Now I know how Vladimir Verbitsky has lasted 25 years. He is a mix of quiet charm, inner conviction and strong work ethic. He is also the protege of maestro Yevgeny Mravinsky who conducted the Leningrad Philharmonic for 50 years (!) and Verbitsky has inherited that old-school professional loyalty.

Then there is something about the instant connection he had 25 years ago with the WA Symphony Orchestra that even he can’t explain.

Vladimir Verbitsky (with deep Russian throatiness):  I found this orchestra special, I don’t know why… a beautiful city, beautiful people in the orchestra. I felt very good with the orchestra, very comfortable. It was unforgettable, my first two or three visits to Perth. It was every time a present, something special, like a festival. Now Perth is for me a second home.

Has WASO changed over the decades?
Oh the level of the orchestra has extraordinarily changed. 25 years ago it was a very good orchestra, now it is a really fantastic orchestra, very professional. It is a professional orchestra on a world scale.

I tried to convince him to retire here with his wife Nelly, and spend more time pursuing his favourite hobby – fishing. He smiled and gave nothing away. But he promises to keep coming back.

Yes we will keep coming back! Conductor Laureate means the orchestra are for life.  I am very happy with this orchestra. It is like some sort of family. My life is here but my heart is also here.

To celebrate his anniversary with WASO Verbitsky will recreate the program he conducted with them 25 years ago. The concert is July 23rd. Click here for more details.

Listen to the all-Russian program here.