He was invited by
Accent on youth:
Seiji Ozawa to join
as assistant conduc-
is the guest
tor in 1998.
performer in the
"Boston was a
ence for me, not
July 12 and 13.
only musically but
says. "I made a lot
of friends in the orchestra, and I feel
very close to the city. It was very
important to live in a different place
with a different set of values."
When Volkov starts working with
the BBC Scottish Symphony in
January, he will be the youngest con-
ductor to ever lead a BBC orchestra.
He first conducted these musicians in
1999 and has since worked with them
on three occasions.
In his new post, he will conduct
about 26 performances over 12 weeks
each season and will be at the fore-
front of the orchestra's continuing
commitment to contemporary music,
especially that of Scottish composers.
Volkov, now based in Rome, has
performed with the Jerusalem, Israel
and Haifa symphony orchestras. He
decided to live in Italy for a time
because it's not very far from Israel or
the United Kingdom.
"I work in Israel about once a year
and go back three or four times a year
because almost all of my family is
there," Volkov says. "I come from a
very non-religious family, but the
identity of being Jewish is very impor-
tant to me."
Volkov, who enjoys being surround-
ed by the arts in Italy, considers him-
self a bit of a gypsy. He has made one
recording on a Danish label and, is
planning recordings for the BBC.
"In the field of conducting, there
are no limits to the ideas to pursue,"
Volkov says. "I'm trying to be open
to many pieces from early music to
contemporary music. I also would
like to do other things, like organiz-
ing an art center.
"Usually, when I go to a new orches-
tra, there are some minutes of sensing,
`Oh, he's so young,' but that passes. I
don't think my age plays much of a
difference. The orchestra always
expects a lot, and they should." ❑
Ilan Volkov conducts the Detroit
Symphony Orchestra 8 p.m. Friday
and Saturday, July 12 and 13, at
the Meadow Brook Music Festival.
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