Most concert programs introduce you as a Finnish-Ukrainian conductor. How do you see yourself?

I was born in Ukraine but I never lived there. My father is Ukrainian and I am extremely proud of my father’s heritage, but I am totally Finnish.

Dalia Stasevska Dalia Stasevska. Photo © Jarmo Katila

You enrolled at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki as a 17-year old. How did you get accepted at an earlier age to most?

I was so determined to become a musician and violinist. I was in the seventh grade (13 to 14 years) and all the people around me with all these hormones were going through puberty and acting very strangely. It is just the most unstable year when you stop being a child and become a teenager. I calculated that I was spending too much time at school and the intervals between classes were too long. They were like two hours of my [potential] practising time.

I went with my calculations to the headmaster and I said I want to become a violinist, I need to practise and I can’t spend more time here at school. School hours took up eight hours, and after that...