There have been many BSO performances and events over the last two years. Do you have any personal highlights?
After two such exciting seasons with so many incredible experiences, it’s hard to say what my highlight was. However, my first concert in Poole was something special: I received an incredibly warm welcome from everyone and the media attention was incredible —it was a wonderful start. Another highlight was of course our joint performance on Channel 4’s The Last Leg… that was a lot of fun. This summer I’m particularly looking forward to performing with the BSO at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in August.
Tell us about some of the communities you’ve met as part of your residency?
The great thing about my residency was that we not only played orchestral concerts, but also some chamber concerts. This gave me the opportunity to get to know the Orchestra much more personally which is something you don’t normally have the opportunity to do. Normally you travel to an orchestra, play a rehearsal, a concert and leave again. But working regularly with an orchestra, and then in such different constellations, is a very bonding experience.
The opportunity to meet people from across the region — through events in care homes, schools and with audiences and students — was very special. For me, the experience of making music is often about more than what happens on the concert stage.
What have been the most moving pieces of music (or concerts) you have performed with the BSO?
In September last year we had a small tour across the South West. HRH Queen Elizabeth II had died shortly beforehand and the whole country was in mourning, which of course had an effect on the concerts. We also changed our programme slightly, and these concerts were marked by a very special mood. I had the feeling that our music gave a little comfort at a difficult time.
We’re really looking forward to our BBC Proms performances with you, and in particular to the Relaxed Concert [3 Aug], which is designed to suit people who feel more comfortable attending concerts in a relaxed environment. Have you played a concert like this before?
I have never played a concert in such an atmosphere before, but I’m really looking forward to it. I am convinced that classical music has to free itself step-by-step from what prevents it from becoming contemporary… and that includes opening its doors wide to all people, not just for those who conform to conventions. When people clap between the movements at a concert, it is still perceived as something negative. When this happens at my concert, I am happy that there are people in the audience who have perhaps not been to many classical concerts before. That’s why I’m particularly looking forward to this concert.
Can you tell us about your instrument… he’s quite a character in his own right, isn’t he?
Oh yes, my horn is called Alex. On my social media channels, you can often see him in a variety of roles. Sometimes Alex is cooking something delicious, sometimes he’s looking for a suitable outfit for his next trip. He’s a funny little fellow.
Hear Felix in performance at the BBC Proms this summer. Felix Klieser joins Kirill and the Orchestra — at London’s Royal Albert Hall and live on BBC Radio 3 — on Wednesday 2 August and Thursday 3 August. Click here to read more.
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