Symphony goes Soccer – @_Konzerthaus #Berlin

Did you know, that in Germany more people attend performances of publicly funded operas, theatres, orchestras and concert houses than games of the several German Soccer Leagues? Berlin Konzerthaus has been thinking about the parallel universums of a conductor and a soccer coach. Watch interesting impressions from the concert hall and the Berlin Olympic Stadium! Cheering audiences guaranteed.

This is the sound of Berlin – Konzerthaus and Hertha BSC.


Music comedy with orchestra as bridge to new audiences

Classical music is not easy to listen to. A Mahler or Bruckner symphony is a complex art work. These materpieces will remain complex, even for music lovers. How to reach out for people who are interested in classical music genarally, but don’t attend your concerts? However, if you choose the right setting, a good piece of music (freshly composed?) and a stand-up-comedian-conductor as moderator, audiences will love it. They will come back. And they will tell their friends.

Conductors contracts – check the issues

To find a good conductor for a symphony orchestra is sometimes like a lottery. In these days the worldwide most observed job search is taking place at the Berlin Philharmonic. Since Simon Rattle has announced his retirement in Berlin a couple of months earlier, many rumors on successor candidates occurred. In 2014 the orchestra will have to make its wise vote for a new artistic chief as of the 2018/19 season.

Catching the right guy as band leader is of course important, but only one point. Bargaining and signing a good contract is the second. There are many tricky agents and lawyers representing conductors. Orchestra managers, board members, administrators who bargain contracts for the orchestral organizations are often in a weaker position. Once the new conductors name has been dropped in public, almost there is no way back.

What are the essentials? The number of concerts, operas, projects he or she has to produce with the orchestra, the fee per project and almost an additional lump sum fee, travel and housing allowances, health insurance etc.

The most important point is the question how many weeks or months the conductor really is in town. How long and intense is the working time together with the orchestra? Is the conductor available for board members, sponsors, donors and media? Is he or she open minded for networking? Is he or she doing chamber music or master classes in town? Finally: Will he or she accept these issues in a written contract?

Orchestra managements and board members should have a very clear idea and a detailed check list on what type of conductor they’re really looking for in advance.

Simon Rattle steps down at Berlin Phiharmonic (2018)

Sir Simon Rattle, chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic will step down from his post in 2018. He will be 63 years old when his contract expires.

After 16 fruitfull and exciting years (in 2018) this change seems to be a wise decision. Now the orchestra has a couple of years for searching and testing an international top conductor who belongs to the younger group of rising stars. In first reactions Gustavo dudamel has been named as a potential successor. Competition is open now!

How a whole orchestra mocks on a conductor

There are many stories on orchestras suffering under bad manners (or even worse) of a conductor. But the stories how orchestras defend themselves against mobbing or other extreme forms of debasement are rare.

An example comes from the orchestra in Byalostok (Poland). It suffered under its conductor very badly and decided to stand up during the rehearsal instead of playing. After a couple of minutes of monologue in front of the orchestra the conductor gave up, left the hall (and  got the pink slip a couple of months later). Find the video here.


Conductors Lottery – young conductors on the go

The search of a new chief conductor seems to be a lottery for every major orchestra. He (or she) shall be young and talented, as well as expierenced. A hard worker on the orchestral repertoire and – of course – on the artistic success of the orchestra. Orchestras do hope to find a diamond before others and before he (or she) becomes a shooting star who will be soon in the roaster of one of the globaly acting agencies.

Gustavo Dudamel had got his international kick off after beeing awarded with the price of the Bamberger Symphoniker Gustav-Mahler-Competition in 2004.  The next conductors generation from Venezuela is at the start: Christian Vásquez. Askonas Holt has signed him already. Another hot candidate for an international career is Canadian born Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who will leave Rotterdam for the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2012. A topic recommendation might be the Ossetian born conductor Tugan Sokhiev, chief of Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse. He has a great potential and some major European orchestras were competing on him. He takes over the post as chief of German Symphony Orchestra (DSO) in Berlin. Another straight tip could be James Gaffigan, winner of the Sir-Georg-Solti-Competition and chief of Lucerne Symphony Orchestra (Switzerland) since January 2010. The 1973 French born Jérémie Rhorer was voted “Discovery of 2008” by French music critics. In 2010 he makes his debut at the Salzburg Festival and with the Saxonian Staatskapelle Dresden. At least you should keep the name of the young British conductor Andrew Gourlay (born 1982) in mind, who won the 10th International Conducting Competition in Spain  and assists at the Hallè Manchester. Keep your eyes on Venezoelan born José Luis Gómez Rios (32), who was awarded the 1st price of International Sir Georg Solti Conducting Competition in Francfort (Germany).

The young conductor Pietari Inkinen should be kept in mind, too. Successfull chief of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and a great violin player, who will make an international carreer.

My personal choice and recommendation is Cornelius Meister from Germany. The 30 years old conductor (and fantastic piano player) from Heidelberg is taking over the Vienna Radio Orchestra in fall 2010. He will do it big soon, for sure.