Page 1 of 13
Hilversum, 25 April 2005
Meeting Vladimir Ashkenazy for an interview can seem a daunting task. How to squeeze in an appointment in his very busy schedule? After his concert in Amsterdam in July 2004 with the NHK Symphony Orchestra he was willing, but immediately asked: “The question is when and where?” Thankfully, he came with a solution himself: “I will be in Hilversum in the Netherlands to record a CD at the end of April 2005.” Willem Boone and Jeroen Vonhögen spoke with Vladimir Ashkenazy, who was recording Respighi with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in one of the Dutch radio studios in Hilversum. The interview took place in the canteen, where the conductor and pianist had lunch, together with his wife Dody.
Willem Boone (WB): If I look at your achievements, the number of records you have made, the concerts for many decades both as a pianist and a conductor, the amount of works you have played, it is simply mind-boggling. Where do you get the energy from to do all this?
Vladimir Ashkenazy (VA): From my parents, I suppose (laughs)... Let me get my wife, she is lost (walks away and comes back with his wife Dody)
WB: Are you indeed such a well-organized person as they say? Someone has said: “If you give Ashkenazy one hour, he’ll work for two hours”
VA: People talk too much, I don’t know...
Dody Ashkenazy (DA): Yes, you are extremely organized!
WB: Are you a quick learner?
VA: Fortunately, yes, I am, but many people are, that’s nothing special... All my friends are quick learners. I am a quick sight-reader, that’s a gift.