Russian violin superstar Vadim Repin chatted with us from Helsinki, quite appropriately, since he'll perform the violin concerto from Finnish composer Jean Sibelius this week with the San Francisco Symphony. He'll partner with another Finn, conductor Osmo Vänskä, who came a week earlier, and already garnered rave reviews for his lead in Tchaikovsky and Bruckner.

Looking forward to the pairing, who came in from the Cold as one of the highlights of the season, we spoke with virtuosic violinist Vadim Repim, 38, who hails from Siberia, and is now settled in Geneva, where he indulges in his love of skiing.