It varies, thank goodness. I don’t have a routine. I can’t stand having a routine. Sometimes I drink coffee, but on other days I have tea or water. Or sometimes I don’t drink any of those.
There’s a standard, which I also use all the time for work. If I start working at a place where they amplify the music and I’m not familiar with the room’s sound system, I always use a specific CD to test it. That CD is The Brandenburg Concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (1997).
I have lots of favourite books. I’ve been working for five years now on an Italian-language opera based on Seven Floors, a short story by Dino Buzzati. That short story has been in my head ever since. I also compose music with the band W.H. to some of Shakespeare’s sonnets too, so those poems are around me a lot. Currently I’m reading Playback by Raymond Chandler.
I like hiking in mountainous terrain, though it’s been a while. And over the past few years I went sailing on the sea several times with my friend, Károly Szántó.
Both. I really love cooking. I always say that I’m a professional musician, so feel free to criticize my music, but my status as a cook is amateur, so I’m much more offended if you criticize my cooking. It really maddens me if I eat out in an expensive restaurant with a good reputation and the food doesn’t live up to what I cook at home.
Both. I read the news, which really irritates me. I love reading a newspaper while travelling by train or plane.
I always read Rubicon [a monthly history magazine], and then, from time to time, HVG [a political weekly], Korunk [a cultural monthly], ÉS [a political and literary weekly] and others. I used to read Magyar Narancs [a political and cultural weekly] regularly because of Ádám Nádasdy’s column, “Modern Talking”.
This original telnyashka or Russian sailor shirt, for instance. I bought it in Berlin in 2005. I have an original American navy jacket too, and the two look great together.
I act in the theatre, and I put on whatever the costume designer gives me. Otherwise, I don’t like wearing clothes that aren’t comfortable.
I love working on Sette Piani, the opera I mentioned. Last year, I composed music for and based on the works of Czesław Miłosz, a Nobel laureate poet from Poland. It was published by BMC under the title Hang Hangba Hull és Hangot Kerget (“Notes chasing and falling into notes”). It’s also a favourite of mine, though I’d give it a different title today.
There’s a friend of mine called László Láger. He’s my favourite person to have a coffee with. If the task is to name someone I’d like to have coffee with but it won’t happen, I’d say Ádám Bodor and György Kurtág. But let’s hope it will happen one day.
My grandfather, a composer and professor at the Music Academy in Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca).
I always tell my elder son to read a lot. I have the impression that young people don’t read much these days.
I left the Music Academy after the second year, which meant that I didn’t become a classical musician. That’s definitely an unfinished job.