Libor Pesek

JOE BATES is charmed by the second-language email speak of Libor Pesek, the soon to be guest conductor of CUMS 1, as he talks of his love of Czech music and the excitement of working with our student musicians.

cums i interview libor pesek

Earlier this month we emailed a list of questions to Libor Pesek, soon-to-be guest conductor of CUMS I. His charming answers reached us earlier this week. I’ve decided to present them here unedited – the sincerity of his defence of Czech music shines through his second-language email speak.

You are famous as a promoter of Czech music and your programme for your concert in Cambridge is of exclusively Czech work. What is your relationship to this repertoire? Do you feel that Czech music is still neglected?

Czech music in Britain is certainly not neglected, on the contrary. In 1986 I’ve presented a totally unknown Asrael Symphony by Josef Suk, and since then I was pushed by public and the orchestra itself to bring more and more of lesser known Czech music. My relationship to his repertoire is natural and spontaneous. No wonder.

Is Czech music more appreciated inside the Czech Republic?
In Czech Republic is our music appreciated as a part of world repertoire. No special preferences.

The pieces you have picked are by fairly well known composers, and you are best known for your recordings of Dvorak symphonies. Do you worry that there is a limited space for the less heard composers such as Suk, Novak and Martinu that you champion? Why is this?
I don’t feel that Suk, Novak, Martinu or others receive less attention. The Dvorak Symphonies may naturally prevail as they are so accessible.

What is your relationship with contemporary Czech music?
I used to be an ardent promoter of Czech contemporary music. I don’t feel that it still holds. Something happened, be it me, or contemporary music itself.

Do you worry about becoming pigeonholed as a conductor?
I do not exactly know what pigeonholed means, but I feel generally comfortable with my deal.

Have you conducted students before? How does it differ from professional musicians?
More demanding, inexplicably slightly frightening. Merciless.

Your recordings feature on a variety of excerpt based CDs, such as 50 Ultimate Essential Classical Songs For Your Baby and 100 Of Classical Music’s Greatest Moments. How do you feel about the dominance of such CDs in the classical market? Are they something you enjoy being involved in?
Any popularization of classical music welcome. Needn’t say the “full screen” classical recordings are a different breed. They involve the whole structure and the necessary long way to the big tunes.

What music do you enjoy listening to? Do you listen to any non-classical music?
I prefer listening to big band jazz.

Is there anything else you would like to add? What would you say to the players who will be involved in your concert?
I am anxious to meet you!