Facts to consider:
- The New York Philharmonic season announcement identifies the 2016-17 season as Alan Gilbert's farewell to the orchestra.
- The New York Philharmonic's incoming music director, Jaap van Zweden, starts the job in 2018-19.
So the question arises: what happens in 2017-18?
Well, the NYPO can look to the north, to the seasons between James Levine's resignation from the BSO and the commencement of Andris Nelsons' tenure there: the BSO had two full seasons of guest conductors.
Or the NYPO can look to the south, where Charles Dutoit's long relationship with the orchestra included several years when he was music director but was, I believe, considered to be a placeholder between Christoph Eschenbach and a long-term appointee, in this case, Yannick Nezhet-Seguin.
Or the NYPO could look to former music directors, except there aren't many of them around:
- Leonard Bernstein (d. 1990)
- Pierre Boulez (d. 2016)
- Zubin Mehta (turns 80 this year)
- Kurt Masur (d. 2015)
- Lorin Maazel (d. 2014)
A year of Mehta, just what they need! Maybe Dutoit is available to save the day?
Of course, future former music director Alan Gilbert might have some time free in 2017-18; he has not announced a new appointment, and, well, at opera companies it's common for an outgoing intendant to take significant responsibility for the years following his or her departure. And the announcement of van Zweden's appointment did note that he will conduct several weeks in 17-18, as music director designate. And maybe a conductor who holds no music directorship could take the helm for a year: Semyon Bychkov.