The August edition of Diplomacy&Trade carried an interview with Placido Domingo Jr. who was working on the main theme for the Hungarian-developed classical music TV show ‘Virtuosos’ in Budapest. The theme has been orchestrated by Brazilian maestro Sergio Kuhlmann. This time, it is the maestro who talks about the joint project as well as his music career.
Just like Placido Doming Jr., Sergio Kuhlmann began to study music at a very early age. “I started learning piano with my mother. For me, it was very, very important that I had a family environment that was favorable to music. I have an older sister who plays the piano, too. I saw her learning and one day I asked my mother: ‘Do you teach me to play the piano?’ At that time, I was only five years old,” he tells Diplomacy&Trade.
When it comes to the question whether it is easy or demanding to work with Placido Doming Jr., Sergio Kuhlmann says “it is easy but it also requires a lot of responsibility. From the moment we have an idea, a project, it is very important to discuss it, to make it very clear how we both see it, how will be the best way to do it. So, it's a job, it's an activity that needs a lot of conversation and understanding to find the best solution. We are in constant contact to define the best possibilities in terms of music and ideas. The piece composed by Placido is going to be a very wonderful one.”
Music is power
In Brazil, Sergio Kuhlmann served 12 years as opera maestro in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Twenty years ago, he was the driving force behind the ‘Brasil Instrumental’ project, a traveling ensemble disseminating Brazilian instrumental music of popular, classical and folk genres. When explaining how much he believes it is the responsibility of musicians like himself to make the wider public know about music as much possible, the maestro says that “through music one can convey two very, very important things: one is power, the ability to communicate well and the other very important thing – equally important – is that music has very good content. We can have works that are very rich in content, but do not communicate to the public, and there are other pieces that quickly establish a connection with the public, but are void of content, something that is called ‘music with programmed obsolescence’. What we are looking for is art, true art where the public can enjoy the content of a work so that content communication becomes possible.”
In his experience, as an orchestra conductor and also as a participant in the ‘Brazil Instrumental’ project, he has always been trying to make sure that the music reaches the public in a very spontaneous, direct, and enriching way. “It is because the artist's mission has to be to contribute something to the public. Because the public needs to experience emotions, receive new information, get to know new things and art, not only music, is the way to connect directly with the public, irrespective of language, race or culture. I have played music for audiences in Japan, China, Russia, the most different cultures and they understood emotion perfectly. Therefore, all the programs in which there is music with emotion and communication in it helped achieve total success,” he concludes.
Born in São Paulo, Brasil, Sergio Kuhlmann attended technical piano courses and attained the maximum grade under the guidance of Magdalena Tagliaferro, professor at the Paris Conservatory. Then, he went on to study composition with maestro Camargo Guarnieri and conducting with Mario Tavares, the director of Rio de Janeiro’s Teatro Municipal Symphony Orchestra.
He served for 12 years as opera maestro at both the Teatro Municipal of São Paulo’s and that of Rio de Janeiro, where he oversaw the production of more than 80 operas.
In 1998, the government of Israel awarded him a certificate in recognition for his part in the organization and production of a concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel.
In 2003, he moved to Spain, performing in lyrical concerts and directing opera and zarzuela. Ten years later, he was granted Spanish nationality. He has also directed operas, zarzuelas operettas and concerts in Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, United Kingdom, EEUU, Japan, Morocco, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Chile.
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