Dan Wakin's story contains one odd bit: the orchestra won't discuss any of the terms of VanBiesen's contract. Hello, the salary will come out in a 9900 in a couple of years, plus, anyone with some knowledge of orchestra management and access to Adaptistration can figure out the range by just looking at the pay for the executives at the BSO, LAPO, SFS, PO, CO, and CSO. It'll be in the $650K to $1M range, but probably not more than the $807K that Zarin Mehta is earning.
VanBiesen is coming to the NYPO from Melbourne, where he has only served for about two years. The orchestra he runs currently receives half its funding from the government, while the NYPO gets, well, I assume approximately nothing from government sources. Just noting that this didn't work out so well at San Francisco Opera, where Pamela Rosenberg simply had no idea of the fund-raising demands of her job and evidently strongly disliked that particular responsibility.
VanBiesen previously served in Houston, and it looks as though he did an impressively good job there: he took over during a terrible time for the orchestra and everything improved greatly under his leadership. He will have a few challenges in NY too:
While relatively inexperienced and a leader of organizations with less than half the Philharmonic’s $69 million budget, Mr. VanBesien faces enormous challenges: persistent and large deficits, labor friction, hefty pension liabilities, the lack of an established summer home like the Boston Symphony’s at Tanglewood, and competition from orchestras visiting Carnegie Hall. Problems even extend to the orchestra’s widely scorned auditorium, Avery Fisher Hall: Philharmonic officials say the hall needs renovations, which will displace the orchestra for an extended period, according to plans in the works with Lincoln Center, which owns the building.I have no idea how long the next renovation of Avery Fisher Hall is expected to take, but 18 months of camping out didn't hurt San Francisco Opera back in the day. I have many complaints about Lotfi Mansouri's leadership at SFO, but how he managed the retrofit of the opera house and the workings of the company during the retrofit aren't among them.