Early and Baroque Music

The energy of motion and direction, consonance-dissonance relations and the lost art of extemporizations

There have been many controversies on what is right and wrong while interpreting early and baroque music. Naturally, the starting point for everyone who cares to deliver an intelligent reading on these works should begin with studying the extensive literature of its time.

There are a few factors, which I emphasize on when conducting baroque music. The consonance-dissonance relationships in the score, the extemporizations, without which I believe this music sounds static and unnatural, as well as the energy of motion in direction (the so-called Bewegungsenergie), something, which gives the music the needed transparency and phrasing. The quality of sound and the pressure of the bow are also of much importance in order to avoid presenting musical aesthetics, which correspond to different periods.

Albinoni, Tomaso

  • Oboe concerto

Bach, Johann Sebastian

  • Brandenburg concertos Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • Concerto for two violins BWV 1043
  • Motet “Jesu Meine Freude” BWV 227
  • Orchestral suite No. 1 BWV 1066
  • Piano concerto No. 1 BWV 1052
  • “St. Matthew Passion” BWV 244

Händel, Georg Friedrich

  • “Dixit Dominus”
  • “Messiah”
  • “Semele”

Monteverdi, Claudio

  • “Vespers of the blessed virgin”
  • Selected madrigals from books No. 3 and No. 8

Classical Period

Elegance and transparency, the symbolic meaning of key signatures and the start of a revolution

Music from the classical period is probably some of the most challenging for players and conductors alike. There is not a place to hide behind big orchestral effects, therefore mastering rhythm, articulation, intonation and knowing the meaning of key signatures is of the utmost importance. In regards to interpreting Beethoven, I believe that often conductors mistake the fundamental idea of having the man as the protagonist in a composition with their own ego, yet differing Haydn from Beethoven in terms of musical style is for me crucially important.

Beethoven, Ludwig Van

  • Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Overtures: “Coriolan”, “Egmont”,” “Leonore” 2 and 3
  • “Fidelio”
  • “Missa Solemnis”
  • Piano concertos Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Violin concerto

Haydn, Joseph

  • Symphonies No. 84-104
  • “The Creation”
  • Cello concertos in C-major and D-major

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus

  • Symphonies No. 18 (KV130), No. 25 (KV183), No. 29 (KV201), No. 31 “Paris”, No. 34 (KV338), No. 35 “Haffner” (KV385), No. 36 “Linz” (KV425), No. 37 (KV444), No. 38 “Prague” (KV504), No. 39 (KV543), No. 40 (KV550), No. 41 “Jupiter”(KV551)
  • Serenade for woodwinds “Gran partita” (KV361)
  • “Le nozze di Figaro”
  • “Don Giovanni”
  • “Cosí fan tutte”
  • “The magic flute”
  • Mass in C-major “Coronation” (KV317)
  • Mass in C-minor “Great” (KV427)
  • “Davide penitente” (KV469)
  • Piano concertos: No. 18 (KV456), No. 20 (KV466), No. 23 (KV488), No. 26 (KV537), No. 27 (KV595)
  • Violin concertos: No. 4 (KV218), No. 5 (KV219)
  • Oboe concerto (KV314)
  • Clarinet concerto (KV622)

The Early Romantics

Nature and philosophy, the man as a center point and the meaning of a musical form.

The early Romantics are still some of the most underrated composers today. Recently, I had long and passionate discussion with a worldwide respected classical musician, after I was told that certain composers from this era are "not worth receiving such significant historical presence", something with which I could not disagree more! I find the early Romantics to be some of the most fascinating in the whole music history, as they build bridges between the aesthetics of two important musical and historical periods. One should be very much aware of the influence of philosophy and nature in all art forms from this period while studying these scores. The specific phrasing, for example not too "classical" or, the opposite, soaked with late romantic pathos, is also a very challenging task.

Berlioz, Héctor

  • “Symphonie fantastique”

Mendelssohn, Felix

  • Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, 4
  • “A midsummer night’s dream”
  • ”The Hebrides” overture
  • Double concerto for violin and piano
  • Violin concerto
  • “Paulus”

Offenbach, Jaques

  • “Orpheus in the underworld”
  • “Tales of Hoffman”

Paganini, Niccolo

  • Violin concertos No. 1 and No. 2

Schubert, Franz

  • Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8

Schumann, Robert

  • Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4
  • “Scenes from Goethe’s Faust”

Strauss, Johann

  • “The bat”

Weber, Carl-mariavon

  • Overtures: “Oberon”
  • Clarinet concertos No. 1 and No. 2
  • “Der Freischütz”

The late romantics

Fate, destiny and the mystery of the creation. Shaping the chromatically build up composition.

There are many things to take under consideration when one faces the late Romantics. How one handles the musical form can distinguish an ordinary from an extraordinary conductor. Here fantasy, having ideas, imagination and vision are only a few of the things worth mentioning. For me, finding the thin balance between fluidity in phrasing, balance, the capability to build up a dramatically exciting work, as well as to achieve feeling of a unity from the beginning to end is of extreme importance. How to treat rubato in the chromatically build composition, as well as the emphasis on the gigantic range of dynamics often this music has to offer, should be taken under serious consideration.

Bizet, Georges

  • “L´Arlesiénne” Suites No. 1 and No. 2
  • “Carmen”

Brahms, Johannes

  • Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4
  • “Haydn variations”
  • “A German requiem”
  • Double concerto
  • Piano concertos No. 1 and No. 2
  • Violin concerto

Bruckner, Anton

  • Symphonies Nos. 0, 4, 7, 8

Dvorak, Antonin

  • Symphonies No. 7 and No. 8
  • “Serenade” for wind instruments
  • “Slavonic dances” op. 72
  • Cello concerto
  • “Dimitrij”

Elgar, Edward

  • “Enigma variations”
  • Cello concerto

Frank, César

  • Symphony in D-minor
  • “Symphonic variations” for piano and orchestra

Chopin, Frédéric

  • Piano concertos No. 1 and No. 2

Grieg, Edward

  • “Peer Gynt” suite

Liszt, Franz

  • “Les Préludes”
  • Piano concerto No. 2

Mahler, Gustav

  • Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8


  • “Sheherezade”
  • “Capriccio espagnol”

Grieg, Edward

  • Piano concerto

Saint-saens, Camille

  • Symphony No. 3 “Organ symphony”

Sibelius, Jean

  • Violin concerto

Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilich

  • Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • “Romeo and Julia” fantasy overture
  • “Souvenir de Florence”
  • Piano concerto No. 1 and No. 2
  • Violin concerto
  • “Variations on a rococo theme”
  • “Eugene Onegin”

Verdi, Guiseppe

  • “Aida”
  • “Don Carlos”
  • “La Traviata”
  • “Messa da requiem”
  • “Quattro pezzi sacri”

Wagner, Richard

  • Overtures: “Tannhäuser”, ”Der fliegende Holländer”
  • “Prelude und Isoldes Liebestod”
  • ”Siegfried Idyll”
  • “Parsifal”

The Modernists

The flexibility of orchestral color, a new musical language and the freedom of expression.

The broad spectrum of musical styles, which characterizes this period, is a source of endless inspiration. A major role is played by the particularities of each school of composition, with which a conductor should be familiar. For example, the Impressionists: the richness of orchestral color, elegance and atmospheric presence, poetry and fluidity in phrasing. The Expressionists: the musically metaphorical means of expression as well as bringing harmony to its limits. Symbolists: metaphysics in music and the meaning of the serial form in a work.

Debussy, Claude

  • “La mer“
  • “Prélude à l’aprés midi d’un faune”
  • “Nocturnes”

Faure, Gabriel

  • “Pelléas et Mélisande” suite
  • Requiem

Hindemith, Paul

  • “Sancta Susanna”
  • “Symphonic metamorphosis”

Orff, Carl

  • “Carmina Burana”

Puccini, Giaccomo

  • “La Bohème”

Rachmaninov, Sergei

  • “Symphonic dances”
  • Piano concertos No. 2 and No. 3
  • “Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini”

Ravel, Maurice

  • “Daphnis et Chloe“
  • “La Valse“
  • Piano concerto in G-major

Respighi, Ottorino

  • “Fontane di Roma”
  • “Pini di Roma”

Scriabin, Alexander

  • “Prométhée”
  • “Le Poéme de l'Éxtase”
  • Piano concerto

Strauss, Richard

  • “Rosenkavalier” suite
  • Salome
  • “Don Juan”
  • “Ein Heldenleben”
  • “Tod und Verklärung”
  • “Till Eulenspiegel”

Late Modernists and Atonality

Farewell to tonality, an exploration of a new musical language

Never before in music history has one had as many different and contradicting musical styles of writing. Such opposite directions of expression for me as an interpreter, have always acquired a special attention in my work. For example: presenting the 12-tone style of composition without losing the tradition of expressionism from which it arrives. On the other hand, while conducting Russian and Soviet composers: applying historically political references to the music it represents, the big form and broad phrasing which it requires. Searching for a particular sound that corresponds to it all. The appearance of minimalism in Stravinsky’s music, and the ways to handle it, as well as mastering the technical challenges which it presents to us.

Barber, Samuel

  • “Adagio” for strings

Bartók, Bela

  • “Concerto for orchestra”
  • “Music for strings, percussion and celesta”
  • Violin Concerto No. 2

Berg, Alban

  • Three pieces for orchestra
  • “Wozzeck”
  • Violin concerto
  • “Lulu” suite

Britten, Benjamin

  • “Peter Grimes”
  • “The turn of the screw”
  • War Requiem

Davis, Peter Maxwell

  • “The two fiddlers”

Honegger, Arthur

  • “Le roi David"

Nielsen, Carl

  • Clarinet concerto

Prokofiev, Sergei

  • Symphonies No. 1 and No. 5
  • “Romeo and Julia” suite

Shostakovich, Dmitri

  • Symphonies Nos. 5, 7, 9, 10, 11
  • Piano concertos No. 1 and No. 2
  • Violin concerto No. 1
  • Cello concerto No. 1

Schönberg, Arnold

  • “Verklärte Nacht”
  • “Gurrelieder”

Stravinsky, Igor

  • “Firebird”
  • “Petrushka”
  • “The rite of spring”
  • “Dumbarton oaks”
  • “L’ histoire du soldat“
  • Violin concerto

Contemporary Composers

The beauty of the discovery of an identity

Today a conductor can no longer ignore the role of electronic music in our surroundings, the idea of sound, and the necessity to avoid skepticism as an interpreter if one’s “comfort zone” has been inevitably challenged. There are so many trilling works of music written in the last few years, which push our "classical" understandings to their limits. The whole idea of a phrase, form, means of expression and sound in general has been completely revolutionized. I feel extremely thankful to all my composition teachers who have opened the doors of this worlds to me, making this music understandable, especially the works of micro-tonal, minimalists as well as spectral composers, with whom I strongly associate. In my opinion, when one takes a score of a contemporary composition, one should leave all preconceptions behind and enjoy the freedom from historically accurate restrictions, letting oneself free as a musician to discover a new identity.

Barber, Samuel

  • "Adagio" for strings

Berio, Luciano

  • “Sinfonia”
  • “Points on the curve to find”

Corigliano, John

  • Symphony No. 1

Cassol, Fabrizio

  • "Concerto grosso" for cello, turntable and orchestra

Glass, Philip

  • Violin concerto
  • Symphony No. 3

Grisey, Gérard

  • "Les Espaces Acoustiques"

Ilieff, Viktor

  • "Many spoken words" for speaker and chamber orchestra

Furrer, Beat

  • “Begehren”
  • “Nuun”
  • “Still”

Haas, Georg Friedrich

  • “In vain”

Ligeti, György

  • “Atmospheres”
  • “Lux Aeterna”
  • ”Nouvelles aventures”
  • Requiem
  • Violin concerto
  • Cello concerto

Reich, Steve

  • “Music for 18 musicians”
  • “Music for large ensemble”

Varése, Edgard

  • "Octandre"