Budapest Festival Orchestra
Press reviews Interviews January 23, 2013


A holland hegedűművészt, Liza Ferschtmant vulkánhoz hasonlítják a kritikusai: mélyről jövő energiák hatják át a játékát. A Budapesti Fesztiválzenekar vendégszólistájaként szerdán, pénteken és szombaton Leonard Bernstein több mint félórás Szerenádjával lép fel a Művészetek Palotájában, Magyarországon első alkalommal koncertezik.

The guest of the Festival Orchestra was originally to be the internationally renowned Dutch violinist Janine Jansen, but she was forced to cancel her appearance for medical reasons, promising to make up for her missed Budapest performance at a later date. So this is a win-win situation for Hungarian audiences: music critics hold the passionate playing of her fellow Dutch musician Liza Ferschtman in high regard. − Stepping in for Janine Jansen is extremely exciting, and I seized the opportunity − said Ferschtman to our magazine. − I first heard this beautiful piece by Leonard Bernstein many years ago, and I bought the score back then, but I haven't yet had the opportunity to play it on stage. I don't necessarily want to be and play everywhere, I performed too much when I was younger, but the Budapest concert is a very important opportunity for me. I've wanted to work with conductor Iván Fischer for a long time, the Festival Orchestra is a fantastic orchestra, and I'm really looking forward to the concerts.

The Dutch violinist was a child when she last visited Hungary, and has never played a concert here. Looking at her repertoire she is no stranger to Hungarian music either: together with her father Dmitri Ferschtman, cellist, they recorded Zoltán Kodály's 'Duo for violin & cello'. Her mother is also a musician, a pianist, but Liza Ferschtman maintains that she did not grow up in a "dictatorship" of classical music. − My parents are wonderful musicians, and did not make my childhood difficult. It's true I know no other way of life, for me it is natural that I grew up on classical music. The love of music always took precedence in our family over the love of the instrument: listening to music, playing chamber music and learning the whole interplay is just as important as practising on instruments. By the age of fifteen/sixteen I no longer had to be urged to practise; at the time, I admittedly would have preferred to be a singer, but my voice wasn't good enough. My husband is a singer though, so my childhood dream came true this way.

Liza Ferschtman's parents emigrated from Russia to the Netherlands, which is probably why critics mention the Russian school when analysing her playing, but she refutes this. − Classical music has gone global too: the Russian, French or American school that indicate technique, finger position or playing style no longer play as defining a role in music life, much in the same way as musicians do not tend to specialise on a given musical era anymore.

She has nothing against pop music either, but it's not just because of her profession that she considers classical music more important. − There are some great pop songs with nice melodies and good lyrics, but these just express simple feelings, and most of them, to me, convey thoughts and feelings that are overly superficial. It's worthwhile learning to listen to classical music because it can touch the deeper layers of your soul: it can reach deeper feelings, stimulate more serious thoughts − says Liza Ferschtman. − That said, musicians don't just have to play music, they have to be able to relate something with it. This is because music often resembles stories, which are sometimes very clear and understandable, but cannot be expressed in words: thoughts are often limited by words. Classical music sometimes stimulates the imagination, while other times it offers thoughts for reflection, which must be passed onto listeners. Many great musicians demonstrate the beauty of the pieces, I try to go that bit further. The musical world of a composer is a language: musicians have to learn all that, interpreting what the composer has to say and making it their own.

So what story does she relate during Leonard Bernstein's half-hour Serenade? − Based on Plato's dialogue 'Symposium', the individual movements express what the guests of the drinking party, the philosophers and doctors, think about the diversity of love. Author of West Side Story and Candide he wrote uplifting works; this is completely different from them, but of course it does contain a little swing. It is a wonderful piece of work, just a shame it's barely heard in concert halls − believes Liza Ferschtman.

For the last seven years, Ferschtman has been the artistic director of the Delft Chamber Music Festival too: every summer she organises themed concerts over nine days, and believes the city is just as beautiful today as on the paintings of Jan Vermeer.