26 Nov 2015 906
PortoBay Hotels & Resorts

This is my home in São Paulo

After more than an hundred nights spent at the L'Hotel PortoBay São Paulo, mostly coinciding with performances by the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, the Brazilian conductor Isaac Karabtchevsky feels at home here.  

We caught him on one of his visits to find out a little more about the famous musician's life, of which PortoBay Hotels & Resorts has been a part for several years . .. 

When did music first appear in your life ? 

When I was very young, since I came from a musical family with a big musical tradition. Listening to records and artists who came to my house, I was able to establish a very deep connection with music in all its forms. Sometimes talent emerges completely unexpectedly. In my case, there was a base that was rooted in tradition. 

Who are your favourite composers ? 

I believe the bible of all conductors to be Mozart, Beethoven and Bach. We are viscerally linked to those composers. I also identify with composers that have an important message, like Gustav Mahler, Anton Bruckner, Heitor Villa-Lobos, well, the list goes on and on . .. 

You returned to São Paulo from Europe after 30 years . .. 

I had already been doing some projects in Europe and Brazil at the same time, such as directing the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, which I led for 26 years.

When it was summer there and winter here, I was able to do a great deal of work on both continents. But I wasn't able to take any holidays. ..  

In Europe, I worked mostly in Vienna, then in Venice and most recently in France. This allowed me to create deep connections with musicians from other countries, which has been an extremely beneficial experience for my work in Brazil. 

What are you working on now in São Paulo ? 

I work in two apparently very distinguish sectors.  

I work with the orchestra in the disadvantaged community of Heliópolis, which is formed by musicians from the favela itself, who perform a true miracle in terms of implementing and understanding styles that they are not accustomed to. It is exemplary work, dealing with different composers with the same precision and the same sense of aesthetics. It makes me truly happy.  

On the other hand, I am also at the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, where I have been working on a full recording of the symphonies of Villa Lobos. 

Did you find any kind of prejudice in relation to classical music in Heliópolis ? 

When I arrived, the structure was already been set up: a wonderful building in the middle of the favela with 33 classrooms, which now reaches about 1,400 young people in the community.  

There is no movement in the country as well developed for training young people who would otherwise not have the chance to go to a music school. 

What is your greatest accomplishment ? 

There have been several. Taking the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra to Europe, which was an ambitious project. It was the first Brazilian orchestra to travel abroad.

Striking concerts, like Symphony No. 8 on Copacabana beach, with a very eclectic repertoire and a hundred thousand people listening. But the cherry on top of the cake is the Heliópolis project. 

What would you like for the future ? 

I would very much like to have something like in New York in Brazil, where they bring together several theatres in one place — the Lincoln Centre.  

If we were able to create a project that brought the arts together in the same place, so that the audience could leave one performance and go into another . .. That would be a dream come true !!

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