Friday, May 6, 2011

Boston Symphony Upcoming Season: PATHETIQUE!

The new BSO schedule is finally out. It will suffice to say is that this is frightening. This schedule shows that the highups at the BSO are probably not aware they're currently in a crisis of fairly stupendous magnitude. It's the same old repertoire with the same old conductors. I'm sure that management would argue that they did the best they can to fill Levine's dates with whomever was available. I'm equally sure that there are any number of promising potential Music Directors who would drop everything in the most underhanded manner to be courted by the Boston Symphony.

It would seem that the BSO is putting all their eggs in the basket of Riccardo Chailly or Andris Nelsons. Both of whom probably have more attractive options than the current BSO. As for the other conductors on the schedule:

- Esa-Pekka Salonen is already the director of the Philharmonia in London and (allegedly) a full-time composer as well.

- Jiri Behlolavek wouldn't have even been seen as an attractive option if he hadn't just been (re)hired by the Czech Philharmonic to be their next Music Director (which he should have been for the last fifteen years).

- Juanjo Mena and Jaap van Zweden are both very good musicians who probably know that being invited by the BSO to direct for two weeks is a great honor.

- Anne Sophie Mutter and Leonidas Kavakos are fine violinists.

- Frankly, I've never heard of Juraj Valcuha.

As for the other people on this list. Here are the most distinguished conductors among them and precisely why they're not legitimate candidates to be new Music Directors:

David Zinman - 75 Years Old

Charles Dutoit - 77 Years Old

Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos - 78 Years Old

Christoph von Dohnanyi - 82 Years Old

Bernard Haitink - 82 Years Old

Kurt Masur - 84 Years Old

If the Boston Symphony were willing to do what the New York Phil did with Lorin Maazel and give a proven veteran seven years to keep the orchestra in shape, any one of these directors would make for a very good stopgap - ten years ago. But now they're simply too old to commit to more than a couple weeks a year. I smell another principal conductor appointment, and I can't possibly be the only music lover who thinks that a Principal Conductor is just a euphemism for 'Absentee Music Director.'

So let me say what must now be said in a manner that won't offend anybody:....


If the Big Five thought they were immune to the problems of 'lesser orchestras,' one would think that the bankruptcy of The Philadelphia Orchestra (!) would remind them of the times we live in. The New York Philharmonic, until recently the most antique of American orchestras, finally began the serious work of building a new reputation for itself as an orchestra in touch with the world of the contemporary arts. Had the Cleveland Orchestra acted with the sleepiness of the other Big Five members, they'd have met the Philadelphia Orchestra's fate long ago. It is not too late for any of them, even Philly, to turn things around. But the great orchestras of Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia seem determined to do everything they can to make it precisely that.

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