American conductor Robert Trevinois one of the busiest maestros on the circuit right now. He last visited Australia in 2017 to conduct the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, but more recently he has recorded a remarkable albumon the Finnish label Ondine of orchestral works by Ravel. His choice of repertoire here includes many of the composer’s Spanish-themed works, to which the Basque National Orchestra, of which he is Chief Conductor, takes a fascinatingly instinctual approach. Clive Paget caught up with him to talk about the importance of the composer’s heritage and why this particular orchestra is uniquely placed to bring out the Basque in Ravel.

People tend to think of Ravel as a cultured Parisienne, but he was born in what’s known as the French Basque region. How important an influence do you think that was that on him as a composer?

I think it was a very big influence. When people define themselves, they always talk about the mother tongue – I think because your mother is typically the person you spend the most time with...