Yuri Bashmet, People’s Artist of the USSR, Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra, spoke about how he survived the coronavirus and the upcoming Second Winter International Festival of Arts in Moscow.
Olga Shablinskaya, « AiF.Zdorovye »: Yuri Abramovich, I remember how everyone was going to your festival in Yaroslavl, and suddenly the sad news: Bashmet fell ill with coronavirus. What emotions did you experience then – fear for your health or disappointment that you would not go to this huge event, which you have been leading for many years?
Yuri Bashmet: Rather the latter. But, of course, I was worried: this is a disease that many people are very hard to pass, while others do not go away at all. At the opening of the festival, I was in the hospital and thought: « When will I get up and come to Yaroslavl? » And as soon as I received a negative test and a drop of strength appeared, I sat down and went, got to the festival on the last day. I am glad that I still hooked at least one evening – the closing evening.
– How did you feel during your illness? Someone talks about the loss of scent, someone about weakness, someone about a cough.
– I am a smoker, so I had a cough before COVID-19. The weakness was and the scent disappeared: I light a cigarette, and it felt like it was a hollow tube, and I was just breathing air. Therefore, I smoked less during my illness, it was not enjoyable. Now I smoke with taste again – I already understand that I am holding a cigarette.
– Of course, but it’s difficult. As in a joke – quitting smoking is very easy, I quit many times. Smoking for me is already a necessity, my body is used to it. If you throw, then you need to very, very carefully, gradually. Because this is also a great stress for the body – to suddenly quit.
– When we talk about diseases, the attitude of a person is important. My entire body strove to quickly get out of this covid state. I returned to work as soon as I realized that I was not dying. (Laughs.) Performances, the stage give me strength. But I still feel the consequences of the coronavirus, unfortunately – weakness happens sometimes. But I have been in the ranks for a long time, I am acting. Already gave a lot of concerts, many plans.
– Recently, in the capital’s Zaryadye Concert Hall, you celebrated the 30th anniversary of the founding of the New Russia Orchestra. What does this band mean to you?
– We have been together with New Russia for almost 20 years. When I became a team leader, it was a difficult time. And I did not plan to conduct, did not want to take responsibility to the musicians, although they asked me to become the chief conductor. And in the end I agreed and I’m very happy. Our musicians are ready for improvisation, the response during each concert is 100%. In addition, no orchestra in the world can boast that they have the first violin – the first prize winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition. But we can.
Besides, we always play premieres, which is normal for us. And we always provoke composers to create music for these premieres. After all, if a composer has no goal, if he does not know when his music will be performed, he may not start writing. It is necessary to provoke composers to perform their new compositions.
Maestro Yuri Bashmet: « We need talented mothers! »
– From January 18 to February 12, 2021 Moscow is already hosting the Second Winter International Arts Festival under the artistic direction of Yuri Bashmet. Are you worried?
– This year has taught us a lot, including changing plans at full speed, because the situation with concert halls is constantly changing. But we made a decision that the festival must take place. It will even start a little earlier than usual, a week before my birthday. But on January 24, my birthday, there will be a traditional concert. I always celebrate my birthday with a concert. If on this day I am not on stage, then as if there was no holiday.
It is a great pleasure to speak of the festival as a second one, which means that it lives and develops. The festival will open on January 18 and immediately with the premiere. The Zaryadye Concert Hall will host the Yesenin and Mayakovsky musical and literary performance dedicated to two geniuses of poetry, ardent antagonists. Mikhail Porechenkov will act as a reader.
– Absolutely. Music, like any art, should make a person better. I am 100% sure of this.
– Then, if wonderful music has existed for many centuries, then why is the Earth still full of bad people?
– Maybe not everyone interacts quite often with examples of real art. It is necessary that people go to concerts, exhibitions, theaters more often. Then the person becomes more versatile, emotionally more receptive. More compassionate, you might say. Therefore, the question is not how much brilliant music has been written, but how many people are familiar with it today. It is necessary that people are not afraid to get bored at a concert of classical music, but first have an interest in it, and then a constant need. This is what I try to do all my life.
Yuri Bashmet: I received a scholarship of 27 rubles and my grandfather sent me 50 rubles
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