Albert ehrnrooth

Journalist & Cultural Commentator

Julian Rachlin

on Bernstein

Opening Concert, HERBSTGOLD Festival 2023 (c) Andreas Tischler

Julian Rachlin (b. 1974 ) is a violinist, violist and conductor. On top of that he is the director of the Herbstgold festival in the Austrian town of Eisenstadt.

I’m aware of very few festivals that can boast a venue as spectacular as the Esterházy Palace where this classical music festival (including the odd jazz concert) is held every year in September. Joseph Haydn was for 40 years the resident composer of the Esterházy princes. He lived just around the corner. The Haydnsaal, the former banquet room, with its baroque ceiling paintings and Biedermeier wall decorations, is renowned for its perfect acoustics.

Over the two week period that the Herbstgold festival lasts Julian Rachlin appears in a number of different concerts both as a soloist, conductor and chamber musician.

Rachlin was born in Lithuania, but moved at an early age with his musician parents to Vienna, where he studied the violin at the Conservatory.

Pinchas Zukerman was one of his most influential teachers. The conductor Mariss Jansons was a family friend and it was he who recommended Julian’s own mother as his conducting teacher.

After, initially reluctantly, studying with the ¨person who taught me how to hold a tootbrush and a fork ¨, Julian decided after five years to show Jansons what he had learnt. The Chief Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra watched him closely and then said that Julian had a problem. He would have to give up his violin career and fully devote himself to conducting.

Schloss Esterházy Haydnsaal (c) Josef Siffert

Julian respectfully disagreed and instead decided to do both, playing and conducting, often at the same time.

Julian Rachlin (c) Vasilka Balevska

This podcast focuses mainly on Julian Rachlin’s encounters and audition for Leonard Bernstein, who he admired greatly.

Julian Rachlin is looking forward to the release of Maestro, Bradley Cooper’s biopic about Leonard Bernstein. I believe this podcast is a funny and warm tribute to the great American composer, musician and conductor.

Next year’s Herbstgold festival features such mega musicians as Martha Argerich, Bryn Terfel and Yefim Bronfman.

Albert Ehrnrooth September 2023

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