Youngest music director appoints ‘creative chair’

Lionel Bringuier, 27, incoming music director of the Zurich Tonhalle, has announced the appointment of a senior colleague as Creative Chair. The man he has chosen is Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Finnish maestro who brought Bringuier as his own assistant to the Los Angeles Philharmonic eight years ago.

This may seem a little cosy. The pair also share the same agent. On the other hand, they are engaged in constant creative discussions and it may be that Lionel felt a need to add ballast to his team for the conservative Zurich audience. Look on it as an insurance policy (they’re big on insurance beside Lake Zurich).

The potential drawback is that the need for cover may be perceived as lessening the music director’s authority. And a loss of courage by the Swiss, stunned by their daring in hiring so young a chief conductor.



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  • Mark Newbanks is the name of the agent. and he is also the agent of Dudamel. And Mrs Schmiel has always proven to be very clever and “political” in order to push her own carrier. Good for her. Hopefully good for Zurich!

  • Come on Norman, what a jaundiced comment. The “creative chair” is just for one year. Sort of “composer in residence” who also advises and conducts. for one year. That Bringuier choses someone he knows and trusts for his start is just normal. Just give this young man some credit and judge from the results. L.F.

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