Gustavo Gimeno ready to conduct the OPL. Gimeno spoke with Delano as part of the #CelebratingLuxembourg series.
Celebrating Luxembourg: Gustavo Gimeno
Born in Valencia, Gustavo Gimeno began his international conducting career in 2012, when he was a member of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. He has been music director of the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg since 2015 and recently extended his contract until 2022.
Gustavo Gimeno is the latest personality to be featured in the “Celebrating Luxembourg” series published by Delano and its sister publications in the Maison Moderne stable.
France Clarinval: How did you end up in Luxembourg?
Gustavo Gimeno: The Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg invited me to conduct a project while they were searching for a new music director.
France Clarinval: What do you appreciate most about living in Luxembourg?
Gustavo Gimeno: That mix of being in a small place with its own culture, but open minded and international. I very much enjoy living in the centre, which allows me to access everything in the same area while maintaining a cosy and relaxed atmosphere that suits me very well.
France Clarinval: What do you miss about your home country?
Gustavo Gimeno: Sincerely, nothing really…I am happy enjoying the things and aspects every place has to offer without thinking of “what I miss”. And I hope to keep it that way, since I am always travelling for my work.
France Clarinval: What are the 3 most important moments in your career?
Gustavo Gimeno: Having worked as an assistant conductor to prominent conductors as Mariss Jansons and Claudio Abbado; my debut with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam and the Munich Philharmonic; and becoming music director of the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg
France Clarinval: How music culture developed in Luxembourg?
Gustavo Gimeno: The Philharmonie is an internationally recognised venue, which is very important not only for Luxembourg and its citizens, but also for the visibility of the country internationally. It is important to continue working in this direction and maintain that recognition. Nevertheless, it is extremely important to support musical education in all schools and making music part of the life of the new generations. Access to music and to the other arts is vital to make us better human beings.
France Clarinval: Luxembourg is supposed to be “reliable, dynamic and open” according to the nation branding headlines. Do you agree?
Gustavo Gimeno: Absolutely! I love being in Luxembourg.
France Clarinval: You can be seen as a shining ambassador for Luxembourg. When did you realize it? How would you take that?
Gustavo Gimeno: I am not really aware of it, but I do know I feel proud to work in the Philharmonie and with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg. It is a wonderful building that hosts great concerts on a daily basis; and with a remarkable group of people, who not only are good professionals but create a very special and welcoming atmosphere, which we artists so much enjoy.
France Clarinval: What do your friends or relations from abroad think of Luxembourg? What is the image they have?
Gustavo Gimeno: I am not really sure…plus I do have friends from many different countries and cultures…so it is difficult to say. But I do have the feeling they realise it is a place in constant development in the last years, and which projects an image of modernity and of “something going on there.”
France Clarinval: What do you tell them to make them want to come?
Gustavo Gimeno: I say it is a beautiful country, with plenty of nature even in the city centre. It is open minded, friendly, cosy, polite, with very nice restaurants--personally I must say I love Luxembourgish products. And Luxembourg is culturally active and vivid, with the Philharmonie offering access to the best music and artists.
France Clarinval: When was the last time you were proud of Luxembourg?
Gustavo Gimeno: Seeing the audience standing up with genuine enthusiasm to applaud our performance of Mahler’s 2nd symphony after listening really attentively.