Athena of the Clarinet‘Destiny’ would probably be the best word to describe Sabine Meyer and her instrument: she started with piano and organ, but at eight, it became clear to her that clarinet is her true love. Her father, brother and husband are all clarinetist; in 1983, she formed the Trio di Clarone with her family. She made international headlines when Herbert von Karajan brought her on board, but was later voted out by members of the Berlin Philharmonic. Nevertheless, this unpleasant event pushed her to pursue a solo career, and it has been proved to be a brilliant one. This year, she opens the 42nd Hong Kong Arts Festival with Mozart’s much loved Clarinet Concerto, accompanied by Markus Stenz and Cologne’s Guerzenich Orchestra, which was established in 1827 and premiered works by Richard Strauss, Brahms and Mahler. Here, Sabine Meyer talks about her music and life.
In HKAF, you are bringing the much loved Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto to HK audience. To you, what is most important when performing this masterpiece?
For me this is the best wind-concerto at all. Playing this concerto with the basset clarinet is especially exciting for me.
Would you tell us about your collaboration with conductor Markus Stenz and the Guerzenich Orchestra Cologne?
The Gurzenich Orchestra has a long tradition – many famous pieces (Strauß for example) have had their world premiere with the orchestra. I do like the orchestra very much, as it is one of the traditional ones with outstanding quality. They do have a good sound and play with flexibility. Stenz is a congenial conductor with whom I worked several times. He is a good listener and accompanist. He is not selfish; he only cares for the music and not for himself.
Who would you regard as your inspiration?
There have been many conductors and musicians with unforgettable concerts. And the ones I enjoyed working with the most weren’t always the most famous…
Your father, brother and husband are all clarinetists. What is it like being surrounded by family members who play the same instrument?
It’s great, very inspiring and enriching. Everyone has the same understanding for the respective problems – and it’s easier to play music together, especially chamber music when you know each other well.
You are teaching in Germany and has nurtured many young artists, including Julian Bliss. What is your advice for young clarinetists who would like to pursue a musical career?
Stay curious and keep your love in music, which is not always easy as a professional. Remain true to yourself, and take you steps one by one.
How do you find balance between your many roles in life? As a performer, teacher, wife and mother?
I enjoy the gift of a wonderful relationship. I keep addicted to my leisure activities and find myself being in nature.
As a clarinetist, it is so important to have a strong health. How do you keep fit?
Swimming and sports at all, outdoor activities and good food.
PEDRO HALFFTER -SABINE MEYER – MOZART Concierto para clarinete -PROKOFIEV Sinfonía nº5