I learned that you moved at a young age from Colombia to Austria, after you had studied music at a very good school in your home country. Why did you have to emigrate or flee from your home, and why did you choose Austria?
I’ve lived in Vienna since 1997, quite a long time. Even more, than my years in Colombia. There were several reasons for my decision to leave my country, and this would take too long… Anyway, I like Vienna very much, not only because it is a beautiful city, but also because it is very well-organized and, first of all, because it is a wonderful place for classical music, which makes me really happy. And I also met my wife here, so my family is here with me and Vienna is a rather good choice for where to raise a family. So I am sure this will be definitely my base for a long time. The cultural differences between Vienna and Colombia are of course very big, though sometime I miss Colombia. Fortunately, music can connect people from the most different parts of the world, which helps me a lot personall
What did you know about conducting when you were 15 years old? As I discovered, you started to study conducting when you were that young!
Yes, I started conducting at 15, after I’d been playing violin in an orchestra. I enjoyed playing the instrument and this helped me to get closer and closer to understanding music from the inside. Once, our conductor - after seeing me sometimes giving advice to my colleagues in the orchestra - asked me whether I wanted to try conducting. This was a great pleasure for me, because I already felt that standing in front of the musicians and giving them the gestures for how to play is the most beautiful thing in the world. So I started to conduct without previously studying it. I tried to learn from the world-famous conductor who gave me the baton, but that of course was not enough; I had to gain a lot of new knowledge in that field.
I know you’ve been to Budapest before, but did you ever meet the BFO earlier?
I’ve been to Budapest a couple of times, conducting different orchestras, but this time will be my first meeting with the BFO. I am so much looking forward to coming face to face with them and makingmusic with them. I know many recordings from the Festival Orchestra and of course I know Mr. Fischer and his attitude to music. And I’ve listened so often to their concerts on CD, where I felt the special ability of maestro Fischer and his musicians to get to this very high level of performance, so I really can’t wait…
How do you feel about the composers whose music you are going to conduct (Weber, Grieg, and Tchaikovsky)? How do you prepare for the concert?
This is going to be a very beautiful program; romantic and virtuoso. I am happy to have the beautiful piano concerto in the middle. And I think it is a really good idea to start with an overture, which is very German. Carl Maria von Weber’s opera is lyrical but virtuoso at the same time; I like this piece very much. Grieg’s concerto is an especially beautiful piece of music, and I am so happy to play with the fantastic Spanish soloist, Javier Perianes. We’ve worked together many times. He gets a very poetic sound from his instrument. And I am excited about preparing for Tchaikovsky’s 5th symphony, which is a real masterpiece; full of emotions, but at the same time colorful. It’s one of those pieces that you always enjoy. It connects you so closely with the feeling of what music can offer. I am already intensively preparing for the concert and of course I am very excited about how it will work out, what I’m thinking about the pieces of music we’re going to play in Budapest, how much we’ll be able to explore their different colors, and how the interpretation will offer something special, as a creation for everyone; the musicians and the audience.