Interview with Petr Wagner: I’m a chronic experimenter
It’s easy to talk with someone who has a lot to say. It’s difficult to pose questions to someone who can give answers. And it’s even more difficult with someone who, when answering, asks you questions in return. Petr Wagner, a passionate Czech gambist, manager and conductor of the baroque Ensemble Tourbillon is very direct, a chronic experimenter, in his own words, and his energy seems boundless. Pondering what to write about Petr Wagner as an introduction, a whole lot more ideas spring to mind.
Enjoy this interview with him as much as Petr enjoys his life, music and last, but not least, Angelato ice-cream.
You’re a keen musician. Why did you decide to enter this profession?
Out of love for music, of course! Since I was a child, music-both classical and other-has surrounded me, which can’t have but led to its consequences.
Your concerts have atypical programmes. How do you create your projects?
The atypical format is decided by the character of the music I play itself. It’s baroque music, which has a slightly different time and emotional course from a Romantic symphony or a rock song. Baroque music is interesting and irregular, always pulsing, yet rarely boring. So what I do is I put compositions one after another and in different contexts they always come out with a little different meaning. I hope you can hear it at my concerts, as well.
Is it about creativity, spells and the magic of music?
It’s like making a new ice-cream. The technology remains the same, but the content is always new, different and exciting. You can call it magic if you like, but I don’t really believe in such terms. Having said that, if you play for a responsive, music-loving audience that is tuned in, there is a certain energy exchange. It can get very, very strong at times.
Do you like to experiment?
Very much. I experiment with new musical instruments all the time, I like to test better and better bows and strings, I enjoy discovering and uncovering new compositions, unknown composers and music styles from centuries gone by. Yes, I’d say I am a chronic experimenter, both in music and life…
Do music and food belong together?
Sure! On the other hand, I don’t like to see good-quality music being played while someone is eating, be it live music or reproduction. I am of the opinion that high-quality music and food alike deserve your undivided attention. The pleasure can get only greater if you perceive them separately.
What cuisine do you like? How does it attract you?
First of all smells, then colours, content and if it all rhymes with my taste, I’m absolutely convinced I’ll love it!
Are you what you eat?
I really don’t know… Do I look like a pistachio nut, cream, chocolate or asparagus? You tell me!
Which ice-cream do you fancy?
I’m obsessed with chocolate sorbet, pistachio, Parmesan, mango, rice and… in fact, any ice-cream you offer. But now I’ve got to have the rhubarb one!
Are you? I’ll take it as a compliment – thank you.
What are your music plans for the future? Anything ahead?
Next week I have a concert and I’m giving a lecture in Florence, then in Amsterdam and the Hague. Very soon my new CD with a phenomenal guest soprano, Hana Blažíková, will be released. And I’m also planning to drop in on you to get some of that rhubarb ice-cream. As you see – I’m a busy man.
What’s your motto?
Don’t know, let me think… What about: ‘Live every day as if it were your last.’