Krzysztof Penderecki: “Sergey Smbatyan is a great conductor, one of the best of the current generation”

February 19, 2018


The festival dedicated to the 85th anniversary of Krzysztof Penderecki was summed up with a highest note: glorious music, great performances of the Armenian musicians, an orchestra on stage, an orchestra at the lodge. On February 17 the Symphony No.7 “Seven Gates of Jerusalem” by Penderecki was presented in Armenia for the first time. The symphony was created on the occasion of the 3000th Anniversary of Jerusalem, at the request of the mayor of Jerusalem. It is written for 5 vocalists, a narrator, choirs and a symphony orchestra. The seven-part composition is based on the texts of the Old Testament. With the symphony's ideological content, the composer wanted to emphasize that the gates of Jerusalem are open to everyone overnight, and his dream is that there will be peace in this sacred land.

The Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, the Wind Section of the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Choir of A. Spendiarian Opera and Ballet National Academic Theater, the Armenian State Chamber Choir, Yerevan State Chamber Choir, “Hover” State Chamber Choir presented the Symphony No.7 “Seven Gates of Jerusalem” by Penderecki.

Soloists: Iwona Hossa (soprano), Karolina Sikora (soprano), Małgorzata Pańko-Edery (mezzo-soprano), Aleksander Kunach (tenor), Piotr Nowacki (bass), Slawomir Holland (narrator).

Conductor: Sergey Smbatyan, Maciej Tworek (assistant conductor of Professor Krzysztof Penderecki), Chief Choirmaster: Radik Melikyan.

The Symphony has been performed headed by the world’s best conductors.  Sergey Smbatyan noted that it was a great responsibility for him to perform on this concert especially in front of maestro Penderecki.

“We are proud that we can present this composition in Armenia and can implement such a project. This is an important benchmark for us! Maestro Penderecki is deeply linked with the Armenian musicians. But the most important thing in the professional field is to match the qualitative criteria. In Armenia the maestro sees high-quality musicians with ambitions and desire to present complicated works. And we should be able to preserve and develop the link between Penderecki, Armenian musicians, me and my colleagues”,-Sergey Smbatyan noted. 

Summing up the jubilee festival Krzysztof Penderecki noted that he was very happy to be in Armenia.

“This was one of the best festivals of my music of the last 20-30 years. All the concerts were presented at a high level. It's always a great pleasure to come to Armenia, there is a great atmosphere here”,-Penderecki noted.

Maestro also talked about conductor Sergey Smbatyan. "I have known Sergey Smbatyan for many years. Year by year, he is progressing more and more. Sergey is now a great conductor, one of the best of the current generation."

The festival was held under the patronage of the First Lady of the RA Rita Sargsyan, who attended the gala concert.

Penderecki's art is difficult to fit in any template. He composes in different genres, writes symphonies, operas, oratories, chamber music ... Penderecki is interested in everything. He is not limited to the profession of composer and conductor.

Maestro reflects in his music everything that is interesting and everything he sees around.  He creates new instruments when he is not satisfied with musical instruments or human voices. One of them, called the tubaphone, was created for the Symphony "Seven Gates of Jerusalem". A tubaphone prepared by Armenian masters was presented on February 17 in Armenia for the first time.

During the 4 days the connoisseurs of the classical music had a chance to enjoy Penderecki’s music and his world, had a chance to communicate with legendary maestro.

"I am very grateful to the Armenian audience. You have fantastic audience. All the concerts were held in crowded halls. And the audience's response to my music was so beautiful!”,- Penderecki noted, expressing his gratitude to the Armenian connoisseurs of his music.

The audience expressed their respect, love and appreciation to the great musician with the unstoppable applause and the anticipation of the next meeting with the maestro.

The musical feast is organized by the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra, Yerevan Perspectives International Music Festival, with the sponsorship of the RA Ministry of Culture.

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