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In spring 2021, a Swiss -Estonian brand Cervo Volante launched collaboration with Paavo Järvi, Chief Conductor of Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra, to develop sustainable and locally produced bespoke accessories for musicians also keeping the intricate needs of conductors in mind: a scores bag, shoes to wear on stage and little cases for keeping an iPad, cables, pencils etc. These products are offered to the wider musicians’ community and to the public under the credo “Creating future traditions by Paavo Järvi”.  A part of the proceeds is allocated to paavojä that is supporting young musicians.

1. What does sustainability mean for you?

Sustainability is an old concept, which is going through a process of transformation. In the past, all peasants were sustainable. They mended things and didn’t throw anything away. All this needs to be reinvented and brought back to our contemporary society.

But when I think of sustainability, I mostly think about culture. For us, Estonians, sustainability is an old concept, especially if it comes to preservation of our culture and language. Our past has been bloody and hard: various foreign powers have ruled over us. For centuries we had to fight foreign powers and harsh conditions. Despite all that, we have stayed alive as a proud and caring nation. Because of this, for me, sustainability is about survival, particularly in terms of culture and language. National and cultural heritage is in my opinion a prerequisite for a mindset of environmental and economic sustainability that is passed down from generation to generation.  As an example, for Estonians, the only way to achieve sustainability is to speak Estonian, sing Estonian, to nurture and cultivate our Estonian cultural richness. Music is still the only thing that will survive and help throughout the generations.

And this is the base for our home and our country to survive and develop sustainably.

I like all things wild, all things that have not been polished too much.

– Paavo Järvi

3. Why did you agree to work with Cervo Volante?

Your story is fascinating, and I can relate to it. As I mentioned before, first and foremost, sustainability for me is the preservation and continuation of culture, our small nation, and our language. On one hand, the founders of Cervo Volante contribute to sustainability and environmentally friendly traditional ways of production and on the other hand, you come from Estonia, so I do want to contribute.

4. Why “creating future traditions”?

“Tradition” is an interesting word. It refers to something that has stood the test of time. Today, I see traditions being in danger. People pay much more attention to immediate pleasure and ephemeral experience. They do not think, if things last and will be there in ten or fifty years. I consider it a menacing tendency – to our survival, to the survival of old cultures and our languages. That is why I chose “creating future traditions” as my motto. We should look into the future but not throw out the past. We want our creation to be sustainable – so we need to create traditions for the future. What we see as innovation today, should be a tradition in the future. Cervo Volante seems to do exactly that with their products. An innovative, yet classical product of today will still be well-loved and cherished in ten years. Hence, a new tradition has been created.

5.  One of our main features is “wild” as we show nature as it is, untamed, with scars, scratches and wrinkles. Is it something you can relate to?

I like all things wild, all things that have not been polished too much. But I would rather use the word authentic or idiosyncratic. Authenticity is more appropriate for Cervo because here, I can really see the meaning of it – scars and flaws are not ironed out, they are exactly as they come from nature, and you don’t try to hide them. They are there for a reason, you make that very clear. And therefore, every product is unique.

 6. How is this authenticity expressed in your work, do you make everything unique in your music?

As a musician, it’s my job to play music the way the composer wrote it. However, if you are a strong personality, there is still certain individuality in the performance. If you’re not, then everything is fine superficially, but the performance lacks individuality. I possess a steadfast belief in my abilities, I’m confident that I have chosen a correct path and I am not afraid to pursue my vision. It comes from experience and age, and confidence. Having knowledge and facts is another thing. You can’t be convincing about anything if you don’t know the topic profoundly. You can talk about politics. But if you don’t know the nitty-gritty, your words are empty.

7. Are there any pieces of music that fit particularly well with the essence of Wild?

Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”.

Kooskõla the partiture bag

8. Would you like to say something about swissness, wildness and Tonhalle?

It’s rather complicated because the Tonhalle orchestra is old and legendary, combining it with wildness is tricky. And the music hall itself expresses the power of old culture. Classical music is super-sophisticated. We cannot be wild randomly. If a piece must be played wildly, the score says so. We’re well trained and educated, hence sometimes we cannot and dare not show the wild side, even if the composer tells us to. For example, in Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” you need primal power and primal thinking. It’s my job to give that courage and to demand “wild” playing when needed and very subtle playing when needed and everything in between.

9. Your relationship with Tonhalle Orchestra?

Each orchestra has its individuality and its own face. No two orchestras are the same. They have their inside traditions and their own culture. This is what I expect from an orchestra. The stronger and more developed the culture, the better the orchestra. Tonhalle orchestra has an exceptionally well-developed culture. Our collaboration is about finding a common language. If you want to achieve something, you need a partner who understands you. As a young man, I believed that I can do everything on my own, but the truth was, I could not do anything. Nobody has ever achieved anything alone. But it’s hard to admit when you’re young. You’ve got to find a partner that you can do things with. And I have found such a partner in Tonhalle orchestra. We have inexplicable mutual chemistry. We trust each other and thus our performance is brilliant.

Shop Paavo Järvi “Symphony” Collection

Paavo Järvi

Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich’s Music Director, merges Swiss precision with Estonian passion. Through his role, Järvi intricately weaves Bruckner and Mahler into the orchestra’s repertoire, showcasing a blend of Swiss craftsmanship and Estonian fervor. With roots in Tallinn and studies under Leonard Bernstein, Järvi’s career spans continents.

His collaboration with Cervo Volante underscores his commitment to uniting Swiss and Estonian cultures through music. Järvi champions Estonian composers and established the acclaimed Pärnu Music Festival and Järvi Academy.

Esteemed globally, he’s honored with a Grammy and Conductor of the Year titles, also receiving Estonia’s Order of the White Star for preserving its culture.

As Tonhalle Zürich’s conductor, Järvi epitomizes orchestral excellence, infusing Swiss precision into his artistry while fostering cultural harmony between Estonia and Switzerland.

More about Paavo Järvi

Recently, Cervo Volante asked the well-known Estonian, Grammy award-winning conductor Paavo Järvi, who is widely recognised as one of today’s most eminent conductors, currently the music director of Tonhalle Zürich, to be their collaboration partner.

Paavo Järvi studied percussion and conducting in his hometown, Tallinn, when Estonia was still part of the Soviet Union. In 1980, the entire family emigrated to the United States, where Paavo Järvi continued his studies inter alia in Los Angeles under Leonard Bernstein. In 2001, he became Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; to this day, he maintains links with the ensemble as Music Director Laureate. Cincinnati was the first of several important international posts: the United States were followed by Germany, France and Japan.

Just as he maintains links with «his» orchestras, Järvi also remains connected with his Estonian homeland, where he supports and promotes Estonian composers. In 2011, he founded the Pärnu Music Festival in Estonia and the Järvi Academy. At the end of each season, there is a week full of performances and conducting masterclasses at the Pärnu Music Festival. The success of both the Festival and its resident ensemble – the Estonian Festival Orchestra – has led to a string of high profile invitations including performances at the Philharmonie Berlin, Wiener Konzerthaus, BBC Proms and Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.

This autumn, Järvi opens his fifth season as the music director and conductor of Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich with his Bruckner cycle, including three performances of Symphony No.9 at the Grosse Tonhalle and album release of Symphony No.8 on Alpha Classics. Additional highlights in 2023/24 include the beginning of a Mahler cycle and a major tour to South Korea and Japan.

In 2024, Paavo Järvi celebrates his 20th anniversary as Artistic Director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. In addition to his permanent positions, Järvi is much in demand as a guest conductor, regularly appearing with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Philharmonia and the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Münchner Philharmoniker and Hong Kong Philharmonic. He also continues to enjoy close relationships with many of the orchestras, where he has been the Music Director, including Orchestre de Paris, Frankfurt Radio Symphony and NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo.

Paavo Järvi was named Conductor of the Year by Germany’s Opus Klassik in 2019 and, in the same year, received the Rheingau Music Prize for his artistic achievements with The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen in the German orchestral and cultural landscape. Other prizes and honours include the Grammy Award for his recording of Sibelius’ Cantatas with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Artist of the Year by both Gramophone (UK) and Diapason (France) in 2015 and Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture for his contribution to music in France. In 2015, he was awarded the Sibelius Medal in recognition of his work in bringing the Finnish composer’s music to a wider public and in 2012 the Hindemith Prize for Art and Humanity. As a dedicated supporter of the Estonian culture, Paavo Järvi was awarded the Order of the White Star by the President of Estonia in 2013.

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