Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Eventual SFS Music Director Sweepstakes

You've seen the SFCV article, now read my original thoughts; Janos and I just kept adding to this list. Drew McManus has picked up the salary side of the issue at Adaptistration.

It's easier to make a list of the unavailable than of the available. Not: Muti, Abbado, Gilbert, Levine, Nezhet-Seguin, Dudamel, Salonen (sob), Jurowski, C. Davis, A. Davis, Haitink, Mackerras (double sob), Barenboim, Nelsons, Rattle, Runnicles (sobbing even more)

People we don't want: FW-M (busy with contracts in Vienna and Cleveland, anyway), Mehta, Previn, Schwarz, Ashkenazy, Maazel, Masur. :)

Been there/done that/don't come back except as a guest: Ozawa, de Waart, Blomstedt.

Probably not: Simone Young

Wish We Could: Le formidable Boulez (say it with a French accent), nearly 85 and with regular guest gigs in Chicago and Cleveland

I would look to the frozen north, and I don't mean Canada). One of the Baltic states, Scandinavia, Finland. There's someone there, maybe someone we know: Osmo Vanska? Sakari Oramu? Where are Neeme Jarvi and Mariss Janssons working? How about Marek Janowski? Eschenbach? Dohnanyi? But the latter two are both 70-ish. So is Frubeck de Burgos.

Favorite from the frozen north: Susanna Malkki, who is Finnish, female, young, and made a big splash in NY at Mostly Mozart a year or two ago.

Who has had a great rapport with the orchestra the last few years? Could Conlon wedge in an orchestra? Yan Pascal Tortelier?

Who is currently conducting at Birmingham, Liverpool, and Bournemouth in Great Britain?

What about Marin? What about Robertson?

Where does Dutoit fall? Spano?

Former assistant conductors of East Coast orchestras: Julian Kuerti, Shi-Yeon Sung, [NYPO had a good assistant as well, a young woman from China, but I cannot dig up her name]

Current, well-reviewed, incredibly young assistant conductor of LAPO: Lionel Bringuier

What about former assistant conductors of SFS? Alasdaire Neal, James Gaffigan (who is VERY good), Edwin Outwater?

Or maybe somebody we don't know yet. Who woulda thunk Alan Gilbert would get the NYPO job AND make a great success of it?


Daniel Wolf said...

Lisa, I mentioned Jonathan Nott before, a real all-rounder, trained in the Kapellmeister tradition where he conducted everything from musicals to the Ring, was former MD of Ensemble Intercontemporaine, and is now at the Bamberg Symphoniker. He was Ligeti's choice for the complete recordings project. His personality would be a good fit for the town of SF.

Other names from somewhat outside the box that would be a coup for San Francisco are Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Iván Fischer, David Robertson, each of whom brings a very different variety of skills and enthusiasms to the table. If they want follow Thomas with another more locally grown conductor, Kent Nagano is an obvious choice and he has really grown as a musician in his European appointments.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Those would all be interesting choices! I don't know Nott's work but my gosh. That's a fantastic list of qualifications. MD of the Ensemble Intercontemporaine is an automatic big plus for me.

Robertson guest conducts here more or less annually; I like his work in music of the last 100 or so years best.

Henry Holland said...

I know David Robertson mostly for his work with the music of Boulez. His contract in St. Louis is up after 2011-12.

Birmingham: Andris Nelsons, they love him there, deal is until 2013-14

Liverpool: Vasiliy Petrenko, until 2015

Bournemouth: The wonderfully named Kirill Karabits, deal until ???

Halle (Manchester): Mark Elder, 63, signed until 2015

London Phil: Vladimir Jurowski, signed until 2014-15, I give him props for doing Das Wunder der Heliane in concert. :-)

There really isn't a that many established conductors leaving their posts soon, is there?

Brian said...

I would gladly be willing to permanently sacrifice the services of one Gustavo Dudamel here in LA for the greater glory of SFS. Wouldn't you all like a little !Electrico! of your own.

I'd happily accept any lesser substitute.

Immanuel Gilen said...

I like all this speculation without a single indication that MTT is winding down...:-)

I fully agree with the people we don't want, except: What's wrong with FW-M (his unavailability aside)? I think his Shostakovich 5 was one of the most impressive concerts I've ever been to...and I also quite like Masur, but he's so old I doubt he would take on a new music directorship, much less a labor-intensive American one.

Simone Young is a strange consideration. Has she ever even conducted in the US?

Mariss Jansons already has the Concertgebouw and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestras, and he's announced a semi-sabbatical because of the high workload in those orchestras. He's also mentioned jet lag as a reason against having a position with an American orchestra.

I like the idea of Conlon a lot, but he seems rooted in LA. I think Robertson would be the frontrunner, though I like the idea of Xian Zhang (the young Chinese woman)as MD. She does seem to be gradually shifting her attention to Europe.

Other than the above, James Gaffigan, Osmo Vänskä, Semyon Bychkov and Andris Nelsons would top my list as a matter of personal choice.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Brian, I think we'll make the supreme sacrifice of letting LA keep Dudamel.

Immanuel, hahaha, yeah, not a sign.

FW-M. He gets excellent reviews in opera, consistent head-scratching in the symphonic repertory. Also, do a web search on "Don Rosenberg Cleveland Plain Dealer" for more details on why I'd hesitate to hire FW-M.

Young has conducted at the Met and maybe at one or the other of the east coast orchestras.

Immanuel Gilen said...

I know, he didn't come out of the Rosenberg issue well, but one doesn't know to what extent CO management, rather than FW-M, was responsible for Rosenberg's axing.

I had no idea Simone Young had conducted at the Met, but I think she would have to guest at a few US orchestras before becoming a credible candidate. Here's hoping...