Tonight, all eyes are on Malmö – Sweden’s third city and one Danes like to think of as a suburb of Copenhagen.

Forget about Sweden…Malmö’s great because of the sizeable add-on it brings to the Danish capital’s culture life. You can watch an opera in Malmö and be home in bed in Copenhagen – in another country – well before midnight. Copenhagen has all the musical trappings of a major European capital (two opera houses, three symphony orchestras, two conservatories, early music ensembles, radio choirs etc). Malmö adds to that a symphony orchestra, conservatory and opera house with its own full-time chorus and orchestra. It has a beautiful new concert hall in Malmö Live and its Mid-Century opera house from 1946, designed by Sigurd Lewerentz, is a functionalist masterpiece.

These seven fine performances from both buildings spring to mind.

  1. Malmö Opera: Pelléas et Mélisande (2016)
Marc Maullon and Jenny Daviet in Malmö Opera’s Pelléas et Mélisande

One of the first main-stage shows I saw at Malmö Opera. Benjamin Lazar’s production was well sung, very well conducted (by Maxime Pascal, chief conductor at the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra from this summer) and beautifully designed and costumed in a sort of 1970s paradigm…tout un monde lointain. It was taped for DVD.

  • 2. Malmö Opera: De Vliegende Hollander (2019)
Cornelia Beskow as Senta in Malmö Opera’s De Vliegende Hollander

In Lotte de Beer’s 2019 staging of Wagner’s opera in Malmö, the character of Senta was portrayed not as the Norwegian village’s misfit loner but as a visionary artist, prone to creating daemonic, progressive canvases in black oils (an Ibsen-like figure in more ways than one). When the Dutchman arrived, all Senta needed do to prove their symbiosis was paint with him. Senta was powerfully sung by Cornelia Beskow, one of the ‘golden cohort’ to emerge from the Royal Danish Opera Academy in the early 2010s (alongside Lise Davidsen and Sofie Elkjær Jensen).

  • 3. Malmö Symphony Orchestra: Trevino’s Opening Concert (2019)
Robert Trevino opening his tenure at the Malmö Symphony Orchestra

On 12 September 2019, Robert Trevino presided over his first concert as chief conductor of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra. He chose an exact replica of Simon Rattle’s opening concert at the Berliner Philharmoniker: Asyla by Thomas Adès and Mahler’s Symphony No 5. Sometimes, it’s better to hear an orchestra straining and almost bursting to play a difficult Mahler symphony than it is to hear an orchestra that knows the score like the back of its hand. It was hard not to get swept up in the ambition and intent of Trevino’s opening concert…and in how seriously the good folk of Malmö took it.

  • 4. Malmö Opera: La Traviata (2018)
Patricia Petibon sings her first Violetta in Olivier Py’s La Traviata for Malmö Opera

Malmö Opera scored a bit of a coup in 2018, luring the French coloratura soprano Patricia Petibon to the house to sing her first Violetta. I wrote at the time for Opera News: ‘the soprano’s superlative vocal acting and unique way with special effects enabled her to find richer, deeper colors [sic] while at the same time plotting the progress of the fatal illness taking hold of her body.’ The day-of-the-dead symbolism in Olivier Py’s production was entertaining but laid on with a trowel.

  • 5. Malmö Symphony Orchestra: Dvořák 7
Alondra del a Parra (Felix Broede)

Malmö Symphony Orchestra opened its 2021-22 season with a performance of Dvořák’s superlative Symphony No 7 under Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra, a musician I’m always intrigued to hear. Yes, it’s a cliché to talk about Central and South American conductors having a heightened sense of rhythm, but Alondra kicked and swung this symphony (in which rhythm is all-important) into action with real panache. I was on the edge of my seat for almost all of it.

  • 6. Malmö Opera: Turandot (2024)
Sofia Jupither’s production of Turandot for Malmö Opera (Jonas Persson)

I loved this – a deeply progressive production in traditional clothing, and one that proved devastatingly moving (you can read my review for Opera Now here). But it was notable for its musical achievement under Daniel Carter: probably the subtlest, most nuanced and most idiosyncratic performance I have heard from this company, and of a very tricky score (the chorus, in particular, was outstanding). The entire run, in Sweden’s biggest theatre, was sold out.

  • 7. Malmö Opera/Skånes Dansteater: Mozart Requiem (2019)

This was extraordinarily moving. I can rarely find the words to critique the most effective contemporary dance productions, and why I find them so. The choreography was by Örjan Andersson; the chorus of Malmö Opera merged with the dancers of Skånes Dansteater. I found almost every movement so umbilically connected to the Mozart and so very redolent of something in my own life I couldn’t express (and clearly can’t here).

Andrew Mellor


Elgar on the Øresund

The past is a foreign country. Literally, for some of us. When you move abroad, you learn as much about the territory you leave as the one you adopt. In the nine years I’ve lived in Denmark, the two composers whose profiles have shifted most radically in my comprehension of music history are Bach and Elgar. The latter’s music meant something different to me during my 34 years in England. Now I’m hearing it with more perspective while getting, I feel, closer to its essence.

More and more, Elgar, to me, is Britain – not in its tattered imperial glory but in its wild contradictions, compelling energy and indiscriminate diversity. Elgar’s music seems to strive perpetually to grasp the essence of the nation’s soul – a task in which it has to almost-fail in order to speak the truth so poignantly and movingly. Elgar’s symphonies astonish me. Their relevance is writ large – able to acutely sound-track twenty-first century urban life in a European capital while still communicating that sense of a Britain constantly upending and contorting itself in search of sense and sensibility.

The Second is hands down the greatest symphonic work my country of birth has produced. I hear it now as an absolutely European symphony by a British citizen interested in Englishness – integral and lucid (if unusual) in its form but whose astonishing, writhing and churning vertical complexities and descriptive hysteria are more connected to the Second Viennese School than anything pastoral, imperial or even particularly noble. There’s more whiplash than whimsy in the piece and barely any room for reflection that isn’t ultimately gazumped by emotional outpouring. It sounds, to my ears, a million miles from Vaughan Williams in the ferocity and industry of its argumentation.

For a handful of reasons, it was odd and intriguing to see Marie Jacquot conduct the work with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra on 21 March. This is ground not well-trodden by French conductors nor Nordic orchestras, though the DNSO gave a remarkable performance of Elgar’s First under Vasily Petrenko in 2018 – the last time they played an Elgar symphony, and the first time for many in the orchestra.

More unusually, Jacquot is designated Principal Conductor elsewhere in Copenhagen – at the Royal Theatre and Royal Danish Orchestra, where she starts her tenure in August. She paired Elgar’s Second with music you’d presume was conceived not to work her arms too hard before the interval (but which, from where I was sitting, actually did): Mozart’s Gran Partita, traversed with unerring alertness to shape and line by a posse of DNSO principals.

Danes still see Elgar as representative of imperial England. That’s as much about the here-and-now as anything historical, as a socially flat Nordic society looks west, nonplussed, to a country still skewed by class and status and perennially confused as to its place in the world. Even in England, some hear Elgar as a poster-boy for everything unfashionable – dead values that were only ever valuable to a few. I hear his symphonies as radically progressive and ever-contemporary: torn, outspoken, embracing, terrifying, tender and loving, And more connected to the identity-confusion of the British than ever. They are surely as emotionally open as Tchaikovsky’s, if consciously and poignantly stilted by that very English inability to be direct (surely the point, in the First at least). Elgar over-shares as much as he conceals. He is as disarmingly emotionally damaged as the rest of them.

Jacquot’s performance of the Second took the music’s vertical complexity seriously but within what was a determinedly horizontal, linear reading – an onward-pressing journey she likened, in an interview on the live radio broadcast of the concert, to a train ride. One of the radio announcers talked of Elgar’s bicycle Mr Phoebus. A few weeks later I talked to that announcer, Esben Tange, about the symphony’s straining opening unison as if it were the moment a bike teeters at the top of a hill before whooshing down it (on the broadcast, Esben made a remark about the British not being willing to cycle in the rain – naturally).

Marie Jacquot conducts Elgar with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra

Most in Copenhagen have only ever ‘seen’ Jacquot conduct in the pits of the city’s two opera houses – largely invisibly. She was born in Paris, raised in Chartres and trained in Austria and Germany, serving two Kapellmeisterships before assisting Kirill Petrenko at the Bavarian State Opera and suddenly springing to attention. She is Principal Guest Conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and is soon to take the top job at the WDR Symphony Orchestra in Cologne, which she will combine with her new post in Copenhagen. In the concert hall, her gestural language was strikingly impressive – as refined and judicious as the young Vladimir Jurowski’s (who once described Elgar to me as ‘an unconscious plagiarist of Brahms’ and vowed he would never conduct any; he went on to record the Violin Concerto with Nicola Benedetti).

Jacquot took each episode as it came but let musical logic feed surely into a sense of cumulative power, while springing those moments of orchestral panache off the page (the final bars of the first and third movements, notably). The radio broadcast gives you a more forensic view of how she dealt with inner complexities and harboured contrasting energies in service of intimacy and spontaneity.

It was, to summarise, a fluent and literate first performance of the symphony from the conductor, full of musicality and with a degree of flair that to my mind is absolutely necessary in this music. Even listening again online, I find it a far more successful account than that from another über-central European conductor: Daniel Barenboim, with the Staatskapelle Berlin (though Barenboim’s First is brilliant, and essays I think, everything I am trying to say here).

The bigger picture is that of the work’s colossal emotional residue. A colleague in London listened to the broadcast of Jacquot’s performance and found it too noblimente and long-breathed, with a ‘strenuous simulation of Edwardian moustache and steak-and-kidney.’ He was probably talking about the Larghetto, which I found the most affecting of all in Jacquot’s capturing of the catch in Elgar’s emotional composure – the wave-form of his social nausea.

As an expatriated Englishman in Lutheran Europe, I hear those things differently now – as a marriage of what Elgar referred to as the ‘passionate pilgrimage of the soul’ to the emotional comedown of withdrawal from all that you know and all that made you. Britain’s idea of itself hasn’t been getting any less fragile since the social upheavals of the first decade of the 1900s when Elgar wrote the piece. We know parts of the score were inspired by Venice. I hear the composer looking to Europe in more ways besides. Perhaps, in so doing, he was underlining his ambivalent attitude to the England he found so hard to love by putting that England in a frame – in parentheses. That might be one reason I have found the piece so devastating on every hearing since 2015 (make that 2016).

Five weeks later on 25 April, at the opposite end of the Øresund Bridge separating Denmark from Sweden, the Malmö Symphony Orchestra gave a performance of Elgar’s Symphony No 1. It was to have been conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, but a little over a week in advance we were informed that Davis was unwell, and that Martyn Brabbins would take his place. Five days before the concert, Davis died at home in Chicago.

Martyn Brabbins conducts Elgar with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra (Emma Larsson)

Like many, I had my first live taste of this symphony under Davis’s baton – in my case, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican in 2006. It felt doubly strange – an echo of all my Elgar-related disorientation about displacement, outsider-status and so on – that the first concert Davis should have conducted since his death was taking place on my doorstep.

This was a muted performance but for the symphony’s final bars, which felt charged with an unusual sense of eruption. That’s in the score: a symphony nominally in A flat major that’s really in D, in which the final (re)blossoming A flat major opens up an astonishing new sonic vista. It also includes what is surely the most irregular musical gesture of Elgar’s oeuvre, when the processional theme returns, and the strings throw themselves at it with erratic fury – expressing a sort of volcanic, almost desparate optimism that puts me in mind of suffragettes throwing themselves under horses; the ultimate sacrifice to hasten the better future we know is coming.

It felt like even more of an eruption in Malmö given the rest of the performance had been so smooth – far less animated than either Petrenko’s or Jacquot’s Elgar at the other end of the bridge. I came to Malmö almost-fresh from the Malko Competition in Copenhagen and was reminded yet again that an orchestra’s sound is rooted in what it sees: in Brabbins’s case, a stern but understated physical presence, feet often rooted in position, in contrast to the prudent agility of the former competitive tennis player Jacquot and with a more limited and conventional gestural range. The pay off was structural nous and a deep sense of care, delicacy even, with the way the motto was carried through to the end – more fragile than noble, which seemed right for our times. The end of the Adagio was whispered in the sort of true pianissimo you can wait months to hear. I have never heard the Malmö strings better – nor the entire orchestra, in fact.

This is a symphony about the ‘wide experience of human life’, in Elgar’s words, and perhaps Brabbins’s performance served as a reminder to us narcissist millennials that it might not be our life we’re hearing about. I admired Brabbins’s effort to unify Elgar’s symphony under a simmering legato even if I would have preferred something else. For what it’s worth, he did mine impressively contrasting and vivid colours in Ingvar Lidholm’s Ligeti-influenced Kontaktion from 1979, which was played with a combination of slab-smoothness and vivid colours that’s hard to bring off. Delius’s The Walk to the Paradise Garden was more like his precious-object-carrying Elgar.  

Concertmaster Marika Fältskog and conductor Martyn Brabbins (Emma Larsson)

Ultimately, Brabbins’s Elgar felt a little too English to my now-European ears – veiled by the sort of standoffish politeness that so often misfires in the northern quarters of the continental mainland, especially around the Baltic Sea, even if the British conductor was careful not to over-egg that noblimente that others heard in Jacquot’s Second.

Then again, Sir Adrian Boult’s Elgar (live performances, at least) were always imbued with that radical edge and savage loneliness – with something near Jacquot’s sense of what Elgar himself called ‘the mighty engine’ of the orchestra, which meant the symphonic Elgar could never be considered imperial or even particularly ‘establishment’ whatever the orientation of the man who wrote it. Elgar may still have much to tell us about England – not least about an England perennially unable to cope with the new way of things and certainly unable to cope with art. Perhaps that’s why we’d do well not to consider his music all that English anymore, even if Elgar himself most certainly was – through and through. AM

Listen to the DNSO’s Elgar 2 under Marie Jacquot

Listen to the Malmö Symphony Orchestra’s Elgar 1 under Martyn Brabbins (link coming soon)


Fischer in Copenhagen

After wowing the world with their Beethoven symphonies, Ádám Fischer and his Danish orchestra of 25 years will return to the Hungarian conductor’s first love this winter: Haydn. It won’t be any less dramatic.

[This article originally appeared, in Danish, in the December 2020 edition of Klassisk]

It’s official: if you want to buy someone a new Beethoven recording this Christmas, it should be the composer’s complete symphonies from the Danish Chamber Orchestra and its conductor Ádám Fischer. The juries of the Opus Klassik and International Classical Music Awards think so, anyway. ‘I find these performances utterly fascinating,’ concluded Gramophone magazine in the UK. ‘These renditions showcase Beethoven’s revolutionary side in a way few other sets even get close to,’ wrote America’s Fanfare.

When I hear Fischer rehearsing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in the basement of the DR Concert Hall in Copenhagen on a Tuesday afternoon in September, there is not so much revolution in the air as fascination. Fischer and the musicians seem more interested in how the music works than in its political message. The quietness attracts them as much the loudness. It’s all about the detail: how one phrase tapers down and another one begins.

The rehearsal finishes early. Moments later I look up from my chair in the corner to see Fischer stood at my feet – a 72-year-old with the proportions and agility of a pre-pubescent boy. He wants to do the interview right away, so he can listen to some of the orchestra’s musicians playing chamber music before they go home. We head from this distinctive space with its stencilled wall murals of great musicians – Van Morrison and yes, Adám Fischer among them – to his dressing room. We start with Beethoven.

Good Orchestras / Bad Orchestras

It was the former boss of this orchestra’s previous incarnation the DR Sinfonietta, Tatjana Kandel, whom we have to thank for the Beethoven – and for bringing Fischer to Denmark in the first place. ‘It was very much her idea and she was insistent,’ says Fischer of the executive who now decides what the DR Symphony Orchestra plays. ‘So I conducted Beethoven, it went well, and they wanted to record it all. I asked why: there are so many recordings already. But we did, and just before we got to the Ninth, catastrophe.’

He refers to the disbanding of the chamber orchestra by DR, after which the ensemble reformed with private funding, retaining Fischer as its conductor and assuming the Anglicised moniker Danish Chamber Orchestra. Is it true that in the early years after the split from DR in 2014, he offered to conduct for free? ‘Oh yes. I mean, I can’t always afford to because I have a big family, but I wanted to. I wanted to save the orchestra.’ Were there times when he felt like walking away? ‘No, because I was angry. I was angry at the people who didn’t understand anything about it and I wanted to prove them wrong.’

He may not have proved them wrong, exactly. The orchestra’s current success has arguably proved it didn’t need DR’s parenting. Still, its rebirth is compared by Fischer to a fairytale: ‘We got a second life. Nobody would have thought it, but we did.’ Over the next few years, the privately funded orchestra re-recorded all of the Beethoven symphonies, this time including the Ninth. It was a blessing in disguise, says Fisher: the new recordings were much better than the originals.

The sound of the DCO in classical and early romantic repertoire is unique because it has been formed over more than two decades, Fischer explains. ‘I can do things with this orchestra that I can’t to anywhere else, partly because nobody works with them on this repertoire except for me and because we have been working on it for years – we pick up where we left off. I did Beethoven’s Eroica with the Vienna Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic last year. They were great concerts but it would have been very, very dangerous to try the things we do here, with the rubato and so on.’ A few hours later, a DCO musician describes to me the atmosphere Fischer creates as ‘very liberating indeed.’

Fischer talks about ingrained traditions in playing Beethoven, explaining that limited rehearsal time means conductors ‘keep always with the tempo’ whereas a pianist or cellist playing Beethoven will tend to move more freely, as the DCO does. ‘I always know, if there is a guest joining us who is used to playing in another orchestra: they will enter early during one of our long pauses.’

There is no more experienced conductor than Fischer currently working in Denmark. He has conducted Wagner at Bayreuth, is an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera and regularly works with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Dresden Staatskapelle. Does he believe in the hierarchies that put those orchestras above all others? ‘Of course the sound of the Staatskapelle is something else. Same with Vienna, which has a long tradition that I admire. But there is no “best” orchestra even if the Americans want to list them No 1, No 2 and so on. That’s not what interpretation is about. I am paid to give an orchestra an interesting challenge: to open its fantasies and allow it to play differently. Like a stage director, you have to find out the personality of the actor and use it. That’s why there’s no way I’d ask the Vienna Philharmonic to use the same bowings we use here.’ On a video interview published by the Berliner Philharmoniker, Fischer’s work in Denmark is a major discussion point: ‘we have developed something unique,’ the conductor tells the Berlin oboe player Christoph Hartmann.

Back to Haydn

When the young Ádám was 4, his father took him to hear a performance of Haydn’s Symphony No 94, the ‘Surprise’, and informed him that the ‘surprise’ in question would be a sudden, loud timpani thwack. But the moment had none of the impact the young boy was expecting, and he knew who was to blame. When his father took him backstage to meet the conductor, Fischer asked why the timpani stroke had not been louder. ‘When you grow up,’ the conductor apparently said to the 4-year-old, ‘you can become a conductor and can have that timpani stroke as loud as you like.’

Fischer would become the first conductor to record all 106 symphonies by Haydn, recordings he has since grown frustrated with and claims he would do differently. ‘Haydn has been with me all my life,’ he says; ‘Beethoven’s symphonies would not be what they are without the passion and drama of the symphonies of Haydn. People say he’s nice and harmless, but that’s the worst thing you can say about Haydn. If you play it like that, it just sounds boring.’

On 1 January, Fischer will extend the tradition he established in 2018 of performing Haydn’s the oratorio The Creation to start the New Year in Budapest. This time, however, the orchestra will be the DCO, following a performance in Copenhagen on 6 December. The oratorio, first heard in Vienna in 1798, is described by Fischer as the composer’s ‘crowning achievement’; it is seen as a pinnacle of enlightenment thinking, placing the Biblical creation story in inverted commas while celebrating the spirit of mankind, human love and the beauty of the earth. ‘It has everything in it,’ says Fischer; ‘it represents a fresh start – far better music for the New Year than Viennese waltzes or even Beethoven.’

The plans were laid long before the pandemic hit, but there are few better pieces with which to reboot after a global crisis than this: ‘it is about a new world arising,’ Fischer says. Haydn himself had some pertinent words about his own piece. In 1802, he responded to a fan-letter with a description of how he wrote The Creation: ‘When I was struggling with all kinds of obstacles, a secret voice would whisper to me: “there are so few happy and contented people in this world, sorrow and grief follow them everywhere; perhaps your labour will become a source…from which they will derive peace and refreshment.”’

Fischer admits that the work has taken on new poignancy given the state of the planet. Otherwise, he approaches the piece like a child in a candy store. He relishes its depiction of insects and lions – demonstrating different styles of roaring and buzzing for me. ‘I see it as very naïve and honest, just like the paintings of Giotto. And the naïve way to look at it is also the wisest, rather like how children open their eyes and see how beautiful the world is. The end is just perfect, with Adam and Eve: nature is beautiful, but not without love.’

New World Order

Fischer’s appreciation of nature has taken on new resonance since the lockdown closed Europe in March. He spent the first three months in his brother-in-law’s house on a nature reserve outside Hamburg. ‘That was a completely new experience in my life,’ he says; ‘unfortunately I liked it very much! I didn’t do anything. There were a lot of animals and sea birds and very few humans. It was an interesting experience. I had philosophical thoughts but soon I started to think about the challenges facing the profession. For a while it looked like the conductor’s profession was in danger: all sorts of musicians could play together but we are the only ones who need 30 or 40 other people to join in.’

For the next three months, live music started to creep back – including in Düsseldorf, where Fischer is Principal Conductor of the city’s symphony orchestra. ‘In Düsseldorf, having not played for three months, we started to play again but people didn’t dare to come. Even those who logged on to our livestreams and were very enthusiastic about it didn’t come to the concerts. Of course there was as special intensity from the musicians but some of them were afraid of the virus too. It will take a lot of time before it’s back to how it was.’

A silver lining, for Fischer, is the shift in repertoire that naturally followed. ‘The last 100 years have been very bad for chamber music,’ he says, ‘maybe because people feel that for their money there must be a lot of people on stage who play very loud. A collateral benefit of the whole Covid-19 story is that chamber music is more important. I also see that the big orchestras like the Vienna Philharmonic are now being forced to discover Haydn and Mozart again because they can’t play their Bruckner and Mahler. That is a development.’

The man who showed such solidarity with his stricken DCO also argues fiercely for the protection of freelance and period-instrument orchestras who didn’t have salaries to fall back on when the lockdown started. ‘The best musicians are freelance,’ he says; ‘I am dead against the injustice in the system: that if you play a modern instrument you can have a salary and if you play on a period instrument then you can’t. It means the specialists in Bach and so on suffer much more as do musicians like these [DCO]. That’s why we wanted to do the Beethoven, to have a project for these musicians.’

He has been just as outspoken on more sensitive issues, such as the collapse in democracy in his native Hungary, where the Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has curtailed the press and rigged the judiciary. ‘I left Hungary in 1969, before your father was born,’ he laughs. ‘I’m very unhappy about what happens there but my own father knew it: he said after the iron curtain fell, that Hungary would become a fascist country. I am very sorry to say that he was right.’

Despite not living in Hungary for half a century, Fischer still works there regularly and oversees two annual events in Budapest, including the annual Wagner festival in June. Has he ever felt pressure to behave in a certain way? ‘Yes. If I speak about Hungarian politics to a Vienna newspaper then they get angry. And I was told, if I continue like this I will lose the money for my festivals.’ So why does he continue to speak out? ‘If I am not worth a concert, they should not book me. If I am worth a concert then they should book me and pay me regardless of what I am saying.’

The message of The Creation is an optimistic one – rebirth and all its opportunity. Fischer’s conversation is scattered with laughter; his big grin and short neck give him the appearance of a benevolent monkey. Surely, after everything that happened with his Danish orchestra, he is optimistic about the future? ‘I hope that the EU will survive, that we still start listening to smart people, and that democracy will fight against fake news and social media. I want to be optimistic. But we are on the brink of…’ And with that, there’s a knock at the dressing room door, and Fischer is whisked away.

Ádám Fischer

Born 1949

Sang with his brother Iván (conductor of the Budapest Festival Orchestra) as one of the Three Boys in Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the Hungarian National Opera; as an adult he would become the company’s Music Director before resigning in protest

Studied with Hans Swarowsky in Vienna and Franco Ferrara in Sienna

Debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1973; a long collaboration followed, and he was made an Honorary Member of the company in 2017

Founded the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra in 1987, uniting musicians from either side of the iron curtain

Appointed chief conductor of the DR Sinfonietta in 1998