The dutchman has given Sydney Festival an injection of classical music. But can he still break even at the box office?

1. Do you think there’s enough focus in Sydney on the arts, especially classical music?

Well, I think it’s true that this city already has a vibrant cultural life. The whole thing about Melbourne being more European… as a European I find that a bit of a joke. Still, I would probably say, “Oh, there’s never enough focus on the arts”, but realistically speaking I think the debate is not about the arts versus something else; it’s about how to get people to engage and be lured to classical concerts because we all have busy lives.

2. What performances would you recommend for a classical music lover looking for something a little different?

Eraritjaritjakafeatures French actor André Wilms and Amsterdam’s Mondriaan String Quartet playing Bach, Shostakovich, Ravel, Bryars, Goebbels and Crumb, combined with video and special effects. It weaves a powerful spell. And Ensemble Kaleidoskop is a young chamber orchestra from Berlin that wants you to hear things differently. They move from Purcell through to the contemporary in a program that explores...