Lan Shui conducts the Singapore Symphony Orchestra
The Chinese-American conductor, Lan Shui, is renowned for his abilities as an orchestral builder and for his passion in commissioning, premiering and recording new works by the cream of Asia’s composers. As a guest conductor, Lan Shui has worked around the world, but in October he comes to Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra as their Musical Director. We were lucky enough to have a few words with the man himself.
What music would work as the soundtrack to your life?
Brahms’ Fourth Symphony. As a musical work it is well-structured, yet emotionally rich. It’s also very positive and optimistic.
What’s your favourite museum or art gallery?
I don’t really have a favourite. Sometimes when I am conducting in a particular city I will find some time out to visit a museum or gallery that’s near. One museum that I remember well is the Museum of History in Bamberg, which houses many interesting collections.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
One of the greatest challenges for me has always been balancing work and family. I spend 28 weeks each year conducting away from home, so in what’s left I try to spend as much time as possible with my 5-year-old son in Copenhagen.
What – or where – is perfection?
I find that in music, the concept of perfection is far too ‘mechanical’. Being ‘perfect’ is not about playing every single note correctly. It’s about putting 120% into the making of it, living it, and making a connection with the audience or listener. When that moment comes when everything falls into place, that is perfection.
Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
From a personal standpoint, someone whom I will always admire is the conductor David Zinman, with whom I worked in the US in the early 1990’s. At the time, he was a true inspiration for a young conductor like me; as a musician he took his work very seriously, and that still influences the way I work today.
What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
When I was young I always used to be very fascinated by architecture. So I’ve always thought that if I were not a musician (though that is something I find hard to imagine!), I should like to be an architect. Buildings are symbols of the peoples and cultures from which they arise, and I am fortunate enough to have the chance to conduct in different concert halls around the world, each with its own individual character.
Tell us about a special memory you have of Southbank Centre?
Unfortunately I’ve not had a chance to conduct there. But I have enjoyed many wonderful performances in Royal Festival Hall!
What’s your favourite website?
I am a loyal visitor to the CNN (www.cnn.com) and BBC websites, where I get my news every day.
What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
That would easily be Strauss’ Four Last Songs. I have several version of it, my favourite being the Flagstad/Fürtwangler, Schwarzkopf/Szell and (more recently) Fleming/Thielemann versions.
For more information about Lan Shui conducting the Singapore Symphony Orchestra at Southbank Centre, click here.
Filed under: Classical season 10-11, Get to know..., Royal Festival Hall | Tagged: Lan Shui, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Stephen Hough | Leave a Comment »