Interview with André Furno

It is our honour to interview André Furno, founder of the renowned Paris promoter Piano4etoiles ...

You are known for having brought wonderful artists such as Daniel Barenboim, Claudio Abbado, Martha Argerich, Alfred Brendel, Radu Lupu, Murray Pehahia, Stephen Kovacevich and Maurizio Pollini to Paris when they only just started their careers. Only recently have you branched out to Berlin. Tell us about the inspiration behind that…

Yes, I have decided to start a new season in Berlin for many reasons...

The first one is that I love this city, it offers so many cultural things and has a prestigious and impressing past in terms of music. Berlin is becoming, once more, one of the most important European capitals with a certain young dynamic that is present throughout the whole artistic scene.

Regarding the Brahms cycle, from a young age I had the chance to correspond in the «60» with Bruno Walter, he was originally from Berlin and the most important interpreter of Mozart, Brahms and his master, Gustav Mahler. Thanks to the big important discography message that he left, I learned about a certain aesthetic of the music that gives me the possibility to appreciate unknown artists that become stars.

What makes the Brahms tradition in Berlin so special?

The Brahms cycle is dedicated to Bruno Walter, the Berliner, who attended the Stern Conservatory in Berlin. Except the idea of Elmar Weingartner, Ex-Intendant of the Berliner Philarmoniker, there was not a single Brahms chamber music series since the time of Claudio Abbado.

The Brahms cycle holds a place in my heart in a very special way because it has bought together many solo-positions of the Berliner Philarmoniker, where I was their Veranstalter for 10 years during the time of Claudio Abbado. Let's not forget that The Mitglieder and the old Konzertmeister Guy Braunstein of the Berliner Phimarmoniker have a great Brahms tradition.

What is your favorite piece by Brahms and do you have a composer whose music has left a special imprint on your life?

The Fourth Symphonie op. 98 and the Quintet for Clarinet, but all of the work of Brahms is unique because every written piece is a masterpiece.

Shoenberg was right to say that behind his classicism he has indeed headed an extraordinary modernism. Brahms is more relevant today than ever.

I also Love Mahler and Bach, they are indispensable composers. I have had a particular affinity towards Gustav Mahler since an early age, at a time where Mahler was not famous like he is today because his time had not come yet.

In which direction do you see classical music heading; what are your thoughts when you listen to rising stars?

I am concerned about the aging of music lovers and by the lack of their renual in current generations who show little interest in live music or even recorded music. We must continue to encourage young people to come to concerts. This concern is European, if not global, and it's a challenge that will require constant attention.

Concerning the young performer, we can not say that our area saw the eclosion of pianists during the last 60 years. As always young talents are emerging, in my opinion in particular artists like Yuja Wang, Trifonov, Sunwook Kim - to mention only but a few - as well as a complete renewal of violonists with many talents. For a Maestro, the situation is more difficult as it takes 50 years to make a great conductors - this is what Karajan thought.

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Author: Nina Lucas HELLO STAGE
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