SPECIAL FEATURE – Interview with Cellist Andreas Brantelid

String Visions: So at your young age, you already have a really wonderful career that’s growing and expanding, playing in many different countries with many different orchestras. You perform a lot as a soloist and in recitals. Do you have a different mindset when you are a soloist than when you play a recital, with a pianist, or do you find this pretty much the same?

Andreas Brantelid: Of course there are a lot of things that are different. First of all, playing a cello concerto takes much less time than a whole recital, and sometimes I actually find that a little hard because if you play a recital, you will play for one-and-a-half hours. That’s a lot of music. So it’s difficult in a recital to keep your concentration when you play a lot of different repertoire. When playing a cello concerto, you know every note in the orchestra; you usually know everything about everything in the performance. And that is wonderful, but it can also be a little… I don’t know how to say it… you can feel a little limited because you know it so well and you only play for 20 minutes maybe. What I like about recitals is that you get much more freedom; there’s much more room for being intuitive.

String Visions: If you play with the greatest orchestras it is possible to play very soft, but overall when performing as a soloist it is nessesary to always be aware of projecting the sound out in the hall.

Andreas Brantelid: Yes, and I think it’s very interesting that some cello soloists that I’ve heard in big halls, they really know the art of playing in big halls. That’s a difficult art to know because if you play yourself you cannot hear how it sounds in the hall. So you can use other people helping you in the hall, or you can just use your imagination for how it might sound in the last row. I’ve thought a lot about that when I play as a soloist.

I remember I heard a wonderful, wonderful cellist perform the Elgar Cello Concerto here in Copenhagen with the Copenhagen Philharmonic, and I sat in the first row in the rehearsal. I listened to him and there was really… how should I describe it… so much noise, and it seemed almost messy at times. And then, I moved quite a bit back in the hall and it just sounded fantastic. People have sometimes told me that I should think more about that when I play as a soloist.

String Visions: As a soloist it is important to develop the art of projecting out in a big room. It is not only volume that is important, but also all the various ways of articulating the beginning or end of a note or phrase.

I understand that you’re also very involved with chamber music and have also collaborated with a number of fascinating musicians. What are some of your rewarding experiences concerning chamber music, or what ideas do you have about chamber music and how it is evolving in today’s world?

Andreas Brantelid: Well, I love to play chamber music in festivals, and maybe that’s because I’ve never really had a group. How do you say…?

String Visions: A steady group – a permanent group?

Andreas Brantelid: Yes I’ve only played chamber music in festivals, so that’s the only relation I have to it. I do think it’s wonderful. The experiences I have had have been great. What I think about the most is the Kuhmo Festival in Finland, for example, in which I think I played 10 concerts in 8 days or something, and we would have rehearsals all the time. It’s a little crazy but wonderful at the same time.

String Visions: You have also been involved with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Program. I remember listening to a concert with Baroque Music that I heard while driving in my car in Chicago. It was a great concert. How long have you been involved with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Program?

Andreas Brantelid: A few years now. I have one year left of my contract. They have a wonderful thing at the Chamber Music Society in Lincoln Center that is called Chamber Music Society II, and the concept of that is they invite young people from all over the world – Europe, Asia, everywhere, and anywhere – and then they mix the seniors with the juniors, which I think is a wonderful thing. The young players are there for three years at a time.

String Visions: That is fantastic!

One Response to SPECIAL FEATURE – Interview with Cellist Andreas Brantelid

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