“Music speaks to your soul,” writes Thomas Wimmer, the founder and leader of Accentus Austria, in an interview with Gulf News tabloid!. The viola-da-gamba player and conductor of Accentus Austria is talking about his upcoming show at the One and Only Royal Mirage on October 27, and explaining the importance of music while he’s at it.
The ensemble, known for their renditions of 17th and 18th century music on baroque instruments, is getting ready to perform tunes written for the Austrian court alongside other, more contemporary pieces.
Ahead of their show, Wimmer explains why Dubai makes for a great playing environment and why travel gives him such a rush.
What can the audience expect?
The audience can expect a highly diversified programme, which consists of virtuoso sonatas, gallant or racy baroque dances, and all that interwoven with short contemporary pieces, inspired by atonal sounds, minimal music or sounds from Arabia or the Balkans.
What’s the best part about being a part of Accentus Austria?
You know, travels are always a good reason for stories as there might happen things which are beyond your control. Once we had to perform in a church near Santander in Spain. We only knew that we would arrive at the airport, take a taxi to the church — and be quick, as there [was] very [little] time till the concert would begin. So we entered a taxi and told the driver that we have to go to Siguenza. He looked quite irritated and explained that Siguenza would be a city near Madrid — way too far to go by taxi. We did not know what to do, so the driver called his office but nobody knew [of] a city named Siguenza being nearby. So I proposed to call in the festival’s office.
As it was in the evening, it was closed.
Looking in my papers I found another number (it happened before mobile-phones were common) and the lady told us that Siguenza would be a tiny church amidst the woods — nothing more. She told the driver how to find it (which was really difficult) and finally we arrived — five minutes after the concert should have started. So we ran through the church — the audience was laughing — changed our clothes and only few minutes later we started [playing].
What’s your favourite song to perform together?
I really do not have any favourite song. There are always some earworms and as experience shows, something will stick in your mind.
What are you looking forward to doing in the UAE?
Well, Dubai is always good for having a look at new plays, new buildings, etc as the city changes very rapidly.
What changes have you seen in the music industry over the years? What changes would you like to see?
There are much more ensembles than 20 years ago. And in consequence, it is very difficult to get in touch personally with the directors of festivals. So you have to spend more time for getting contacts. Furthermore, you have to [do] a lot of advertisement. Recordings are necessary but rarely companies pay for it so you have to look for other sources of money.
How do you translate the drama of a composition from page to stage?
You have to get an idea of the piece and what it is about. Then play it and look if your idea works. While playing you will discover further aspects of the music. So each piece, even if you played it for hundred times, is a living thing.
In a day, how much time do you spend practising?
Difficult question as it differs very much. When I have to work very much on the music or on communication with organisers, there is no time left for practising. If there is complicated music to be played, I will practise many hours a day and do nothing else.
The power of music is …
…to speak without words. It speaks to your soul — if you are ready for it.
Don’t miss it!
Tickets to the Accentus Austria show at the One and Only Royal Mirage on October 27, start at Dh263. Doors to the show, which kicks off at 8pm, will open at 7pm.