Daniel Barenboim
Photo: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

How did it happen that we get you back?

I was invited! Jokes apart, I’ll tell you: I’ve never gone back to where I had once been, like the murderer never goes back to the place of the murder. I never went back to the Orchestre de Paris either.

Why not?

Basically, I don’t like guest conducting. A guest conductor arrives and has, let’s say, four rehearsals. By the fourth rehearsal the program should be ready. The music director shouldn’t merely prepare the program. He should work on the musical and technical things that are to be worked on with the orchestra: the sound, the volume, the balance, the characterization, the phrasing, all those things that you cannot do as a guest conductor. There’s simply not the time.

So why the exception here?

The nostalgia was too strong. I’m not coming with messages. I’m coming to make music.