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Just in: Dutch name four subs for sacked Gatti

August 10, 2018 by norman lebrecht

60 comments.


In its season-opening performances of Bruckner’s third symphony, the Concertgebouw Orchestra has replaced Daniele Gatti with the Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck. He will conduct five concerts starting at the Berlin Festival on September 4.

Gatti was peremptorily dismissed last week after allegations of sexual misconduct.

We hear that Bernard Haitink is being asked to step in at a subsequent concert. UPDATE: Haitink will conduct Mahler 7.

Thomas Hengelbrock will lead the opening night black-tie gala concert. The young British conductor Kerem Hasan has also been roped in.

Several C’bouw concerts carry this notice:

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has terminated the cooperation with chief conductor Daniele Gatti as of 2 August 2018. As soon as we have clarity on who will conduct the concert we will share it on this page.

The orchestra is nowhere near deciding on a fulltime replacement music director. Honeck, who is music director in Pittsburgh, must now be added to the shortlist.


Comments (60)

  1. Pieter says:

    It is already confirmed that haitink will conduct mahler 9 instead of the mahler 7 concerts.

    1. Kundry says:

      Manfred Honeck is absolutely perfect for the Concertgebouw orchestra and they should engage him immediately as Chief Conductor.. He stayed too long in Pittsburgh and was not hired by the New York Philharmonic – which they will soon regret, so he is ready to move up. Fully deserved. Problem solved.

      1. Mark says:

        A fine temporary fix for sure, but the Concergebouw needs to see who else may be available.

      2. Barry says:

        While Honeck has a great thing going in Pittsburgh, I agree that he’s due for a position with one of the elite orchestras. I’ve been thinking for a while that he’d make a good replacement for Muti when he steps down in Chicago. Honeck guest conducts there regularly.

        But if his appearances in Amsterdam go particularly well, I agree that he’d also be a fine fit there.

      3. Andrew Powell says:

        I agree.

      4. barry guerrero says:

        Bruckner 3 is right in Honeck’s ‘wheel house’. He’s done good Mahler in Pittsburgh, so he should be fine there as well. I certainly knows ALL of the Austro/German classics. I would hate to see Pittsburgh lose him, but this would be a great move for him.

        1. barry guerrero says:

          Change “I” to “he”, obviously. (sheeesh! – when will I learn to proof-read).

      5. buxtehude says:

        Love Honeck.

  2. Lutoslawski says:

    and Thomas Hengelbrock the Opening Night Gala…

  3. Pedro says:

    And Hengelbrock will conduct the gala concert on September 14. Honeck will start in Amsterdam on August 23. Haitink is confirmed in Amsterdam and Lucerne.

  4. Pedro says:

    And Hengelbrock will conduct the gala concert on September 14. Honeck will start in Amsterdam on August 23. Haitink is confirmed in Amsterdam and Lucerne.

    1. Pedro says:

      And Kerem Hasan in Cyprus.

  5. Wurtfangler says:

    Perhaps Manfred Honeck has improved, but I have never forgotten him from being responsible for one of the worst concerts I ever heard from one of my favourite orchestras in 1995. Noone else managed to make them sound so terrible.

    1. Barry says:

      I thought Honeck was spectacularly good the one time I saw him live, which was the last time he guest conducted in Philadelphia. That was much more recently than 1995.

    2. Thunder says:

      You saw him in 1995 for a bad concert……Holy smokes! Give him a break!! That’s 23 years ago. I think you are being alittie harsh.

      He has an excellent in the USA

    3. msc says:

      I can only judge from “radio” broadcasts, but it seems to me that Honeck has maintained a very high technical and interpretative standard in Philadelphia. I know some people don’t like his overall approach, but I’ve been impressed by his work there and when I’ve heard him with other orchestras.

      1. William Ford says:

        Uh- he’s music director in Pittsburgh. Has guested in Philadelphia

        1. msc says:

          Oops: of course. It was just a mental hiccup (I too often swap names starting with the same letter).

  6. Philip says:

    All of the substitutes so far named are to be preferred to Gatti who was a poor choice in the first place. A truly dreadful Bruckner 9 in London last year lingers in the memory.

    1. msc says:

      Gatti was a surprising choice, but I don’t think he was obviously a bad one. He offered a clear contrast to Jansons, with his greater focus on colour and texture, and his work with the ONF had been quite good (not quite as good as with the RPO). Some of what he’s done with the RCO strikes me as excellent, but admittedly there are some failures also. Matching conductors and orchestras is a very subjective, unpredictable process, much like dating. Sometimes things start great but go downhill for no real reason beyond previously unnoticed incompatibilities.

  7. John Nemaric says:

    Just to paraphrase somebody’s else famous words (she shall remain nameless for now), “they” in “there” deserve him (Honeck). After so many years Pittsburgh deserves as well a new conductor with new ideas and repertoire. Decay and stagnation is so, so evident that…enough said for now.

  8. Ga Kitada says:

    Found Manfred Honeck’s Prom with the PSO last summer very rough and brash. Not too sure whether that was him, the orchestra or both…

    1. msc says:

      I thought both the Dvorak and Mahler were excellent.

  9. Vaquero357 says:

    Honeck? No, NO, *NO* – we need him here in the U.S., in Pittsburgh for the time being, where he’s molded one of the two most spectacular orchestras in the country (Minnesota under Vanska is the other one). I’ve heard a LOT of Honeck concerts in recent years, both with Pittsburgh and other orchestra where the guests, and he is by far one of the most prodigiously talented conductors who steps up to a podium today. Oh, wait, what am I doing?…..

    Hey, if anybody from the Concertgebouw is reading this, just pass on Honeck. Yeah, he’s terrible. You folks really deserve another Gatti.

    And, of course, Honeck is the perfect choice to replace Muti when he leaves Chicago. Honeck has actually conducted the orchestra quite a bit, and his nouveau Austrian style meshes perfectly with the CSO’s strengths.

    1. John Kelly says:

      Agree that Honeck has been excellent in Pittsburgh and the orchestra is as good as any in the country on their day. Really top notch. Best horn section bar none.
      He is a wonderful musician and conductor and I always look forward to his thoughtful programs and I have all his recordings.

      I also think Honeck would be a good fit in Amsterdam, maybe he could do both, it’s not as if Pittsburgh has a truly full season (compared to Philly, Chicago or NY for example).

      My only gripe with Honeck was his addition to the piccolo part in Beethoven 6 – made it sound like Stars and Stripes Forever…………..if Stokowski had done that even he would have been run out of town!

      1. buxtehude says:

        John Kelly — cmon tell why it was you brought Omarosa down to the War Room?

        1. John Kelly says:

          No sorry. All kinds of people think this is funny that I share the name with the man in the White House. There are a gazillion of us John Kellys – all with unimaginative parents……….

  10. anon says:

    If Chicago had wanted Honeck they wouldn’t have extended Muti for 2 more years.

    1. Andrew Powell says:

      Chicago’s muckety-mucks will extend Muti as long as they can. Marquee name and all that.

  11. anon says:

    Concertgebouw and Chicago both need to pick someone young, innovative, with new ideas. It’s getting too damn dusty and mildewy over there for too long, they are becoming mausoleums.

  12. The Ghost of Karlos Cleiber says:

    I genuinely think Honeck is the best conductor alive (OK, possibly Chailly). I was really surprised when I heard some of his work with Pittsburgh as all I’d heard previously was the most godawful Beethoven 5th with the Oslo Philharmonic at the Proms some years ago. His utterly superlative recording of that piece (and the 7th) with Pittsburgh, though, shows that was clearly an off-night.

    He’s just about the only conductor around at the moment (at least that I’m aware of) who is able to bring genuine insight to almost anything, not as a function of imposing meretricious ‘ideas’ but because either a) it’s in the score anyway or b) his awareness of playing traditions. I never thought I’d go for Bruckner that wasn’t done in a hands-off-Gunter-Wand-ish way, but Honeck proved me wrong. He seems to be able to do it in all sorts of repertoire too: Mahler, Bruckner, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Strauss, Janacek.

    The Concertgebouw would do very well indeed to snap him up. He’s the real deal, and they don’t come along often. By all accounts he’s a real gent too, which I suspect will be welcome after Gatti.

    1. William Ford says:

      Totally agree.

    2. Barry says:

      Also agree. While I’m very happy to have Yannick in Philadelphia, he is still young and still growing as a conductor. Honeck is already fully developed and in his prime. I don’t think there is anyone currently working who would be a better music director choice for virtually any of today’s top tier orchestras.

      1. Barry says:

        Actually, to correct the above, I’m not sure I agree that Honeck is the best living conductor. But I would say he’s the best one young enough to take on a major post at this point.

  13. William Ford says:

    Why am I not surprised about Maestro Honeck?

    1. Petros Linardos says:

      Because he is a real musician.

  14. kuma says:

    Augh. Hope Haitink will lead the Concertgebouw in Chicago next year instead of Honeck..

  15. Rgiarola says:

    I’m sorry my dears for been so selfish due to the sensitive cause that results in this situation, but I’ve got tickets for both Bruckener 3th and Mahler 7th (Now 9th).
    I’m so relieve they get Honeck and Haitink! I was worried about a conductor that I would never spent a nickel.

  16. ML says:

    Honeck is apparently a great human being, but I have mixed feelings about his music-making. It is either very good (like last year’s Mahler #5 with the CSO) or pretty bad (again last year’s Schubert #9 with the CSO, or Dvorak #8). He still has room for a lot of growth and certainly deserves to move up the ladder (conductors with much less musicianship earns much more than he does at PSO), but not the CSO, at least not now.

    I really hope Bychkov could succeed Muti in case Muti retires. I cannot forget Bychkov’s Brahms #1 from a few years back. Thursday’s concert was already good, but Tuesday’s was even better–incandescent. After that, Bychkov raised the score above his head as a gesture of worship of Brahms and gratitude towards the orchestra.

    1. kuma says:

      I agree with you on Honeck/CSO’s Dvorak and Schubert gigs. Lacklustre and I was so bored. I did not attend his Mahler 5 but my friend went and told me it was very good.

      After Muti, the CSO needs some young blood.

  17. Pedro says:

    I have heard Honeck only once live and was not impressed at all. It was in Brussels two seasons ago with the PSO, which is a good orchestra but not one of the top league. It sounded much better with Maazel and Janssons. Regarding Honeck, he managed to cover Trifonov in Rachmaninov 2. The second half was the suite he made with Elektra themes. Unsubtle and again too loud. The Concertgebouw deserves better. Thielemann, Salonen, Mirga and Mälkki also have only one position and are my first choices. Personal opinion, of course, but as valid as others. That said, I am happy that the RCO managed to get Haitink for Mahler 9 on September 29. I had a ticket for that concert and also one for the Mahler 9 he cancelled in June. Judging from previous experiences with both the BPO and the VPO, Haitink s Mahler 9 is quite an experience. Only Karajan in 1982 with the BPO in Vienna and Salzburg surpassed him, though Abbado, Maazel and Barenboim also came close – I never heard Boulez or Salonen live in the work.

    1. PaulD says:

      Karajan, Mahler’s 9th in New York, 1982, with the BPO. Thirty-six years later, I’ve never heard a better performance of anything, anywhere.

    2. Notobrands says:

      Mirga? She destroyed the Met orchestra at Carnegie Hall. You are a brand man.

    3. barry guerrero says:

      “second half was the suite he made with “Elektra” themes. Unsubtle and again too loud . . .

      “Elektra” IS un-subltle and, often times, ‘too loud’. That’s the whole point – who wants an elegant Elektra!

  18. Anthony Kershaw says:

    Honeck? No. God, no.

    Harding? Yes.

  19. Maarten Brandt says:

    I am not against Honeck but I want to focus your attention to a few very interesting dutch names: Ed Spanjaard in the first place who conducted fantastic concerts with the RCO but was for understandable reasons neglected for ten years untill now. Apart from Mahler (from who he did al lot) en Bruckner (from who he conduced all symphonies) he has an enormous variety in repertoire, ranging from Bach to Boulez and almost everything in between. He conducted a fantastic production of Wagners Ring with the ‘Nederlandse Reis Opera'(Dutch Travel Opera) and is one of of our ( if not the worlds) finest specialist on the fields on French music. His Pelleas and Melisande was en real sensation, both in dramatic shaping and orchestral refinement, and they (the RCO and Dutch National Opera) certainly should ask him for their new production of Debussy’s ‘Drame lyrique’ which was scheduled for Gatti. If one would like compare Spanjaard with one of his predecessors it would be without the slightest doubt Eduard van Beinum, both being specialists of the highest rank in Bruckner and Debussy.
    Some other great – and many-sided – Dutch conducting-talents are Jac van Steen (who never conducted the RCO, which is a shame for somebody who conducts such an amount of repertoire all over the world – e.g. with the Philharmonia Orchestra and as a regular guest of the Proms, in Germany up to Malaysia), Antony Hermus (who did a fantastic Mahler 6th, Wagners Ring and will conduct in due time Bruckners 8th Symphony with the famous orchestra in Seoul) and Otto Tausk, the new chief of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and who made recently a debut with an overwhelming ‘A hero’s life’ with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Proms.
    If it is about Bruckner, on of the best kept secrets is the Austrian conductor Martin Sieghart (on of the former chief-conductors of the Linzer Bruckner Orchestra), He conducted all Bruckner-symphonies and some of them many times on the highest possible level as well – apart from the 8th – all Mahler symphonies, the world-premiere of the Mazzuca/Samale realization of the 10th included.

    1. Thomas says:

      You forgot to mention André Rieu.

    2. barry guerrero says:

      Very interesting. Thanks.

    3. John Borstlap says:

      Agreed concerning Spanjaard. An allround musician with brilliant technique and musical insights.

  20. Maarten Brandt says:

    ununderstandable reasons, sorry

  21. Elisabeth Matesky says:

    To All Intriguing Contributor’s ~

    Having held tenure in Solti’s Chicago Symphony Orchestra, & at its Peak, I find all Replies here fascinating & informative, to say the least! The use of
    a phrased adjective, as a ‘Mausoleum’, was startling yet a Heifetz -Milstein mentored Violinist musician can ‘get’ your collective drift! It seems to me, a
    musician having travelled ‘2 Track’ – Orchestral/International Soloist Career paths, the RCO requires a Solti/CSO “Model”, fusing Sir Georg Solti ‘Outer
    Galactic’ Energy w/ City of Big Shoulders muscularity & ‘Big Time’ attitude in making Music of the mostly Chicago born & bred Orchestra. A ‘My Kinda’
    Town’ Sinatra swagger with mushy hearts + dynamic & humane Solti was a Musical + p.r. Marriage made in Heaven! To dismiss the fame bit, although admittedly shallow, ignores 2018/19 & on Reality due to Internet Presence connecting w/ DG having just purchased Internet real estate! Okay! So the ‘Suit’s’ in real responsibility are charged with a ‘Moon Landing’ decision in appointing a New Chief Conductor, & not knowing the temperament of the great Dutch City of Amsterdam, it’s more than beyond my musical abilities to factor in every ingredient needed in the mix to produce a Solti/Chicago based Mirror for a*****/ Concertgebouw ‘Happening’, globally, but my gut is telling me our CSO Model is Key for a dynamic Quarter Plus 21st Century ‘outta Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Dominance prevailing over all other Elite Orchestra’s on the Planet!!!

    Who has those qualities required to lead RCO musician’s temperament up to Mt. Everest heights of unmistakable RCO musical style who in so doing, will paint a Dutch “Orchestral Face” with immediate sound identity to all on
    this Earth? This appears Paramount in searching for a ‘Be Ye transformed by the renewing of your Mind’ Chief Conductor/Music Director with Musical Warrior experience?!

    Never intending nor imagining writing any of the above, please don’t think my thoughts idle or foolish, for amid great adversity lies great opportunity!

    In closing, my last statement is firm belief in Providence opening a Door ~

    Respectfully offered by

    Elisabeth Matesky / Chicago

    1. buxtehude says:

      Then let us pray

  22. Arameo says:

    They should try Lionel Bringuier for some of the dates. Now seem to be quite free

    1. John Kelly says:

      Some might say “with good reason”………………………….

  23. Saxon Broken says:

    Honeck is already 60. They may decide they want someone a little younger.

  24. Elisabeth Matesky says:

    **P.S. I think it is spelled Carlos Kleiber ~ (from the Contributor above
    on Headline ~ “The Death of Karlos Cleiber” … )

    No offense intended ~

    From “muckity mucks” Chicago, but never a Member!

    E. Matesky

  25. Elisabeth Matesky says:

    SORRY TO CONTRIBUTOR OF ~

    “The Ghost of Karlos Cleiber” ~ I misread your Headline and must offer
    my sincere Apologies, as you Never wrote what I very mistakenly just
    Spell corrected in (I believe) the name of Conductor, Carlos Kleiber ?? Truly so sorry, please accept transatlantic apologies ~

    Yours sincerely,

    E. Matesky *

    * Making such an error puts me in the ‘muckity muck’ Club ~

    1. The Ghost of Karlos Cleiber says:

      No problem and I know it’s really Carlos Kleiber; the name is a joke!

      1. Elisabeth Matesky says:

        Okay, “Ghost of Karlos Cleiber”!!! Thanks for lightening it up!!! One doesn’t
        wish to offend transatlantic musical colleagues and bonafide aficionados of
        Music ~

        Oddly, there could be some possible musical project/s in Amsterdam, & I’ll
        know a bit more in the these coming weeks!! The Last time in Amsterdam,
        I gave a recital with my London pianist in the Concertgebouw Recital Hall w/lovely acoustics at that time ~ Our concert programme included Mozart’s Sonata, K. 301 in G Major for Violin & Piano, Unaccompanied 1st Sonata of Bach in g minor for Violin. ~ Pause ~ Aaron Copland’s Sonata for Violin & Piano, Joseph Achron’s ‘Hebrew Melody’ and the Brahms Sonata #3 in d minor for Violin & Piano + an Encore of Saint Saens’ Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso for Violin w/ piano accompaniment ~ (If my memory serves me well, we may have added a Sibelius Humoresque for Violin as an Encore?)

        By now, quite long ago, one can’t remember the full programme! Not ever wishing to over stay, we flew back to London, then were off to Vienna for a recital in the fabled Brahms Saal in that wondrous Musikverein! It was as a
        dream with such warmth from the audience, we offered Icon Fritz Kreisler’s ‘Liebeslied” as our Encore! A Viennese newspaper, Volkstimme, carried a truly loving musical critique …

        Sorry I got carried away thinking back to a more elegant and gentler time ~

        Offerings of cordial musical greetings from America!

        Elisabeth Matesky

  26. Pedro says:

    It has now been announced that Michael Sanderling with conduct the former Gatti concerts in late September ( Andriessen and Bruckner ).


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