At eight-thirty this morning the Paris-based conductor George Pehlivanian was getting the day on its feet when the phone rang. ‘You’re conducting tonight in Madrid,’ said his agent. ‘And two of the pieces are world premieres. Go straight to rehearsal. Do not pass go.’
Sergio Alapont had called in sick to the Spanish National Orchestra and they were pretty frantic.
George, an unflappable man, flew in to work on Mozart Piano concerto 21 and Mozart Symphony 40, on the second half of the programme. The top half was Turkish composer and pianist Fazil Say playing his own piano concerto, followed by his third symphony for George to conduct.
Should be an interesting concert tonight. Good luck, George!