Seletskaja: Offering Estonian music to English National Ballet is a priority

Maria Seletskaja.
Maria Seletskaja. Source: The Harrison Parrott Foundation

Putting music by Estonian composers on the English National Ballet's repertoire is a goal for Maria Seletskaja, who was named the ENB's new music director last week.

Seletskaja, who is originally from Narva-Jõesuu in Ida-Viru County, will work closely with Aaron S. Watkin, the artistic director of the institution, in overseeing the creative direction and quality of music at the ENB and the English National Ballet Philharmonic.

She told "Helikaja" that she accepted her new position with a great sense of responsibility.

"I realize that there is a lot of work ahead," she said. "It's one thing to conduct performances, but another to make decisions that affect the entire artistic collective."

Seletskaja said her advantage over the other candidates could be her desire for continuous development. "I said that I am a young conductor and I really, really want to learn a lot more. Maybe this was my trump card."

Another factor that may have helped her win the role is her former career as a ballet dancer. Seletskaja danced as a soloist at the Estonian National Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin, Zurich Ballet and the Royal Ballet of Flanders.

"With the eyes of a former ballerina, I know what the dancers feel on stage, I completely understand the language and feelings of the dancers. I always try to support the dancers," she said.

But different skills will be required as music director. "My task is to take care of the musical quality, and it is the music that helps the dancer to be free on stage."

Seletskaja is not responsible for the musical repertoire as this choice is made by the head of the ballet troupe. "My job is to ensure that the chosen music is performed at a high level," she explained.

But she would like to see Estonian music make it onto the bill one day.

During her job interview, Seletskaja said she had already raised the possibility of performing work by Estonian composers with the ENB's management team.

"Modern choreographers are always looking for new music for their new works, and of course offering Estonian music is one of my big priorities," she said.

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Editor: Kaspar Viilup, Helen Wright

Source: Helikaja

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