Three questions for Andris Nelsons
How important is the role of logistics when you’re on tour with the Gewandhausorchester?
Logistics for an orchestral tour are of crucial importance – the precision of the planning is the foundation that the musicians depend upon. If everything is running smoothly, and all is arranged and in place at the right time, the musicians can relax and put all their energy and focus into the performance and into the music. The Gewandhausorchester is a particularly large orchestra with 185 musicians, making the arrangements surrounding a tour all the more intricate – we certainly do not take the logistics for granted.
What other parallels do you see between music and logistics?
In one sense, the precision of DHL’s day-to-day work, where every minute detail is critical for the success of the delivery, for ensuring that the greater chain of equally important tasks is not broken, can be brought into connection with an orchestra’s work. An orchestra performs from the score of a composer, and all the notes are played in a certain order within a certain rhythmic frame – without following this order, there would be chaos. However, the essence of performing and making music depends on what lies “between” the notes, on what the music is expressing and what feelings are evoked. Therefore, musical “logistics” are not enough to create a successful performance, because music is an artform, dependent on the power and beauty of emotions and of the individual’s inner world. Nevertheless, coming back to the important work that DHL does for so many people around the world, ultimately, I would imagine that the content of a package is the most important aspect of every delivery – and so, just like the audience is not just expecting to hear only notes that are written, but have an emotional experience, the customers expecting a package not only appreciate its timely delivery, but are grateful recipients of everything important lying within.
How is the Gewandhausorchester holding up during the COVID crisis without being able to perform?
Performing music has everything to do with communication and sharing the joy of music – and this time, a time during which we are not able to perform before an audience and cancellations have accumulated to an unprecedented extent, continues to be extremely hard for everyone at the Gewandhaus and musicians and music institutions around the world. Especially in times that are hard, we need music to feed our souls, to discover a source of comfort, beauty and hope. Despite the opportunities to play in smaller ensembles, and come together as an orchestra for various recording projects – opportunities which we relish and which have brought us much joy – we yearn for the day when we can connect with our wonderful and loyal audiences again. This most important aspect of performing, having our listeners around us, cannot be substituted, and we miss it so very much. Teamwork and mutual support are needed more than ever, and I am so thankful to be surrounded by a great team of musicians and colleagues working at the Gewandhaus, whose hard work and motivation and hope has been inspirational. Furthermore, we are all so grateful for the strength of our supportive friendship with DHL, a partnership invaluable to us – and we look forward to a future together long after we have overcome the difficulties we all face at present. In the meanwhile, we look forward to continuing to find ways to spread joy with music, and receiving many a Christmas parcel this festive season!