I know Israel, where you were born, is a very musical place, but what led you into conducting in particular?

Well, I didn’t start off wanting to be a conductor. I grew up in a house that had very little music in it. No one in my family really played, except my grandfather who used to play as a child, but he was in his 90s when I was growing up. He was born in Hungary and he didn’t really play at all, except once in a while he would take out the violin and play a few gypsy tunes.

Anyway, one day, there was a knock on the door – this was in the early 1990s when there was a big immigration from Russia – and there was a lady at the door saying that she was a Russian immigrant and a musician, and that as there was not really a lot of work, if any of the children in the house wanted to study the piano, she could teach them. My mother said it would be a lovely idea for me to have a few lessons on the piano, and as soon as I started, I thought this is...

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