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Breaking: Paavo Järvi quits Paris

August 26, 2014 by norman lebrecht

26 comments.


The following statement has been issued in the last few minutes.

paavo-jarvi-rudolf-buchbinder-orchestre-de-paris-salle-pleyel_d

 

MESSAGE FROM PAAVO JARVI:

Ladies and Gentlemen

By the end of August, I had to decide whether or not to renew my current contract as Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris.

This was a really difficult decision for me…. I am very fond of the Orchestre de Paris and very close to its wonderful musicians.

Over the past four years we have given many concerts … both at home in Paris and around the world.
Over the remaining two years of my contract, we have many important things still to achieve. In January we have the great honour of performing the opening concerts in the new Philharmonie in Paris and this Autumn we are touring to China where we will be one of the first foreign orchestras to appear in the new hall in the French quarter of Shanghai. We will also complete our recording of the Sibelius symphonies.

In October 2015, I start a new chapter of my life.
In addition to continuing my 20 year relationship with Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, I take up the position of Music Director of NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo.I feel that I must devote time and attention to this new post.

So with a heavy heart I have decided that I will not renew my contract with Orchestre de Paris when it expires at the end of summer 2016.

Paavo Jarvi

 

UPDATE: Commentary here.


Comments (26)

  1. alec johnston says:

    Very sad for Paris and lovers of a great orchestra.

  2. sdReader says:

    He’s giving up Paris for those ding-dongs at NHK?

    At least he could have chosen one of the GOOD Tokyo orchestras — Tokyo Phil, Tokyo Metropolitan SO or Yomiuri SO, in that order.

    But NHK? It faded 20 years ago.

  3. Martin Kisling says:

    Think from other perspective: NHK has EVERY week broadcast at national TV…

  4. Thomas Roth says:

    I think he shoud quit conducting, if you can call what he does conducting.

    1. harold braun says:

      And I think you should quit making stupid comments like this,Mr.Roth.

      1. Thomas Roth says:

        Nothing stupid about my comment. That man is a disaster and a rubbish conductor. Good riddance.

    2. Warrior says:

      I completely agree.
      And unlike the clowns that are bashing you, I have actually played under his baton several times.
      I would rate him in the lowest 5% of conductors on the international level. He has that last name though; that helps.
      Excellent observation Mr. Roth.

      1. ruben greenberg says:

        Warrior: is he that bad? What would you say is wrong with his conducting and leadership? I hasten to add that I’m not putting into question what you have said. Just curious to know why you are so critical of him.

        1. Rgiarola says:

          Me eighter. Really just curious about the facts that just someone at the stage is aware. Give to us Warrior.

        2. Warrior says:

          He doesn’t have the extra special something that a conductor should have. He doesn’t show any deep understanding of a score. His ability to mold the rhythm and pace a great work is lacking. In rehearsal, I haven’t found him to be insightful on a level where the musicians get inspired.
          Eschenbach was mentioned in this discussion. Though Eschenbach is a very mannered musician, he does understand the structure of a score very deeply.
          Put it this way; there are very talented young conductors, such as Jurovski and others, who do possess the traits to be great conductors and deeply inspiring musicians. In my opinion, Paavo falls far short of this. I think my comments about his pacing and rhythmic guidance are the biggest shortfall with him.
          Others may feel differently…

      2. RW2013 says:

        Kristjan is worse.

      3. Michael Schaffer says:

        Warrior says:
        “And unlike the clowns that are bashing you, I have actually played under his baton several times.”

        So you say. But that claim isn’t worth anything, and nor are your comments, because you won’t back them up with your true name. I could also post under an anonymous, say, “Archer”, and say “that guy Warrior is useless, and I know because I sit at the desk to the right of him”.

        1. Warrior says:

          As you wish.
          I would never post an opinion like that in a public board with my name attached to it.

        2. ruben greenberg says:

          Michael Schaffer: the question of anonymity is one you have raised before and a fundamental one of ethics. I fully agree with you: if you’re not willing to sign your real name, you don’t have the courage to commit yourself and the veracity of your statement.

          1. Warrior says:

            Are you just incredibly naive?
            There is courage and there is stupidity.
            I know people who have been forced to take unpaid weeks after making negative comments about a guest conductor, when he eventually reappears. Some guest conductors will threaten to cancel a program and the offending player can be punished by a music director or management. I would definitely be called in and forced to apologize. The conductor can easily make problems for me. And what if, god forbid, that conductor became my boss someday?

          2. Michael Schaffer says:

            Warrior says:
            August 28, 2014 at 8:55 pm

            Are you just incredibly naive? There is courage and there is stupidity.

            The conductor can easily make problems for me. And what if, god forbid, that conductor became my boss someday?

            We know that, but that doesn’t change the fact that if you don’t possess the courage – or the stupidity – to place your real name above your comments, they are just worthless. You didn’t even let us know what orchestra you (allegedly) play in which some people have done here in the past who otherwise posted anonymously because they feared repercussions.
            We have no way of knowing if your comments are even based on real experience. They could just be completely made up. Or maybe you are not a very good player and Järvi singled you out in rehearsal. Or maybe you made a big mistake in a concert and then found it convenient to blame him in front of your colleagues. Or maybe…
            We just don’t know.

          3. Warrior says:

            Ok, so if I told you who I was or where I play, then you have more silly arguments. Such as I made a goof during Paavo’s concert or he reprimanded me in front of the orchestra or that I am an awful player.
            Nicely done.

          4. Michael Schaffer says:

            Warrior says:
            August 29, 2014 at 11:17 pm

            Ok, so if I told you who I was or where I play, then you have more silly arguments. Such as I made a goof during Paavo’s concert or he reprimanded me in front of the orchestra or that I am an awful player.
            Nicely done.

            That’s not what I said. I said that *we simply don’t know* at this point how credible your comments are since we don’t know who and what is behind them. Well – actually I don’t have to repeat what I said since the words are still there on the page. Maybe you should read them again, this time more slowly.

            However, you must understand that this somewhat childish outburst does not add to your credibility here – on the contrary, I would say. Reading this, I am even less convinced than before that there is much of real substance behind your anonymous comments about Järvi.

  5. Thomas says:

    Whatever one may say about Paavo Järvi’s conducting skills, one thing is certain, under his tenure, the morale and the quality of the Orchestre de Paris has noticeably improved. When Järvi arrived at the ODP, the orchestra sounded lousy and morale was at rock bottom, after ten years under Christoph Eschenbach’s weak, distant and very very poor leadership. I lived in Paris during those years and finally just stopped going to ODP concerts, especially if Eschenbach was conducting, as the orchestra sounded like a group of uninspired, underrehearsed and bored bureaucrats. While Järvi may not be the world’s greatest conductor he at least got the ODP sounding like a high level ensemble again and eliminated the profound damage and mental demoralisation that ten years of Eschenbach caused. We at least owe Paavo Järvi that.

    1. newyorker says:

      +1

      I lived in paris during that time also.

      Awful playing. I gather from recordings that it’s different now.

      Järvi is idiosynchratic, but a solid musician. The harshest comments on here better apply to Eschenbach, an interesting pianist but a complete disaster on the podium.

      1. Michael Schaffer says:

        newyorker says:
        August 27, 2014 at 1:38 am

        I lived in paris during that time also.

        Awful playing. I gather from recordings that it’s different now.

        There is a whole series of videos of Mahler symphonies with the OdP and Eschenbach, on his website, and some of them are also on Youtube. They look like they were filmed during live concerts, or at least they are made to look like they were. While I am not at all a fan of Eschenbach’s mannered, pretentious interpretations nor his theatralic podium manner, nor the hyperactive editing of the videos, the playing of the orchestra certainly is very solid at least and actually very good in some respects. Certainly very far from anything that one could describe as “awful”.

  6. alec johnston says:

    Sometimes I ask myself if I am listening to the same conductors as other critics when I read their,(usually helpful and constructive), comments.

    I cannot see how Vladimir Jurowski can be rated highly.

    On the other hand I have a deep respect of and great appreciation of the person and work of Paavo Järvi, who is consequently my favourite living conductor.

    I found his performances in Frankfurt with the HR-SO, his work with the German Chamber Orchestra Bremen and of course in Paris extraordinary.

    Good, that we have such different expectations and ways of appreciating conductors.

    1. Warrior says:

      Yes, it is good that we find different things that we like. That’s part of the fun.
      The opinion of a musician is not worth more than that of a music lover, and is often worth more. The music lover is supporting the continuation of music.
      A musician’s judgement can be clouded by previous experiences with the same conductor/composer and certain happenings in rehearsal.

      1. alec johnston says:

        I think those are very helpful observations.

  7. Warrior says:

    Edit: I meant that the music lover’s opinion is actually worth more, since it is their support which keeps music alive.

  8. Hector Cruz says:

    Michael Schaffer’s list of possibilities is humorous. Maybe Warrior is actually an alien from the far outer layer of the Andromeda Galaxy. We have no way of knowing.
    Maybe Schaffer was not listening to the music at PJ’s performance and was playing Angry Birds on his cell phone instead. We have no way of knowing.
    If Warrior would just tell us his/her name, then Schaffer would know if they made a mistake under PJ’s baton or if PJ singled him/her out during a rehearsal, right? Hahaha!
    PJ has probably conducted thousands of musicians over the years. Is it that unlikely that one of them didn’t like playing under him and decided to post something here?


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