Back

Mariss Jansons wins 100 grand

April 21, 2017 by norman lebrecht

19 comments.


The Bavarian Radio music director does not play the horses or the lottery, so far as we know.

His windfall comes today in the form of the 2018 Léonie Sonning Music Prize, awarded each year to an outstanding international performer.

All Jansons has to do to collect the money is to turn up in Copenhagen and conduct the Royal Danish Orchestra on March 9, 2018, according to Danish Radio.

photo: Chris Christodoulou/Lebrecht


Comments (19)

  1. Olassus says:

    He should of course give the money away. He has done nothing to deserve it and is already grossly overpaid considering his low interpretive skills — nice guy, hard worker, and technically able maestro though he may be.

    1. John says:

      Maybe he’d give it to you as some form of atonement for his lack of talent.

  2. Pedro says:

    After 30 years ( it all started with a mediocre Beethoven 9 with the Philharmonia ) l am still trying to understand why he had such a great carrier. I am trying really hard as I have heard him more than 30 times with the best orchestras in the world ( BPO, VPO, SOBR, Concertgebouw, Pittsburgh and Saint -Petersburg). I do not consider myself a masochist but maybe there is something of it in me. Lady Macbeth in Salzburg next summer will be my final try.

    1. MacroV says:

      Can’t argue with your experience but these top-class orchestras keep inviting him back. Which suggests they hold him in high regard.

      1. Olassus says:

        They “hold him in high regard” because he works closely and respectfully with their members.

        Results are technically good and satisfying for the players, mostly, but listeners end up with boilerplate readings that reflect amalgamated “best practice” in each area of the repertory.

        This is how Jansons makes himself equally effective in, say, Mozart and Shostakovich — and why not a single thing he has ever done has been regarded as a landmark.

        1. Ungeheuer says:

          +10
          Nothing the man has done approaches memorable status, not by ten thousand miles. Boilerplate is too kind.

      2. Olassus says:

        They “hold him in high regard” because he works closely and respectfully with their members.

        Results are technically good and satisfying for the players, mostly, but listeners end up with boilerplate readings that reflect amalgamated “best practice” in each area of the repertory.

        This is why Jansons is equally effective in, say, Mozart and Shostakovich — and not a single thing he has ever done has been regarded as a landmark.

      3. Olassus says:

        They “hold him in high regard” because he works closely and respectfully with their members.

        Results are technically good and satisfying for the players, mostly, but listeners end up with boilerplate readings that reflect amalgamated “best practice” in each area of the repertory.

        This is why Jansons is equally effective in, say, Mozart and Shostakovich — and why not a single thing he has ever done has been regarded as a landmark.

      4. Olassus says:

        Sorry!

        Server messages kept saying try again.

    2. James says:

      Oh but puh-LEASE, Pedro…puh-LEASE!

      30 years of mediocrity from the best orchestras in the world?
      Nothing but the 3d rate, the world’s common factor?
      And yet you soldier on. Your distemper is sublime.

  3. Peter Owen says:

    What are these prizes supposed to achieve? To enable someone who’s hardly short of a few bob indulge in a new kitchen or to reflect kudos on the presumably malodorously wealthy donor? Winarette Singer used her money to commission things, often hitting the jackpot. Why not do the same?

    1. Bill says:

      Whatever the donor wanted. Complaint about it here is unlikely to reach anyone in a position to award prizes for reasons you think better, so my advice is to go amass your own fortune, then give it away in the fashion that you see fit. I agree that giving a pile of cash to someone who has already made it big seems ineffective if you are trying to improve the state of the art – MJ probably pockets an equal amount from a small fraction of his annual workload. But if giving money away to the likes of MJ makes the donor happy, it’s their money, not mine…and this does identify someone apparently willing to donate money for music-related causes. Perhaps they just need to be sold on making additional donations to different groups or performers.

      1. Max Grimm says:

        “Perhaps they just need to be sold on making additional donations to different groups or performers.”

        They already do, in the form of grants to up-and-coming instrumentalists, singers, composers and conductors.
        http://www.sonningmusic.org/the-talent-prize.aspx

        If you click on the link, you see a listing of the respective recipients to date and if you click on their pictures, there is a description of the individual nature of support the respective recipient receives from the foundation at the bottom of the page.

  4. ben LEGEBEKE says:

    Played with Jansons a couple of times. For me he is a completely overrated conductor. Under his directorship the concertgebouw became an average orchestra with a very inward sound. Was it under Haitink warm &espressive,under Chailly virtuosic,all this faded away under Jansons’s leadership. I remember not one remarkable concert….

  5. Johan Korssell says:

    To my mind Mariss Jansons is an outstanding conductor. And he truly deserves the Sonning Prize 2018!

  6. herrera says:

    There is something truly baffling about classical music prizes: what is the point?

    1) There are so many, indistinguishable from each other in terms of money or prestige.
    2) They all reward different people, so there is no consensus whatsoever.
    3) The recipients hardly seem to need either the money or the recognition.
    4) In fact, the prize gains more from the fame of the recipient than the other way around.

    I guess it’s the “poor man’s” naming rights game:
    -If you had $50 million, then you can get to name a hall.
    -If you had $1 million, you can name a principal chair in an orchestra.
    -If you only had $100,000, then you can create your own prize and associate your name with a famous musician (better than a tiny plaque on the back of a seat at the opera house).

  7. Peter says:

    What a NONSENSE this price in particular is.
    It is in reality the money, an otherwise completely meaningless and unknown foundation pays for being in the spotlight for a bit.
    At least they should give the price money conditionally, to be spent 100% by the awarded artist toward a good cause. E.g. the music education projects.

  8. Petros Linardos says:

    Here is a request to all Jansons critics: can you please recommend a performance of Mendelssohn’s 3rd symphony that is better than this one of Jansons?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zs6c0hXJFwg

    Preferably by a living conductor?

    To my ears Jansons’ performance is beautifully characterized and naturally paced. Somehow I have difficulty finding better ones by any living conductor (Konwitschny and Klemperer/BRSO are another matter). So I could use some help.

    By the way, I am no big Jansons fan.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *