Blesok no. 59, March-April, 2008
A Conversation with the Conductor Borjan Canev
Borjan Canev is the chief conductor of the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra; during the past few months he has conducted different pieces from the symphonic and concerto repertoire. He conducted few of the concerts for the broader audience, such as the symphony concert for children, as well as the concert of the music band ”Project Žlust”. Canev also works as a professor at the Faculty of Music in Skopje, an institution where he was also educated himself, in the class of Professor Fimčo Muratovski.
D.P. As the main conductor of the national orchestra, what kind of a repertoire are you mostly interested in?
B.C. The conductor should absolutely show knowledge and interests for a wide repertoire, because the specification of his work itself requires that. Personally, I am interested in everything connected to the symphonic and opera music, and I wouldn’t give a single example of a work that I show a particular interest for.
D.P. On 17th of January, you conducted the symphonic concert of “Project Žlust” band, as a part of the cycle named “Jazz Symphony Concert” which aims to bring the symphonic music closer to the broader audience. What is your opinion about this new programme concept?
B.C. I think that this programme concept has brought something new and fresh to the standard classical repertoire. The interest which shows how much these concerts bring the symphonic music closer to the audience, is a fact that speaks for itself. It shows that the audience needs to hear concerts of this kind.
D.P. How often during your musical career have you attended this kind of concerts and what was your own contribution to the whole musical formation at the concert?
B.C. I have seen many concerts of this kind, especially during my stay in the UK. Every symphonic orchestra of a world rank, more or less, practices similar digress from the iron classical repertoire. I think that this should be observed as an extension of the already established concert repertoire. I am afraid it would sound as a cliché if I told you how important the contribution of the conductor is in the orchestra.
D.P. Has this programme concept shown good results for the orchestra? Do you consider true the fact that, through the performance of this kind of pieces there is a possibility that the orchestra can diminish the achieved level of performance and make an assumption in the criteria established for the symphony orchestras?
B.C. I usually restrain myself and I am against fast conclusions regarding anything. I think that what we need is a certain time distance to make a more serious conclusion if the concept is good, or not. I would be more pleased to answer the question: Can the orchestra advance, performing this kind of works? I think that a good musician can easily adapt to different genres, so that it won’t influence the quality of the piece.
D.P. How much is your own sensibility close to the works from other contemporary genres and alternative music modes of expression?
B.C. We as artists are getting more experienced and mature by every day of our lives. After every new experience I feel richer, and more experienced, and that’s why I try extent my professional and mental horizons on daily basis. An artist who doesn’t accept innovations and thinks that he knows everything has already finished with his career.
D.P. What is the main difference in the approach to the formation of the performance of contemporary pieces, compared to the works of the classical repertoire?
B.C. There is no difference. The principle is the same, only the compositions are different.
B.C. I would personally appreciate very much if they are performed more often. I always appeal to the composers to write more symphonic works, because that is the only way they can have more space on the repertoire.
D.P. You are a guest conductor in Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra. You accept with pleasure every chance to lead this orchestra at a concert. Can you tell us what kind of an orchestra it is, and can you draw a parallel with the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra?
B.C. We talk about a highly professional orchestra of European caliber with a long music tradition. Although every orchestra has its own particular feature, or with the words of music - “a soul”, I think that to make a comparison between two orchestras is always a good thing to do. In that sense, observing the situation in the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra: the change of the generations of musicians, the programme, the principle of work, makes me say that slowly, but definitely, we come out on the right road that leads towards the real professionalism in orchestra performance.
D.P. Do you have at the moment an interest for the opera and when can we expect to see you again in a musical stage project?
B.C. My interest for the opera will never fade away. I will come out on the opera stage whenever I have time to estimate the situation that I should prepare an opera work, i.e. when I will be musically provoked and inspired to do it.
D.P. What is the process of conception of the score before you set down its sound dimension?
B.C. That’s a very long and complex process which consists of researching, analyzing, playing and conducting a score. Unfortunately, the contemporary trends and the dynamic way of living have entered the music deeply, so there is not always time for detailed research of all these segments. The conductor has to be trained to make a “fast intervention” and to prepare a work in a short period of time.
D.P. How much do the literary sources influence your style, or approach?
B.C. The literary sources have certain influence on my style, but above all I experience like pure art what we receive through our imagination.
D.P. Is there a music piece which is a challenge for you to conduct, but you haven’t done it yet?
B.C. Certainly I have many works left that are a challenge for me to conduct. As I said before, in case I didn’t have a challenge, that would be the end of my conducting career.