Just in: US conductor steps into Karajan's shoes

Just in: US conductor steps into Karajan's shoes


norman lebrecht

November 23, 2011

The town of Aachen has announced a new general music director.

He’s American, 32, and about to step into the post which, in 1935, catapulted Herbert von Karajan to mass adulation and notoriety.

Kazem Abdullah was previously an assistant at the Metropolitan Opera from 2006-09; he has since conducted in Sao Paolo, Brazil. More about him here.

Karajan, who was 27 when he came to Aachen, had previously resigned from a dead-end job at Ulm.

 (photo: emil-berlinerstudios.com)

Karajan willingly served a racialist regime. Abdullah represents cultural change in a multicultural Germany. Odd, how the world turns.



  • Tor Frømyhr says:

    I think he will find the shoes far too small

  • Mark Stryker says:

    Abdullah is the real deal. He was in Detroit earlier this month to conduct “The Marriage of Figaro” for Michigan Opera Theatre and it was impressive, espcially for one so young — musically stylish, frisky but warm and lyrical and the ensembles were alluring and well-balanced. I have not heard him lead an orchestral concert but hope to have the chance in the future.

    Mark Stryker
    Detroit Free Press

    • Alexander Radziewski says:

      Aachen had for decades a very good hand for upcoming conductors. Beside Karajan, there were Fritz Busch and Wolfgang Sawallisch who started the career in Aachen too.
      One of the best orchestras in the periphery of the big cities, absolutely not in the province.