A new role

Conductor Justus Frantz steps up to the podium as a music director.

Conductor Justus Frantz (photo credit: Courtesy)
Conductor Justus Frantz
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Renowned German pianist and conductor Justus Frantz (b.1944) was recently appointed the new music director of the Sinfonietta Beer Sheva Orchestra.
But Frantz is not new to Israel.
“I’ve performed with all the major Israeli orchestras, including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,” says Frantz in a phone interview from Beersheba as he takes a rests after a rehearsal with his new orchestra. “If you ask about my overall impression of the local music life, I would say that it is most positive. Look, the IPO repeats the same program seven or even eight times. Believe me, that is quite unusual. Even the New York Philharmonic can’t afford to do that, and we can only hope that it will continue this way because all over the world, the music values are being inflated and the younger generation is often supplied with a low quality of music. While driving your car you have to listen to the traffic reports, but sometimes it’s better to listen to complete silence than the music that fills the pauses between the reports.”
Frantz enjoys working with the Sinfonietta, while the idea of doing new things excites him.
“They are good musicians and are very open and are curious to new things and also playing familiar pieces in a new manner,” he says.
That said, he prefers not to elaborate on his plans regarding the future shape of the orchestra.
“I don’t want to make promises.
I hope that in the coming years the audience will see positive changes.
I have a full understanding with the orchestra management, and it is clear to everyone that we need to secure more funding for this musical body. To perform new music is one of my plans. Creating an entire festival in the Negev that is totally dedicated to pieces by Israeli composers is not a problem; however, performing a huge series of Stravinsky’s music, including his many pieces that have never been played in Israel, sounds hardly affordable due to the high price of author’s rights,” says Frantz.
But on the whole, he sounds quite optimistic regarding the future of the orchestra.
The Sinfonietta Beer Sheva, conducted by Justus Frantz, will perform the third concert of the Classica series at the Beer Sheva Center for Performing Arts at 8:30 p.m. on December 28. The program features Beethoven’s Triple Concerto (with violinist Ksenia Dubrovskaya, cellist Haran Melzer and pianist Frantz) and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4.