Why did Gilbert Varga decide to sign a contract with the Pannon Philharmonic? – video

Gilbert Varga, the British conductor with Hungarian roots, found his way “back home” last February when he performed in Hungary. That day, it seems that something touched him deeply while playing with the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra, in their concert hall at their hometown Pécs. In October, it was a breaking news that Gilbert Varga signed a long-term contract with the orchestra. With the 1st of January 2019, a new era has started for the city Pécs – now, Gilbert Varga and his fellow conductor Tibor Bogányi will define its musical character. In the following video, Ádám Bősze is interviewing the Maestro about the background of his decision, his impressions from last February, the possibilities of joint work and his plans for the future.

Gilbert Varga on the concert hall in Pécs:

“It’s one of the greatest halls in the world. Absolutely. By far the best in this country from what I know. […] Like you touch somebody and the whole body is shivering. Yeah, it’s fascinating and complicated, because you have to learn how to do, what to say, how to express it, where you touch it, what directions there are.”

On whether he and Tibor Bogányi will be two cooks in one kitchen:

“There’s no balance. It’s one conductor with two faces. […] Because I have my positive and my negative side and Tibor has probably the same thing, and so we do complete each other. We have, both of us, truly involved in the future of the orchestra, working together… We are, and that is an important point, neither of us is a ‘Machtmensch’ […] who wants the power for themselves.” And how will the allocation of the pieces occur? “Should it happen, we both want [something], well, then we’ll have a boxing camp…”

About education as a long-term plan:

“I would be careful with the term ‘educating the audience’. I don’t think the audience in so far needs to be educated, especially not in a country like Hungary where, I would say, they want to listen to great and convincing music. Now, to the education of the orchestra, the vision of programming, we have to sit down a bit more often with Tibor to see what our interests are.”

On whether he knew the orchestra enough to sign the contract with them:

“You could ask the question: do you think you knew well enough your wife before you married her?”