Prior to returning to Perth audiences this month for the first time in a year, West Australian Symphony Orchestra Principal Conductor Asher Fisch has been on a global odyssey, playing concerts through Germany, Italy and the United States and constantly recalibrating his artistic practice to the challenging demands of the global pandemic.

Asher Fisch Asher Fisch conducting the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. Photo © Rebecca Mansell

Born in Israel and having grown up through wars, perhaps his early learning that life is contingent and fragile has given Fisch the tools to play on and cope in an unsettling world?

“Yes, it’s a good question,” Fisch tells Limelightfrom Perth, fresh from conducting Elgar and Rachmaninov concerts at Perth Concert Hall in early March and due to perform WASO’s American in Parisconcerts covering Hollywood noir, French impressionism and jazz at the same venue this weekend.

“I would have thought that this [childhood] would have given me the tools. After the Six-Day War [in 1967], Leonard Bernstein and [soloist] Isaac Stern came to Israel, and the first thing they did was give...