The Metropolitan Orchestra has made something of a specialty of big Russian repertoire – what is it about this music that you and the musicians respond to?

I completed my conducting studies in Russia (St Petersburg and Novosibirsk) and I was immersed in the repertoire and given such amazing insight into it all by my teacher. I feel ‘at home’ with Russian repertoire, it’s a part of me. We actually have many Russian musicians in our orchestra who feel the same way.

TMO definitely has an affinity with the repertoire, they really get their teeth into it and give it their all. I think we are all drawn to the story-telling of the music, the juxtaposition and mingling of joy and sorrow, the lush melodies and the underlying passion.  I think that this passion is something that really resonates with the orchestra and is a positive performance trait for which we’ve become known for.

Sarah-Grace Williams, The Metropolitan Orchestra The Metropolitan Orchestra’s Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Sarah-Grace Williams

At the centre of the program is Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto with Tamara-Anna Cislowska as soloist. How typical is this work of Shostakovich’s writing?

The concerto is actually an uncharacteristically cheerful piece for Shostakovich,...