On the Couch with Asher Fisch

WASO Asher Fisch - photo by Sara HanniganWho is Asher Fisch?
A renowned conductor in both the operatic and symphonic worlds – Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra since 2014.

Who Inspires you and why?
A few weeks ago I heard Daniel Barenboim’s new Tristan und Isolde in Berlin and I have realised that my old mentor still inspires me the most. I still don’t know anybody who lives and breathes music like this genius.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’d be a politician (I nearly became one). Politics really is a noble profession, even if it has been rather devalued lately…

Favourite Holiday Destination and Why?
I don’t get back to my home country anywhere near as much as I used to, so going home to Israel is almost like a holiday.

When friends come to town what attraction would you take them to and why?
As I live in a beautiful village surrounded by mountains, I’d take them to a 3000 metre peak in the Alps. There is something so special and so serene being on the top of the world – plus you can see Italy from my favourite peak!

What are you currently reading?
Right now I am reading Saul Friedlander’s autobiography. Friedlander is the leading Israeli historian of the holocaust and the Second World War. During the German occupation he was hidden by nuns in a Catholic boarding school near Vichy and converted to Roman Catholicism – and this saved his life. Only after the war did he rediscover his Jewish heritage and move to Israel. And I have a personal connection as his daughter is a good friend of mine! I’m also reading Tartine – a fantastic book about sourdough bread!

What are you currently listening to?
The news! And I am addicted to Rachel Maddow – the smartest news anchor in the world. I’m following with fascination the decline of the American democracy. Oddly enough, I don’t tend to listen to music, probably because as I spend my whole life making music!

Happiness is?
Simple – my family.

What does the future hold for you?
Well, I have signed a contract with WASO to be their Principal Conductor until the end of 2023 – so whatever else the future may hold, Australia will be an important (and enjoyable!) part of it.

Asher is both the soloist and conductor in Beethoven’s Fantasia for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra – Choral Fantasy, presented by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in an all Beethoven program at the Perth Concert Hall: 15 – 17 March 2018. For more information, visit: www.waso.com.au for details

Image: Asher Fisch – photo by Sara Hannigan