Monday, October 16, 2017

Davies to Brno, Bychkov to Czech Phil

I didn't particularly cover Dennis Russell Davies' upcoming move to the Brno Philharmonic, so here is a mention of it, along with the even bigger news that Semyon! Bychkov! has accepted the opening at the Czech Philharmonic created by the death of Jiří Bělohlávek. Honestly, I never thought Bychkov would take an ongoing post anywhere.

Here's the press release:


*Mr. Bychkov to serve as Chief Conductor and
Music Director Designate during the 2017-18 season*

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (October 16, 2017) — The Czech Philharmonic today announced the appointment of Semyon Bychkov as Chief Conductor and Music Director starting in the 2018-19 season. Mr. Bychkov has been a frequent guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic since first appearing with the Orchestra in 2013, and he is also currently the Artistic Director//of/The Tchaikovsky Project/, which he launched with the Orchestra last October and which encompasses concerts and a Decca recording cycle.

Mr. Bychkov says:

   “The Czech Philharmonic is among the very few orchestras that have managed to preserve a unique identity. In a music world that is increasingly globalized and uniform, the Orchestra’s noble tradition has retained authenticity of expression and sound, making it one of the world’s artistic treasures. When the orchestra and Czech government asked me to succeed beloved Jiří Bělohlávek, I felt deeply honoured by the trust they were ready to place in me. There is no greater privilege for an artist than to become part of and lead an institution that shares the same values, the same commitment, and the same devotion to the art of music.”

In addition to conducting the opening concerts of the 2018-19 season, six subscription weeks, and two weeks of studio recordings, Mr. Bychkov will lead the Orchestra on tour and at the major Czech festivals and concerts that are an integral part of the Orchestra’s presence, including Prague Spring, Dvořák’s Prague, and Smetana’s Litomyšl. He will also lead the Orchestra’s Tchaikovsky residencies in Prague, Vienna, and Paris in 2019, when /The Tchaikovsky Project/ concludes with Decca’s release of the composer’s complete symphonies, three piano concertos, /Romeo & Juliet/,/Serenade for Strings/,//and /Francesca da Rimini./

Reviewing a recent Czech Philharmonic performance of Tchaikovsky’s /Francesca da Rimini /at Smetana’s Litomyšl Festival 2017, /Hospodářské noviny/ wrote: “The Czech Philharmonic is currently in excellent form and trusts Semyon Bychkov. And, being battle-hardened from working around the world with the best orchestras on the planet, he gives the Philharmonic players the room to develop their musical potential. The result is a unique musical creation.”

Czech Philharmonic Chief Executive Officer David Mareček and General Manager Robert Hanč welcomed Mr. Bychkov, with whom they have worked closely since he first conducted the Orchestra:

   “We are thrilled and delighted that Maestro Semyon Bychkov will be taking up the position of Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Czech Philharmonic. Maestro Bychkov brings out the very best in our musicians, as did his much-loved predecessor Jiří Bělohlávek, and he also shares many of the same values: uncompromising musical excellence, respect for tradition, and a rare gift for communicating great music to the world. The Czech Philharmonic already enjoys a particularly warm and harmonious relationship with Maestro Bychkov and with his appointment we look forward to building further on that work and to taking our music to ever wider audiences. With Maestro Bychkov at the helm of the orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic’s future continues to look very bright indeed.”

Josef Špaček, the youngest concertmaster in the Czech Philharmonic’s history and an “Associate Artist” of the Orchestra, says:

   “Maestro Bychkov is a charismatic artist who is artistically uncompromising. He is never superficial and is a true master of his craft. For him, music is everything, his entire existence. He is able to work wonderfully and effectively with the orchestra. Rehearsals with him are often very strenuous, in part because of his relentless pursuit of perfection, but the artistic result under his leadership is always a unique experience. His international perspective and activities will bring inestimable added value to the orchestra. I hold him in the deepest respect.”

Czech Republic Minister of Culture Daniel Herman says:

“I am enormously pleased that one of the world’s leading conductors, Maestro Semyon Bychkov, has accepted the offer made by me and by the Orchestra’s CEO, Mr. Mareček, and will become the next Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. I am personally acquainted with Mr. Bychkov, and I have great respect for him, not only because of professional excellence and extraordinary artistic talent, but also because of his stances on humanitarian and civic issues.”

One of the world’s most esteemed conductors, *Semyon Bychkov* has achieved international recognition for an approach to music making that combines innate musicality with the rigors of Russian music pedagogy. He has conducted virtually all of the major orchestras in the U.S. and Europe and previously served as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony, and Orchestre de Paris, and Chief Conductor of both the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and the Dresden Semperoper. Mr. Bychkov currently holds the honorary Klemperer Chair of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music and the Günter Wand Conducting Chair with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with which he appears annually at the BBC Proms. In 2015, the International Opera Awards named him “Conductor of the Year.” For more information, visit <>.

The *Czech Philharmonic*, which in 1896 gave its first concert in its current form under Antonín Dvořák, is composed entirely of Czech musicians and has an extraordinary history which both reflects its place in the center of Europe and the country’s turbulent political history. Acknowledged for its definitive performances of the Czech repertoire—its première recording dates back to 1929 when Chief Conductor Václav Talich conducted Smetana’s /Má vlast/ for release on 10 discs—the Czech Philharmonic has always had a special relationship with the music of Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler. Born in what is now part of the Czech Republic, Mahler conducted the Orchestra in the 1908 première of his Symphony No. 7. For more information, visit <>.

Current list of known openings:
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which Leonard Slatkin leaves at the close of the 2017-18 season.
  • Swedish Chamber Orchestra announced in May, 2017, that Thomas Dausgaard will be stepping down as principal conductor at the end of the 2018-19 season. Perhaps this was a tipoff about the Seattle appointment, which commences with 2019-20.
  • Dallas Symphony Orchestra (when Jaap van Zweden takes up his new post at the NYPO)
  • Milwaukee Symphony
  • Shanghai Symphony Orchestra
  • San Diego Symphony
  • Vienna Staatsoper / VPO (Dominique Meyer not planning to appoint a WSO MD; his contract expires in 2020.)
  • Dresden Philharmonic: 2019 departure for Michael Sanderling
  • MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony: 2018 departure for Kristian Jarvi
  • Scottish Chamber Orchestra: 2018 departure for Robin Ticciati
  • Orchestre National de Lyon: open now, with Leonard Slatkin's departure
  • Singapore Symphony: 2019 departure for Lan Shui
  • Vienna RSO: 2018 departure for Cornelius Meister
  • Toronto SO: 2018 departure for Peter Oundjian
  • Winnipeg SO: 2018 departure for Alexander Mickelthwate
  • Hamburg Symphony, following death of Sir Jeffrey Tate
  • Washington National Opera, departure of Philippe Auguin at conclusion of 2017-18 
  • San Francisco Opera, departure of Nicola Luisotti at conclusion of 2017-18
  • Opera North: open now, with Aleksandr Markovic's departure
  • Bavarian State Opera: with Kirill Petrenko going to Berlin and KP's Munich contract through 2021, it's sort of implied that he'll give up Munich
  • Opera Theatre of Saint Louis: 2017 is Stephen Lord's final season as MD
I am curious about all of these, but of course the San Francisco Opera opening is closest to home.

Conductors looking for jobs (that is, as of the near future, or now, they do not have a posting):
  • Ludovic Morlot
  • Sian Edwards
  • Jun Markl
  • Ingo Metzmacher
  • Bramwell Tovey
  • Jac van Steen
  • Mark Wigglesworth
  • Simone Young 
  • David Robertson
  • Peter Oundjian as of the end of 2017-18
  • Philippe Auguin
And closed:
  • Semyon! Bychkov fills the vacancy at the Czech Philharmonic, following the death of Jiří Bělohlávek
  • Dennis Russell Davies becomes music director of the Brno Philharmonic, which had been open since 2015, as of the 2018-19 season.
  • Nicola Luisotti becoming an assistant music director at the Teatro Real, Madrid, 2018.
  • Seattle Symphony, where Thomas Dausgaard will succeed Ludovic Morlot; announced early October, 2016
  • Vancouver Symphony; Otto Tausk comes on in 2018
  • Orchestra Nationale de France; Emmanuel Krivine takes the post in 2017.
  • NDR Elbphilharmonie: Alan Gilbert becomes MD (or chief conductor) in the 2019-20 season.
  • St. Louis Symphony Orchestra; Stéphane Denève to succeed David Robertson
  • Hong Kong Philharmonic; Jaap van Zweden's contract extended through summer of 2022
  • City of Birmingham SO; Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla appointed 2/4/2016, succeeding Andris Nelsons
  • New York Philharmonic; Jaap Van Zweden appointed, 1/27/16, succeeding Alan Gilbert
  • National Symphony Orchestra; Gianandrea Noseda appointed, 1/4/2016, succeeding Christoph Eschenbach.
  • Leipzig Gewandhaus: Andris Nelsons appointed, 9/9/2015
  • LSO: Simon Rattle appointed, 3/2/2015
  • Orchestra de Paris: Daniel Harding, 6/11/2015
  • Berlin Philharmonic: Kirill Petrenko appointed, 6/22/2015
  • BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Thomas Dausgaard succeeds Donald Runnicles in September, 2016


Chanterelle said...

I think Pappano is looking for a new job, no? His term at Covent Garden is over, and Santa Cecilia plus guesting isn't likely a full schedule for him.

Also, Philippe Jordan becomes the Vienna Staatsoper Music Director in 2020, having served as chief conductor of the VPO since 2014-15.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Pappano's contract runs another three years, so I'm going to wait to put him on the list. :)

Jordan is leaving Paris, then?

Chanterelle said...

Per the Paris Opera press release, Jordan takes up duties in Vienna beginning 20/21 and will fill out his contract, which runs through 20/21. So one season overlapping the two gigs.