Stravinsky times three

Late Night concert with Oksana Lyniv

Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv will be on stage for the first time with members of the Berliner Philharmoniker at our Late Night concert on 25 September. On the programme: three works by Igor Stravinsky that could not be more different. We talked to her about intensive years of teaching, cunning foxes and Russian folklore.

How did you get into conducting?

I was born into a family of musicians, my mother is a pianist, my father is a choir director, my grandfather too. So rehearsals and concerts were something very normal for me from an early age. I then decided to study conducting at university. Unfortunately, my parents were not enthusiastic about the idea, because we come from Brody, a small town in Ukraine. They preferred a secure future for their daughter, and in the 1990s, the prospects for young musicians – women in particular – were very poor there.

But you were successful and eventually became Kirill Petrenko’s assistant at Bayerische Staatsoper. What did you learn from him?

These four years were very intense. I learned how he approaches a wide variety of composers, works and styles. We worked simultaneously on Wagner’s Ring, Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Soldaten and new productions, Mozart and Italian opera. The fact that he knows exactly which details he has to work on in order to really create the special sound of a composer and his time was the most interesting thing.

Late Night on 25 September

With members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, on the programme: works by Igor Stravinsky

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Watch the concert live at 22:00 in the Digital Concert Hall.

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At the Late Night concert on 25 September, you will conduct three works by Stravinsky.  What fascinates you so much about him?

Stravinsky is one of the most important composers, not only of the 20th century, but in the history of music in general. His works are very complex, he changed styles so often and was always looking for a new sound and musical language. Throughout his life and beyond, he succeeded in captivating his audiences with new creative and revolutionary ideas in music and art. This complexity is also reflected in the programme of the Late Night: we are playing Dumbarton Oaks, his Octet for wind instruments and Renard, three very different chamber music works.

Video: Oksana Lyniv on her fascination for Igor Stravinksy

How are the pieces different?

Dumbarton Oaks is a typical Neoclassical work for chamber orchestra. The Octet is a suite for eight wind instruments in which each movement has its own character and the individual movements contrast with each other. And Renard is something very special, it is like a very short opera that tells the fairy tale of the cunning fox, which is very popular in Ukraine and Russia. The fox wants to eat the cock, but the cock has very clever friends who protect him. You can hear in every bar how important Stravinsky’s connection to his homeland was. He spent a lot of his life abroad and maintained the connection to his roots through folk songs, folklore and fairy tales. This is especially noticeable in this work.

Renard also has a few other special features ...

The great thing about the Late Night format is that, in addition to the 16 instrumentalists and four singers, we also have director Nina Kupczyk and magician and mime Freddie Rutz. We can be creative in this concert and the two of them can underline the text and the music with various actions, but of course we won’t reveal them yet.

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