Estonian Conductor Anu Tali in Conversation with Boyce Lancaster

Classical 101's Boyce Lancaster with Estonian conductor Anu Tali(Photo: Beverley Ervine)
Classical 101's Boyce Lancaster with Estonian conductor Anu Tali(Photo: Beverley Ervine)

Estonian-born conductor Anu Tali is guest conducting with the Columbus Symphony this weekend.  In 1997, while still in her twenties, she became a pioneering figure among young conductors when she co-founded, with her identical twin sister Kadri, the Nordic Symphony Orchestra.  She is now in demand as a guest conductor and has recently accepted the position of Music Director with the Sarasota Orchestra.

She was my guest at 9:00am today on Classical 101.  She is in town to conduct the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Sibelius’ 2nd Symphony, (Which you can see performed here), and the Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten by fellow Estonian Arvo Pärt.

Tali is looking for the soul of each piece she conducts.  In the case of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, she also looks to how the soloist approaches the work for guidance in shaping the orchestra’s sound.

Tali’s description of Estonia paints vivid pictures in one’s mind.  It also enables you to better understand music penned by Estonian composers.   The core of the Estonian people lies in the forests, long, dark winters, and a sun which barely sets in the summer.  She has known Arvo Pärt for many years, collaborating with him on many performances of his music.  In Pärt’s music, she says, the silence is as important as the sound.

The 2nd Symphony by Jean Sibelius rounds out the program.  His music, she says, speaks to Finland’s struggle to become – and remain – an independent nation.

The Columbus Symphony performs two concerts this weekend – Friday and Saturday night at 8:00pm.  More information at www.columbussymphony.com.

Below, Anu speaks about another Estonian composer, Edouard Tubin

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