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Interview with Adrian Jones
Having held the post of Orchestra Director since 1st January, Adrian Jones has already made himself at home in his office on Charlottenstraße. Hailing from Britain, Jones has long been active in the Berlin art scene, first as a cello player, then in management and now in a key position at the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. And he’s not the only newbie at the RSB; newly appointed Principal Conductor for the coming season is Vladimir Jurowski, who is already busy in his role as designated Artistic Director. Correct, Mr Jones?

Exactly right! Vladimir Jurowski is conducting three concert programmes this season, the next one on 24th and 25th March. Before that he guested at the RSB three or four times. The chemistry was there from the word ‘go’ and that’s not something you can take for granted. You can really hear it, for instance, in the “Thus spake Zarathustra” recording being released in the autumn or on our recording of Schnittke’s Symphony No.3. You realise at once that he can open people’s eyes and ears to the complexity of the music, making it graspable not just to the audience but also to the musicians during rehearsals.

That’s a hugely important skill when we’re dealing with works like that, which still tend to perplex people. Are the two of you hoping to focus on them more in the future?

Oh yes! Vladimir Jurowski is prepared to fully familiarise audiences with the works of the repertoire. He takes the stage and speaks very eloquently about the most complex of works. He has a delightful way with his audience, and it’s wonderful to experience. Which is why, together, we come up with concert formats that enable him to have direct contact with the audience. But I don’t want to give too much away.

Obviously not. But am I not right in saying that in March we’ll already be getting a taste of Vladimir Jurowski’s ability to make contemporary pieces comprehensible within the context of classical repertoire?

The March concert is a good example of his approach; it’s actually a perfect window on how he thinks. The modern element in the programme is Arvo Pärt’s 4th Symphony, subtitled “Los Angeles”. It was commissioned by Esa Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, received its world premiere there in 2009 and is dedicated to the Russian oligarch and dissident, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Without actually wanting to be political, Vladimir Jurowski has a way of seizing on certain subjects. He likes it when the programme has a combination of works that force people to think.

The work is rooted in Mozart: first there’s the Moorish funeral music and then the requiem.

Yes, and it’s precisely that kind of combination that’s exciting for the audience, too. There’s something that they already know and then there’s something else that’s not only new but also being presented perfectly. One of our jobs as a radio orchestra is to play rare material and commissioned works - and in Vladimir Jurowski we’ve found the ideal partner. The RSB will be doing a lot more work of this kind with him, and it’s something we all look forward to!

Interview: Renske Steen

(c) AndreasTobias