Waiting for Wisdom / Sofia

Waiting for Wisdom / Sofia

Waiting for Wisdom / Sofia

Interview with Maya Filipova for the Bulletin of Bulgaria Concert Complex


Maestra Čepaitė, you are about to have your first encounter with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bulgarian audience. Are you excited?


Indeed, I am very excited. The Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra is certainly one of the most illustrious and unique orchestras in Europe. I have listened and watched the Orchestra on available recordings. The warmth of the Orchestra‘s sound is penetrating, musicians are really connected between themselves. There are few orchestras about whom you could say with assurance: it has his own soul and distinct personality. It makes the Orchestra capable of expressing the drama of human existence – as expressed in great classical works – in a very eloquent and convincing way. I believe Maestro Nayden Todorov and all the Orchestra musicians are doing a great work. That is why I am approaching the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the Bulgarian audience with great respect and excitement.

Have you worked with Bulgarian musicians so far?


I know about Bulgaria: its history, beautiful nature, resorts, wine. But it will be my first encounter with Bulgarian musicians. With great interest I have watched all the video episodes about the Orchestra’s tour in Vienna “Behind the scenes”. It gave me the first, at least, indirect opportunity to meet some musicians of the Orchestra. Now I am looking forward to meet them personally.

The popular Baltic composers in our country are Arvo Pärt, Pēteris Vasks, and of those with Lithuanian roots, we can add Philip Glass and Mikalojus Čiurlionis – the painter-composer who dared to paint music. Whom else would you add?


Thank you for a kind question. There are some composers of XXth century still to be discovered world-wide, such as Julius Juzeliūnas, Osvaldas Balakauskas. Amongst the contemporary ones, I would recommend Algirdas Martinaitis, Alvydas Malcys, Raminta Šerkšnytė, Žibuoklė Martinaitytė.

You work with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2020. What does working with LCO give you?


Since 2013, I have been developing a special relationship with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra. As a regular guest conductor of the Orchestra, I enjoy my own artistic niche. First, we recorded couple of worldwide well noted CD‘s of Lithuanian composers. Another thing which I bring to the orchestra is the repertoire of symphonic sacred music, especially those composed for orchestra and choir: from solemn pieces of W.A. Mozart to meditative ones of Giya Kancheli.

How is Lithuania going through the pandemic? Are the concert halls currently open?


The pandemic has come as a calamity for the whole musical world. We, musicians, who give our hearts and talents to audience has been locked in themselves. It is certainly hard to bear. Despite relatively low sickness rate, concert halls are still closed in Lithuania. Fortunately, there is this modern Digital Hall system at the National Philharmonic, which opened wide possibility to have concerts online. So, we are back! Now, with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, I am recording Prokofiev, Mozart and R. Strauss to be broadcasted on April 9 at the Easter festival, which during the pandemic takes place … online. Unusual forms for unusual times. Anyway, as history proves us, sooner or later this pandemic nightmare is over, and we resume our mission with full force.

How does a lady feel in the previously considered “male world” of conductors?


Well, let me answer with a smile: I am treated well by the males in the orchestras (smiling). The secret is simple: you have to be authentic – woman as I am; and decisively focus on what is essential in music making. Music is all about uplifting one’s soul and experiencing the source of all the Good and the Beauty, which transcends biological or any other differences. This is the utmost responsibility of the conductor to bring this kind of
experience to the audience … man or woman, makes no difference.

You are a member and founder of the vocal formation Graces & Voices. Is the Gregorian chant a hobby or a necessity for you?


It is a great advantage to know and even practice Gregorian chant professionally. For Gregorian chant, the sacred chant of Latin liturgy, is also the very source of Western classical music. But for me personally, it is much more. Gregorian chant is my prayer, thus, necessity. More to that, as singing is the most authentic expression of human soul, it teaches the art of conducting also in the most authentic way. When I conduct, I always sing in my deepest self …

On the stage of Bulgaria Hall on April 8, you will conduct an entirely Mendelssohn program. The soloist of the concert will be the French violin virtuoso Augustine Dumay. What will you present to the Sofia audience?


In the first part of the concert, we are going to perform the Violin Concerto in E minor, once famously described as “the jewel of heart“. Maestro Augustin Dumay is an outstanding violinist and illustrious interpreter of the concerto. I am sure the audience will enjoy it greatly. In the second part, we‘ll continue to celebrate the heart of music with the melodious and ever youthful 1st symphony of Medelssohn. The beauty of music reveals itself in the authenticity of musical synergy. I hope this will be the case by way of our common work with Maestro Augustine Dumay and the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra.


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