Who’s free? Me, says Gergiev

Who’s free? Me, says Gergiev


norman lebrecht

April 08, 2014

Carnegie Hall, hustling round for a second replacement for the indisposed Lorin Maazel, followed the old dictum: always ask a busy man. It looks like the LSO get short measure from his translatlantic rescue mission, but that was never likely to bother their outgoing chief. Release below.

gergiev china




Lorin Maazel, Scheduled to Conduct on April 11 and 12, Unable To Appear Due to Illness

As Previously Announced, Fabio Luisi To Conduct April 12 Program

Carnegie Hall today announced that conductor Valery Gergiev will step in for Lorin Maazel on Friday, April 11 at 8:00 p.m., leading the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra in the first of two all-Richard Strauss programs this week at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. Due to illness, Maestro Maazel with deep regret has cancelled his professional engagements in Munich and New York this week. As previously announced, Fabio Luisi will conduct the orchestra on Saturday, April 12 at 8:00 p.m.

The two programs are unchanged, with Mr. Gergiev—the Music Director Designate of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra—leading a program of Strauss’s Also sprach ZarathustraTill Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, and joined by pianist Emanuel Ax for Burleske. The following evening, Mr. Luisi conducts the orchestra, with soprano Karita Mattila singing the composer’s Four Last Songs on a program that also includes Ein Heldenleben and Der Rosenkavalier Suite.

Carnegie Hall and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra are very grateful to Mr. Gergiev and Mr. Luisi for agreeing to conduct these concerts on short notice. Mr. Gergiev, who altered his schedule to fly from Europe expressly for this event before immediately returning to London to conduct on Sunday, has been appointed to succeed Mr. Maazel as the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra’s Music Director in 2015. Mr. Luisi is currently in New York leading rehearsals of La Cenerentola and appears at Carnegie Hall courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera.


  • Doug says:

    Do you suppose if a couple of Carnegie Hall stagehands walked down to the Bowery, picked up a homeless wino who was the same age and resembled Gergiev, gave him some uppers to make his hands jittery, offered free alcohol–only after the concert, would the orchestra know the difference? Okay, okay, the first row of players might wonder what that new brand of designer perfume was he is wearing.

    • Iain Scott says:

      That’s incredibly insulting to orchestral musicians. If you listen to players of the BBC Symphony talking about a Gergiev rehearsal you will understand why he is a great musician.

      Ok I know this was a joke but orchestral players have to put up with so many mediocrities .

      Now if it had been a “random” replacing Charles Dutoit then aim sure the orchestra would have improved enormously .

  • timwalton3 says:

    Wouldn’t it be funny if the US government refused him entry!

    It would serve him right.

  • Sonja Staron says:

    So much for the American interests (such as they might be) to impose sanctions on Russia for invading the Ukraine, and Giergiev who supports all this, keeps his money presumably in a numbered bank account who knows where. aughing his head off in Munich and at Carnegie Hall

  • ed says:

    Doug, tim, Sonja, what you are saying is why music education doesn’t get on the smart university list, though I suppose good history isn’t taught in many of the smart ones either. For a much needed reality check, you might read the Time Magazine Op-Ed and some of the other commentary by Jack Matlock, Ronald Reagan’s former Ambassador to the Soviet Union. They can be accessed at: http://time.com/29107/former-u-s-ambassador-to-ussr-let-russia-take-crimea/ and http://jackmatlock.com/2014/02/ukraine-and-the-united-states/ In fact, his website, http://www.jackmatlock.com provides a sober tonic to the nonsense that is being parroted so widely in the mainstream media.

  • suzanne says:

    the bitter irony is that Munich and Kiev are partner cities – as are Edinburgh and Kiev by the way, but I don’t see the Edinburgh Festival reneging on their invitation to Gergiev, either.

  • Who Knows Who says:

    At what point does all of this get old? If a conductor or musician agrees with your POV you let them off the hook. The moment they disagree you are after them. This is the hypocrisy here. Ultimately, the litmus test for musicians will backfire. If one must answer then all should answer. Alternatively, perhaps all should stop answering and get back to making music and get beyond the sideshow.

  • harold braun says:

    I thought this is an arts blog,not a politics blog in the first place.He is one of the best in the business.Period.

  • Richard says:

    I agree – stop the Gergiev bashing! How can he possibly understand what is going on in the world politically when all he is does is conduct every orchestra in the world?

    • John Borstlap says:

      Even more so, since it now appears that G has the gift of plural presence (which in older times only the early Christian saints had): he has been spotted to conduct in NY at the same night he was conducting in both St Petersburg and Rotterdam. Also there have been reports that he was fed through a tube, held by an assisant, both hurrying into a taxi, score of Mahler 8 in G’s left and one of Shostakovich’s 5 in his right hand.

  • MWnyc says:

    Well, it’s not as if Gergiev and the orchestra barely know each other.

  • Alexander Hall says:

    Presumably Valery the Great will be beautifully jet-lagged by the time he steps onto the Barbican stage on Sunday night. If the LSO are on auto-pilot, it won’t really matter whether he flutters his eyelashes at them or his fingers.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Wish some of you would stop having a go at the only Russian you know of. If you feel so strongly go to your nearest Russian embassy and moan about Putin.

    There’s also a concert listed in Novosibirsk over the week end so by Sunday at the Barbican he’ll be knackered.

  • ed says:

    It makes sense that Gergiev should come through in the crunch for the Munich Philharmonic. He does after all have a strong commitment with the orchestra, and this is one more thing that will build trust between the music director and orchestra. So why pillory him for stepping up to the plate?

    • Alexander Hall says:

      If you were the management of the orchestra where he is still the Principal Conductor, and you knew that two days before he was due to conduct an important concert with them in London’s Barbican he was giving a jump-in concert in New York and then having to fly back across the Atlantic, with all the strains that is going to put on a man in his sixties, wouldn’t you feel mildly aggrieved? I know I would.

  • sixtus says:

    Regardless of the politics, I must say — and as I implied with my comments on the Luisi announcement — that this will probably produce a marked improvement in musical interpretation over what Maazel would have done. Of course, this doesn’t mitigate the fact that Carnegie has no real pipe organ for Zarathustra.