Where the future begins

Patricia Kopatchinskaja is Artist in Residence for the 2021/22 season

Get to know the artisti in this video portrait

Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja has the gift of enthralling her audience with even the most difficult and complicated works – thanks to her enthusiasm and technical brilliance. With the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Moldovan-born musician caused a sensation when she performed the challenging violin concertos by Peter Eötvös, György Ligeti and Arnold Schoenberg. As Artist in Residence this season, she now shows further facets of her artistic personality. In our interview, she talks about her love of the new and working together with the Berliner Philharmoniker.

In 2014, you made your debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker with Peter Eötvös’ Violin Concerto DoReMi. At the time, you said in an interview for the Digital Concert Hall that you dreamed of performing good contemporary music with the best musicians. What is it that fascinates you about New music?

Let's say I was a physicist or an DNA researcher. Would you also ask me what interests me about the latest research? After all, it is obvious that the latest developments only take place in the most recent works and that the future begins with this decisive step into the unknown. This is the most fascinating thing. Next to this, the preoccupation with what has been known for a long time becomes almost mundane.

You not only play the violin, you also conduct and employ your voice in a variety of ways in your concerts. How do you see yourself: as a violinist or as an artist in the broad sense of the word?

First and foremost, people are human beings. Secondly, we are members of a family and citizens of this world. You cannot be indifferent to either. And only after that are you a member of a profession of any kind. That’s almost random; you could also be a cleaner or sell melons. I’m just a musician now, but I don’t want to be bored or constricted. I am always looking for freedom and new things, and I am inspired by everything: colleagues, history, research, contemporary work and other art movements.

You have been making music regularly with the Berliner Philharmoniker since 2014. What do you value about this collaboration?

This orchestra has a quality that is second to none, both as a whole and as individual members. It is a great privilege to play with them. We have now worked together several times, including chamber music in a late-night concert in which I performed Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire, among other works. In general, I feel I am in good hands here. I even get support for my experimental sides, which is not something that can be taken for granted at all.

You met Kirill Petrenko when you were 16 years old during your studies in Vienna. What are your memories of that?

Kirill enlivened many lessons with his in-depth, focused questions. That was already quite unique and striking at the time. Besides that, we had a fun time and sometimes went to the cinema. He is a wonderful and very humble person.

You will also perform together with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. The title of this concert, is Les Adieux. What is behind it?

The relentlessly progress of environmental problems depresses me, I cannot ignore it. Then sometimes it overcomes me and I have to express it musically, so that my activities don’t seem to me to be some irrelevant aestheticism in an ivory tower. Global warming impelled me to take on the 2017 project Dies irae. In the project Les Adieux, I now want to draw attention to the rapid extinction of species – as a musician’s reaction to what is happening at the moment.

When you are on the concert stage, you emanate a tremendous energy. Where does it come from?

If I only knew! I usually live very quietly and am a homely housewife. Although perhaps the people I live with feel quite differently!

Patricia KopatchinskajaPatricia Kopatchinskaja
(Photo: Marco Borggreve)