Aussie orchestra goes for football contract

Like Manchester United, which renewes Ryan Giggs year by year, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra has extended Vladimir Ashkenazy’s contract as principal conductor and artistic advisor to the end of 2013. The initial deal, ending 2012, was for four years.

This is a tad unusual for big-name conductors, who like to have everything inked in the diary three years in advance, but it makes a lot of sense in present circs. Shorter contracts mean greater flexibility, spontaneity and the opportunity for invention.

Ashkenazy, 73, has worked wonders with the Aussies. I hope the extension is not the last. In any event, it’s a good model for the rest of us.

US orchestras take note: one year contracts could be just the thing.

Here’s the announcement.

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  • Not sure how this would work Norman – all conductors i know of any standing probably have a diary booked three years out and most orchestras plan programnmes in outline at least two.

  • Someday we should have lunch (on me) and I’ll talk you through the complexities of running 75 – 80 concerts in the home base with another 50+ out of town – all with interlocking programmes – all with different needs and pieces that won’t work (for a variety of reasons) in all venues and all with different rehearsal, artist and size of orchestra requirements – oh and then there’s the budgets……. We will have time for all three courses. John

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