Q&A with Conductor Anna Rakitina


What is your favorite part of the programming in these performances of Anna Clyne’s Restless Oceans, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise and his Second Symphony?
“I definitely love all three pieces as well as the idea behind the program itself. One of the most lyrical symphonies goes after the most lyrical song ever written without words – Vocalise. The speechless voice of this masterpiece transforms into the orchestral timbres. And in Anna Clyne’s Restless Oceans, the orchestra itself literally finds its voice singing the melody along with playing it on the instruments.”

How would you describe your conducting style, especially as it relates to this programming?
“The major role of Rachmaninoff’s orchestration belongs to the strings. Being a violin player in the past, I still feel a deep connection to these instruments. Joined with a lot of beautiful wind solos, I simply can’t enjoy listening and conducting this music enough.”

How would you describe the power and significance of these three pieces?
Restless Oceans is a very bright and brave piece. It requires not only the technical playing of the instrument but also the performing courage of each orchestra member. I think watching and listening to this piece in a concert becomes quite a unique experience. Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony is simply a very beautiful piece of music. I feel that the whole atmosphere of the piece is somehow connected to the composer’s short opera Francesca da Rimini, which he finished shortly before the Symphony. The gloomy and shadowy pictures give way to moments of serenity and pure joy that are brought by fulfilled love. And Vocalise is nothing else but a deep nostalgia for something that is gone and will never return – maybe the core theme of all of Rachmaninoff’s music, as well as the drama of his life.”

Learn more about Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony or purchase tickets here!

Anna Rakitina

Following a series of highly acclaimed appearances with orchestras such as Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and Boston Symphony Orchestra in the 2021/22 season, Anna Rakitina established herself firmly as one of the most exciting and sought-after conductors of the new generation. Rakitina remains assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) under its Music Director Andris Nelsons until summer 2023. She is only the second woman in the orchestra’s history to be awarded this position, and has since become a much-loved member of the BSO family. 

 Season 2022/23 sees Anna Rakitina’s much anticipated return to the Tanglewood Music Festival, and to the subscription series of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Further highlights of the season include her debuts with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Tonkünstler-Orchester (Musikverein debut), Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra (Suntory Hall debut), Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Nürnberger Symphoniker, NDR Radiophilharmonie (Hannover), Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg and Orquestra Sinfónica do Casa da Musica Porto. 

 Anna Rakitina has worked with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Orchestre National de Lille, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Västerås Sinfonietta, Staatsorchester Darmstadt, Sinfonieorchester Biel Solothurn, Jenaer Philharmonie, Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife, State Academic Symphony Orchestra “Evgeny Svetlanov” and National Philharmonic of Russia. 

 Rakitina is second-prize winner of the Malko Competition 2018, and further won prizes at the ‘Deutscher Dirigentenpreis’ 2017 and TCO International Conducting Competition Taipei 2015. She was 2019/20 Dudamel Fellow of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conducted Los Angeles Philharmonic’s youth concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall as well as LA Phil’s education and community programmes such as Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA). 

 Born in Moscow to a Ukrainian father and a Russian mother, Rakitina grew up in a musical family and began her education as a violinist before she studied conducting at Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory in the class of Stanislav Diachenko. From 2016 to 2018 she studied conducting in Hamburg, Germany with Prof. Ulrich Windfuhr and graduated with a diploma. She was finalist of ‘Das kritische Orchester’ in Berlin in 2018, participated in the conducting fellowship scheme of the Lucerne Festival Academy led by Alan Gilbert and Bernard Haitink, and attended masterclasses with Gennadiy Rozhdestvensky, Vladimir Jurowski and Johannes Schlaefli. In 2022, she participated in the Ammodo conducting masterclass of the Concertgebouworkest led by Fabio Luisi.