Two orchs decide to share conductor

The Residentie Orchestra of The Hague has announced a new chief conductor. It’s Jan Willem de Vriend, who is already chief of the Dutch SO, an ensemble embroiled in a bitter legal battle over its name.

The two orchestras have – unusually – agreed to share Vriend’s services. They are in different parts of the (small) country. Let’s see how that works.

vriend

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  • It worked for years in Saskatchewan, where Victor Sawa was MD of both the Regina and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestras ( he has recently announced his resignation, effective in two seasons, from Regina). The distances are probably no greater in the Netherlands. He also is MD of an Orchestra in Ontario.

    Can’t be any harder for Maestro Vriend than it is for Yannick N-S, who leads Rotterdam, Philadelphia, Montreal Metropolitaine and is, till the end of this season, Principal Guest at the LPO.

  • Why should that not work. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam for instance share his Mariss Jansons with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, Germany. And there are other examples working out.

  • It’s not so unusual in Holland. Jaap van Zweden at one time had three orchestras: The Netherlands Symphony, The Residentie and the Netherlands Radio Phil.

  • Residentie’s announcement states explicitly that they will have no music director. (“The orchestra sees no role for a chief conductor.”) De Vriend is being appointed as a permanent conductors (“vaste dirigent”) – one of two, the other to be appointed soon, to work alongside permanent guest conductor Richard Egarr, each with expertise in different areas of the repertory. So the real news might seem to be that here’s another ensemble deciding that, like the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, it can do better without a chef but with a collection of, in essence, guests.

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