Tamás Vetö

Generally speaking I don’t feel foreign in Denmark, and I don’t think of foreignness as something which is necessarily about where you were born. When I was nine and living in Hungary, I discovered that my family was Jewish when the war started. Suddenly I was foreign because of a background I had never been aware off. Much later in life I found out that I was more into men than women, and I feared that this would alienate my children. However, they have always met me with love and understanding.

I grew up with an overwhelming love of theatre and music. My mother was an accomplished amateur pianist, and she made me start playing the piano. At one point I told her that I wanted to become a musician, so we visited a big Hungarian composer. I played for him, but he didn’t think I had what it takes to become a musician. Maybe that is why I became a musician. The rehearsals have always been the worst for me. I prefer it when the music is unleashed, and I am notorious for saving situations. Someone falls sick in the last minute, and I step in. I like the spontaneity and lack of rehearsals, because then I can beat wherever I like. Something here in Denmark which I find difficult is that everything must be so cozy, also in the professional music scene. When people lose their concentration during a rehearsal, you are expected to tell a funny story, and when you walk around, absorbed in your own thoughts and without smiling, you can be sure of being met with the words: “are you mad?”. Coziness is fine, but I don’t think everything has to be cozy.

81 years / male / single / children / retired conductor / Taastrup / from Hungary / came to Denmark in 1957 / residence permit same year