Howwould youdescribeBerlin?What kindof city is it,whatkindofpeopleare there, what makes it special? Of course I lovemygoodoldhometown. The people are fast and pretty self-confident. The way we talk... Berlin has a lot of top things, but for sure I can recommend all the orchestras there. Each one is fantastic. I mostly head to the city to conduct now – a nice feeling as a former student there, which I was 25 years ago. It was in that city that you learned to playmusic, having come fromamusical family. Yet, youknewthat youwant to be a conductor. Why a conductor? Myparentswere takingme tosymphonic concerts from a very early age (six or seven). I sawtheseguys in front of theorchestras andwanted todo that. It was like an instinct. Today you are the Chief Conductor of theDortmundPhilharmonicOrchestra, but youworked in Stuttgart for a long time. Can you briefly present this city; whatmakes ituniqueandwhatdoyou like about it? Stuttgart is really a typical German city. High quality of life, lots of cars, it is known as “car-town”, because Mercedes and Porsche are located there, but also has a lot of culture, with three major orchestras. I have a lifelong connected to that city, having had more than 375 performances at the fabulous Stuttgart Philharmonic. Can you imagine how strong this feeling is? Andall thisbringsus toBelgrade.Have you managed to find something special here for yourself?What doyou like apart from our Philharmonic? I moved to Belgrade ten years ago and this is nowmy secondhometown. I don’t see myself as a guest, no longer as a foreigner. My wish is this: to be part of this wonderful place, to serve – together with the excellent Belgrade Philharmonic – the people of Belgrade; to invite them to joinmusic of geniuses performed with energy and hearts filled with passion. Okay, nowyoucan tell uswhyyou love our Philharmonic. You talkabout passion and energy, are those the most important elements for good music? Making music is a profession. It is not a job. You give a lot as a musician – above all an amazing volume of hours, days, months and years of your life to practise, study and perform music. You must be ready to give that sacrifice in front of all the masters we have–Mozart, Beethoven,Mahler, Rachmaninov and many more, these are only examples. And everyone in the orchestra is doing this. They all play with me with a holy flame of love for music in their hearts, I can feel this. Do youhave favourite composers; what do you prefer to play or conduct? I conduct a repertoire fromJohann Sebastian Bach to modern composers of today like Thomas Adès, Wolfgang Rihm, Lera Auerbach or Christian Jost. Of course I have preferences: Beethoven, Bruckner, Mahler, Wagner, Rachmaninov, but also Béla Bartók or ErichWolfgang Korngold. As a pianist, I had some fairly goodtechnical skillsasastudent andgraduated University with Liszt’s Piano Sonata in Bminor. But nowadays I canonly playmucheasier stuff. Howdoyoufeelabout thepreviousopenairconcerts,whichprovedreallyspectacular? They did a lot to popularise classical music... That’s right, and especially in Belgrade the open-air concert is a phenomenon. About 30,000people listened toour orchestra! I don´t know of a similar situation worldwide. Howdidyoudecide this year toplayDisney’s Fantasia? What can we expect of this concert? A very famous classical film – a masterpiece of the genre. Accompanied by a dozen orchestral pieces that are also very known. It should be a perfect combination for a summer Sunday in Belgrade.