Conductor Martin Panteleev is coming to his favourite city to regroup and conduct concerts with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. He spoke to PETA STEWART about his busy schedule:

Conductor Martin Panteleev: interview

After 11 concerts in a New Year’s concert tour with the Westphalia Festival Orchestra in Germany, conductor Martin Panteleev will be in Cape Town with the CPO before returning to conduct the  Würth Philharmonic Orchestra, also in Germany, in February.

Panteleev will conduct the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the CPO’s 13th International Summer Music Festival; Victor Yampolsky will conduct the final two, plus the finals of the 4th Len van Zyl Conductors’ Competition.

This conductor is used to festivals and festival atmospheres, for he established and runs two of his own where he is music director and also a violinist, the second of the three careers he maintains along with conducting and composing. The Barth Festival began in 2000 and takes place in a lovely town on the Baltic Sea. The second, started last year in a town very close to his home in Frickingen on Lake Konstanz, came about as a result of several successful appearances Panteleev and his pianist wife Lida gave in the art society’s brand new concert hall.

While Panteleev loves performing as a violinist and with his wife plays many recitals locally and abroad, he often appears as a soloist and conductor. He recently was both on the island of Madeira, where he also conducted his own composition, Archetypes. “It is always very special to be ‘3 in 1’”, he says. Apart from Archetypes, he has written three symphonies, a concerto for percussion, a cantata for choir, soloists and orchestra and a violin sonata.

Likes to cook and read cards …

Apart from enjoying his family (he and Lida have a son and a daughter), he loves to cook (“Asian-style recipes, or food from eastern Europe, like Gulasch or Gyuvech. Or, if I want to seduce someone I do a Tiramisu”).

He also loves reading the Tarot cards.

Martin Panteleev

“Lots of secrets are hidden in those mystical cards and I am very careful with asking them questions. I also use the cards for meditation. Sometimes they really can talk and tell a story from the previous centuries…”

Panteleev, who was principal guest conductor of the CPO from 2012 – 2106 and Chief Conductor of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, grew up in Sofia, in Bulgaria. He was also Associate Conductor of the Philharmonie of the Nations, founded by Leonard Bernstein and Justus Frantz, where he performed more than 1,000 concerts as violinist and conductor. There’s no doubt that his destiny was to be music. His parents were both professional musicians  — his father played principal clarinet in the Sofia Philharmonic; his mother was principal viola in the Sofia State Opera. His older brother Vesko (now concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam) also had an impact – Panteleev, six years younger, grew up to the sounds of Vesko’s violin and mastered the melodies before he was four. The next step was formal lessons and five years later he was already on tour with the Young Philharmonie Pioneer Orchestra.

All in the family

Of course his children may also have been pre-destined – Moana (13) and Martin (10) both play the violin and Moana also plays the clarinet, but that of course doesn’t mean they will become professional musicians.

Panteleev can be seen conducting clarinettists Daniel Prozesky and Junnan Sun, who will perform the Krommer Double Clarinet Concerto on January 31 2019. The main work on the programme will be the Symphony No. 8 by Dvorak.

What:   13th International Summer Music Festival with Martin Panteleev, conductor

Where and when: Cape Town City Hall on 31 January 2019

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