coffers a bit.
I amsure that anyone who has anything at all to do with the Phil will do EVERYTHING they can to make it possible for you to stay beyond 2015. Keep up the brilliant work & we'll be right there with you.

jill said...

welcome to the blog Elizabeth. You can nominate Vasily to carry the torch if you want to, on the main Olympic website or there is a link on the Phil's facebook page (some way down by now).

I am sure the Phil management will handle it very politely, but there is no reason why we fans can't pile the pressure on Vasily to stay! I think he said in the press release about Oslo, that it would be a more settled routine with just two main orchestras. We mustn't give up hope.

jill

jill said...

Hi Vasily, just wanted to thank you after a wonderful season at the Phil and your White Nights concert. It was great seeing young Sasha chasing around the platform in the interval recently, he looks more and more like you with his shorter hair and long legs - he has grown suddenly, or so it appears. Hope you have a wonderful summer in America, New Zealand, Oslo probably, elsewhere and hopefully some time in St Petersberg - and I am looking forward to seeing you again in September. Thanks for everything.

elizabeth.cochrane said...

Hi Vasily, I'm sure I'm not alone thinking it's a long wait until September when we see you & the orchestra again.
I hope you get time for a holiday in between all your engagements.
I'm sure next season will be wonderful. We're all eagerly waiting. Enjoy your summer.

Robin said...

Hi Vasily

Just to echo my thanks for all the great concerts you've given us during the past year and to look forward to your return for the next season. I don't think I've missed a season opening for decades, but will be away until Mahler 8 which should be a stunning occasion! I have tickets for the other opening concerts and will make sure that the seats are filled.

Jill mentioned your travelling during the summer and I was especially interested to see that you will be directing the chorus in Edinburgh for Die Frau Ohne Schatten when Gergiev is directing. This seems an unusual activity for you these days and it will be good to hear your view of the experience at some time.

But for now, all the best for successful concerts around the world - and, like everyone else, hope you get a bit of a holiday too.

Robin

Robin said...

Nice review of your Tchaikovsky concert in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Vasily. Sounds as if it was fun, so hope you enjoyed it as the audience seems to have done! The reviewer may want you as a 'regular presence' and I'm sure they'd appreciate you in Philly, but we'd rather keep you here!

jill said...

Happy Birthday, Vasily. Away from home again! Hope you manage to celebrate in style in US. Have a great day - as they say!

Robin said...

Очень с днем рождения деиствительно, и понадейтесь что Onegin идет наилучшим образом!

JoyceandCarole said...

Happy, happy birthday, Vasily and many congratulations on your succesful US tour. Sorry you must have had to miss our usual dedication to you today on Classic FM.

Joyce and Carole

Robin said...

Glad to see Onegin in Cincinnati favourably reviewed. Hope it was fun as well as hard work Vasily!

jill said...

Hi Vasily, agree with Robin about reviews, also read on a blog about your standing (or singing) in for the mezzo who was sick - very impressive. Hope you are still in America travelling slowly to California. Don't hurry back to UK as the weather is awful, more like November - certainly very wet and windy, just slightly warmer. Enjoy the rest of "summer".

Robin said...

Good reviews in LA Vasily! Hope you're getting a month off now.

jill said...

Hi Vasily, congratulations on great performance in LA Hollywood Bowl, an audience of 7500 - how was that? California is the place to enjoy a heatwave as it is so dry, good thing you were not in New York! Is your trip to New Zealand still going ahead? There has been no mention of it on the websites we would normally check. Like Robin, I hope you get plenty of time off before September, at Edinburgh and then Liverpool. Not long now.
jill

Robin said...

Congratulations on your reception in new Zealand Vasily! Are you having a break at all this year??

Robin said...

Great news, Vasily, that Jill's nomination for you to carry the Olympic torch in Liverpool has gone through to the next stage! I'm sure we'll all be keeping our fingers crossed for this.

jill said...

Hi Vasily, I don't know where you are at the moment, but please check e.mail @Phil for more information about the olympic torch, they will be contacting you direct.
Hope you are relaxing in St P.
jill

jill said...

Hi Vasily, wonderful review of your concert in San Francisco with their orchestra and Joshua Bell. 'Star of the show" - that's how we see you at Liverpool! Would love to see Joshua Bell in Liverpool if you could arrange it! I also wanted to thank you for last Saturday at Liverpool Cathedral. I had a good seat near the front and thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening, it was so moving and wonderful. There has been a lot of moaning about the acoustic which I think is unfair when everyone knows in advance that it is going to have an impact, but it didn't affect my enjoyment at all. Thank you all for a wonderful evening. Hope all is on track for the olympic torch, sorry I caused a bit of fuss recently. Hope to hear from you soon, although there have been a few interviews in the press recently to keep us all up to date.
jill

SLSO said...

Thank you for a fantastic week. It has been inspiring to see how your conducting has evolved since you were last here and I hope it is not long before your return engagement. Best of luck in the future!

Robin said...

Nice to see the comment from SLSO, Vasily, and to read the excellent earlier reviews of your concert week in San Francisco. Great that you are appreciated so much all over the world, but we'll be very pleased to see you back conducting in Liverpool at the end of next week.

jill said...

Hi, I just read the preview of your concerts in Baltimore and wanted to thank you for your comments about Liverpool and your orchestra here - the sentiments are mutual! I am glad I have my ticket for Mahler 9 with a waiting list of 400. Also looking forward to Saturday and Beethoven.
jill

jill said...

...the review is pretty good too!

jill said...

I just read another review of your concerts in San Francisco with Joshua Bell, it was really stunning and packed with fabulous comments about you. How do you feel about reviews like that, I imagine it's great, but maybe a little embarrassing too to be judged a "genius". If it was me I would be thrilled to bits, but what is it like in reality to have such personal praise heaped on you. There was a lot of comment on your movement, which I have mentioned before, you really do conduct with your whole body and one wonders how other conductors get away with doing so little. Did your education prepare you for this - how to cope with being a star?

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