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Interview Tokyo



In my family we had a lot of musicians. My grandfather, Volkmar Andreae, was a famous conductor. He has been musical director of the Swiss Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich for 43 years . Gustav Mahler wanted to have him as his successor to conduct  the New York Philharmonic, but he declined the offer! My father, my mother and my uncle, who was my teacher, were pianists instead. I conducted concerts, where the three played with me as soloists.

After my studies in Zurich, Paris and Rome, in 1966 I won a conducting competition with the Tonhalle Orchestra, when Rudolf Kempe was chief conductor. He also invited me to his second orchestra; the Munich Philharmonic. In 1969 I was appointed  as the youngest musical director in Switzerland, chief conductor of the Swiss-Italian Radio/Tv Symphony Orchestra where I remained for 21 years. In the meantime I was artistic and musical director of the Angelicum Orchestra in Milan  from 1990 -1994. Since 1989 I am the conducter of the Orchestra Sinfonia Engiadina. From 2000 until 2010 I conducted the Orchestra dell’Insubria founded by me, and composed of young professional musicians, playing in the South part of Switzerland and the North of Italy.

Between my tours, I prepare many first performances of ordered compositions by composers as Feldman, Globokar, Bussotti, Sciarrino, Vogel, Wimberger, Holliger, Lehmann, Moret, Müller, Glass, Beck and many others.

One of my hobbies is music archaeology. I discovered, published and first performed works by Schumann, Liszt, Weber, Rossini and Donizetti.

The soul of the music speaks to my soul. Music begins where words end. (Goethe)



Conducting an orchestra represents for me a profound pleasure that extends to all musicians: a collective and very intense emotion.



The Symphony’s message can be summarized as follows:

  • 1st Movement: Men’s path through the grey life, darkness and  struggle of his existence.

( Sketches since 1809).

  • 2nd Movement: The mind wants to liberate itself from the dark pictures and be pervaded with more friendliness. (Sketches first appearance 1815).

  • 3rd Movement: The music expresses deep devotion, trust and hope. (In 1818 detailed notation of the plan: Adagio Cantique  Ecclesiastique – pious singing in old tonalities).

  • Finale: the music of the preceding three Movements is rejected and a desire of a happier tone is expressed. Finally the theme of Joy breaks through with great exuberance.

( 1793: Beethoven’s first project to set in music Schiller’s  )

The most significant verses:


“All men become brothers,

Accept this embrace, you millions!

The kiss is for the world!

Brothers, a loving father must dwell

Above the starry firmament.”



In our epoch I feel strongly feel that my duty as conductor is to disseminate this joyful message to the whole world.





In 1823 Beethoven applied for the position of conductor of the Viennese court Orchestra, but his candidature was rejected. All over Europe In this years, the cultural world lived in real Rossini drunkenness and Beethoven missed the resonance he should have deserved. In 1824 he wanted  to settle in London. Only his aristocratic friends were able to convince him to remain in Vienna. During this period he was working on the Symphony No. 9 Op. 125, on the Diabelli Variations Op. 120 for piano and the Missa solemnis Op. 123.

 Enlightenment and  Humanism, the French revolution, the desire of justice, unrestrained freedom and brotherliness,  love and beauty, the truth and the good, made part of the desires Beethoven had. This items had a great impact and formed together with his strong character an unmistakable individuality.  His music expresses extreme contrasts of mental states and this requires from the musician the capacity of fast changes in his mental and sensitive state.




Beethoven and Schiller are both the pure impersonation of German idealism. In Europe there has been from the beginning a lot of criticism concerning the Symphony, especially about the last Movement. Beethoven himself wasn’t sure whether it was better to have an instrumental Finale. Even after the first performance, Beethoven told friends that the Finale was a failure.  Spohr and Mendelssohn (Turkish music!) were perplexed,  whereas Schumann, Berlioz and Wagner expressed great admiration.

I suppose that in Japan the deep adoration for this masterwork is mostly undivided.


For me it is a great honour and pleasure to conduct Beethoven’s Symphony in Japan, where this masterwork  is performed more frequently than in all other countries and where its appreciation reaches inestimable benchmarks.




I admire Japan musicians and orchestras. They play with great accuracy, high technical abilities, remarkable unity and are especially flexible to follow the guideline of the conductor. Older musicians are more careful when they play in the orchestra and are usually characterised by a traditional and precise style  due to their studies of the German school. Younger people research great expressivity, taking more risk in their way to make music,  due to their international musical background. Japanese Orchestras demonstrate a considerable sense of collectivism, whereas in Europe we assist to more individualism.




Colleagues told me that the Orchestra is on a very high level and has in his ranks numerous excellent musicians. It is with real joy that I am looking forward to making music with them.




I expect that the Soloists, the Choir, the Orchestra and me, together with the audience , will become with joy, “brothers and sisters! “.




“A life without music is an error!” (Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher)

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