Status: 11/22/2021 11:59 p.m.

Kent Nagano has been General Director of Music at the Hamburg State Opera and President of the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra since the 2015/16 season. He celebrated his 70th birthday on November 22.

Listen to the post
3 minutes

by Frederick Westerhouse

In a good mood, Kent Nagano sits in his office at the opera and lets his gaze wander over the rooftops of Hamburg. Does he have a wish for his 70th birthday? “I think I already have the best birthday present because I’m doing two Electra rehearsals on my birthday. I would, and it’s already there now. Two exercises on his day that suit him. Because it is at home in music.

A California citizen of Japanese descent is a citizen of the world. He was president in Lyon, Manchester, Los Angeles, Berlin, Munich and others. His home is music. In his book “10 Lessons From My Life – What Really Matters”, he writes that he thinks “about every note of the score, about every aspect, always from different angles”. Sounds like a perfectionist.

Team spirit is especially important to Kent Nagano

My voice: Kent Nagano conducting Kanata Mahler “Das klagende Lied” (62 min)

The conductor says, “You can be really obsessed, and that’s not good for the art. On the other hand, every artist that I know and respect – we’re all great at trying to get the perfect vision. So perfect that we already know it’s impossible. So yes, at least that’s what my wife says, I’m a perfectionist.

Kent Nagano is admired for his clear and thoughtful reading of scores, and appreciated for his calm and balanced style. In his role as general manager of music in Hamburg, the idea of ​​the team takes on a special meaning: “We all try to be honest in this really frank house, and we try to set priorities well. This priority to quality is very clear.

Humility is the hardest lesson

Kent Nagano shaped Hamburg’s musical life for six years, ranging from Hector Berlioz’s “Troins” to pieces commissioned by Toshio Hosokawa and Jörg Weidmann. Kent Nagano is full of energy and vision, full of ideas for new projects. He retained his curiosity and still considers himself an educated person.

One of the most difficult lessons is: “Humility. Without humility, you will not progress as an artist. Otherwise, we are pessimistic, that is to say, we know everything, we know everything. And when the time comes, we are no longer artists.

This topic is on the agenda:

NDR Culture | Classic by day | 22/11/2021 | 06:40

NDR.  logo