A prominent figure among the current generation of young conductors, Maksim Eshkenazi is described as an “energetic and intelligent” musician who leads with unwavering confidence and astute perception. The Los Angeles Times hails him as “charismatic and thrilling.” A dedicated athlete and licensed pilot, he currently calls Southern California home. Maksim Eshkenazi sees himself as a bridge between two continents and two cultures, asserting that he finds happiness wherever his suitcases may be.
Maestro, when did you first encounter music as a profoundly moving experience?
I must have been relatively young, as I vividly recall concerts at the Bulgaria Hall. The performance that impacted me most was Brahms’ First Symphony, which I heard for the first time and felt as if something had enraptured me. I was around 4 or 5 years old. I began playing the violin at five at Sofia’s Music School.
This was during the first pre-experimental class. By seventh grade, we had officially joined the Music School.
And how did you find your way to Los Angeles?
I was studying at the National Music Academy when, in my second year, I was accepted into the University of Southern California (USC). I had to compress two years into one in order to travel and continue specializing in orchestral conducting and violin. As a result, I was invited to participate in various musical events as a conductor while still enrolled in their conservatory.
Gradually, things fell into place, and I stayed in the area after completing my education. I was fortunate enough to perform with many of America’s finest orchestras. I view myself as a bridge connecting two continents, countries, and cultures.
How do you feel in this cosmopolitan city where everyone hails from somewhere? Does being Bulgarian hold any significance? What spirit and message do you bring?
If you’re asking whether there’s anything negative about being Bulgarian here, there’s nothing negative. Bulgarians are warmly welcomed with open arms and embrace. People appreciate and deeply respect us. I’ve never experienced any disregard; on the contrary, I’ve always been treated with great reverence.
Of course, I carry the powerful Bulgarian spirit and our age-old belief in the goodness within me. I consistently work to promote Bulgarian classics such as Pancho Vladigerov, Petko Staynov, and Georgi Andreev, whose musical works I’ve conducted with 4-5 orchestras in the United States. I strive to propagate our culture as much as possible, and I hope to have more opportunities to showcase Bulgarian music on their stage.
Do you participate in any film productions in Hollywood?
My involvement in the film industry is infrequent. Recently, my orchestra and I recorded a scene for a Netflix film where I appeared as a conductor. It’s simply because we are in Hollywood, and it’s convenient. As a violinist, about ten years ago, I recorded music for blockbuster films like “Spider-Man,” for example.
In which part of the world do you find the most happiness?
I find happiness wherever my suitcases are. As musicians, we belong to a nomadic tribe. We learn early to adapt quickly and establish ourselves in new locations.
What would you wish for the readers and friends of “Argent Publications”?
I hope I am now considered a friend of your publication as well. I appreciate such a project that connects people and viewpoints from different continents, fostersing unity and goodwill. I wish you success, and to your readers, may they discover the most engaging and enjoyable reads through your platform.
An abridged version, translated into English from the original article published in Argent’s Bulgarian magazine edition, “The Bridge” (Spring 2020 Issue).