This month, German violinist Florian Donderer makes his SCO directing debut with the SCO Strings on tour in Killin, Fortrose and Ullapool 21 - 23 June. We caught up with Florian to see what he is looking forward to most, and to discover what we can expect from his performance.
The SCO Strings tour sees you make your SCO directing debut – what aspect of performing with the Orchestra are you most looking forward to?
Music is a universal language, but of course every place has its own way of bringing music to life. The SCO is one of the world’s most renowned chamber orchestras and I'm looking forward to finding out more about this great ensemble.
The Orchestra’s summer tours often take place in smaller venues, such as village halls and community theatres. Are you excited about going on tour with the Orchestra? Does it lend a different element to the concert as opposed to performing in a large concert hall?
I love the Highlands! I'm looking forward to having a great time enjoying music together, being close to the audience - all in one of the world's most beautiful landscapes.
What is it about directing from the violin that you enjoy, compared to working as a leader? Does it give you more freedom as an artist?
As a leader my most important job is to read the musical ideas of the conductor and to help make these ideas happen. As a director I'm in charge and, of course, I enjoy the artistic freedom to pursue my own ideas.
I most enjoy the collaboration with the orchestra musicians. It's like making chamber music. I do conduct as well, and then of course I can shape every detail myself. But when directing as a leader, I am actually much less in control while performing. Every section leader has greater influence on the interpretation of the piece as I cannot control all aspects of the performance in detail while playing myself. This is what makes it so exciting and rewarding - there's always so much to learn from great colleagues.
What made you choose to perform Haydn’s Violin Concerto and what should the audience particularly listen out for in the concert?
I recently played Schubert’s Rondo for Violin and Strings and we spontaneously decided to play the slow movement of this Haydn concerto as an encore. Funnily enough I had never played any Haydn violin concertos before and fell in love with this piece. What strikes me most with this piece is Haydn's love and admiration for C.P.E. Bach, which shows especially in the first movement of the concerto. Haydn is constantly switching gears and the music is speaking to us in a very immediate and theatrical way.