- Title: No retirement for Belgian conductor Herreweghe as he turns 70
- Date: 12th May 2017
- Summary: HERREWEGHE ADDRESSING PERFORMERS HERREWEGHE AND PERFORMERS ON STAGE HERREWEGHE MAKING GESTURES
- Embargoed: 26th May 2017 10:58
- Keywords: Art Music Baroque Concert Collegium Vocale Gent conductor Entertainment Johan Sebastian Bach Philippe Herreweghe Classical
- Location: GHENT, BELGIUM
- City: GHENT, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Music,Human Interest / Brights / Odd News
- Reuters ID: LVA0066GJ9IE1
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Belgian conductor Philippe Herreweghe, who turned 70 this month, says he has no intention of retiring as he continues to discover new nuances in the music of the composer who marked his career like no other: Johan Sebastian Bach.
Herreweghe, who founded the Collegium Vocale Gent ensemble in 1970, is seen as a pioneer in the movement of historically informed performances of early and baroque music which seeks to reintroduce instruments used at the time and perform such pieces with fewer performers rather than the large symphony orchestras used for Romantic compositions.
Herreweghe said his life is all about music, meaning that stopping it would mean death.
In spite of his penchant for Bach and early music, Herreweghe has not shied away from a more modern repertoire such as Romantic composers Anton Bruckner and Johannes Brahms and even Arnold Schoenberg's atonal work Pierrot Lunaire.
He joked that focusing an entire career on Bach, would be 'terrible'.
"Bach is of course fantastic, perhaps like (William) Shakespeare or (Ludwig van) Beethoven or others, but being an actor and only play Shakespeare would be a little bit difficult or impossible. Eating lobster everyday would be terrible, I think, and even (Johann Sebastian) Bach, you can't play Bach all the time," he said.
Performing Bach's Mass in B Minor in his home town of Ghent on Thursday (May 11), Herreweghe said his approach to the piece, which he conducted some 150 times and recorded three times had changed over the years.
Apart from Collegium Vocale Gent which he founded in 1970, he set up several ensembles throughout his career and also conducted some of the world's best known orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Herreweghe said he did not fear for the state of classical music, sometimes criticised for having lost its touch with younger generations.
As stopping is not an option for Herreweghe, his agenda for the coming months is filled with performances in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy.
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