Chaos at Rotterdam Phil as boss extends his sick leave

Chaos at Rotterdam Phil as boss extends his sick leave


norman lebrecht

May 30, 2014

We’ve been hearing rumblings of discontent for months, but our informants refused to be specific. Now, the rupture is now in the open.

The Rotterdam Philharmonic has a scattering of empty seats in the ensemble and some very discontented musicians. In the face of player complaints the chief executive, Hans Waege, has been – even by Dutch standards – uncommunicative.

Five weeks ago, Waege went on sick leave. Only his doctor knows when he’ll be back. The uncertainty is unsettling. Several players have been auditioning for other orchestras. The music director, Yannik Nézet-Séguin is believed to have had a falling out with Waege.

Here’s a report in Dutch.



  • Jan de Jong says:

    It is very sad what is happening in Rotterdam. The orchestra is excellent, de Doelen Concert Hall has fine acoustics, but too many seats remain empty….
    If you do not manage to get the hall sold out with a chief conductor like Yannick, there is something very wrong with the management.
    As a consequence, Yannik Nézet-Séguin is working only three weeks with the orchestra in the next season, doing just 3 programs (8 concerts). That is far too little for a chief conductor and bad for the orchestra.

    • Gerard says:

      It doesn’t surprise me at all. Already a year(!) ago there was a discussion on Operamagazine after a podcast of an interview with Hans Waege about his plans (read: no plans!) with the orchestra. It became the most discussed topic on this magazine. For people speaking dutch, you can read it here:

      The programming of the Rotterdam Philharmonic has become extremely dull and unimaginitive since Waege has become director. E.g. , the Gergiev Festival has become nothing more than an extension of the usual concert programm. The ridiculous solution for Waege to attract a new audience was taking the orchestra to unusual hip and trendy locations, and mingling with DJ’s with people who just don’t care about classical music and who will never go to a normal concert. What the orchestra need is a visionary man with good taste about what is going on in the classical music business today, and has interest in both classical and new music and who invents innovative programms. New music has become something very very rare in Rotterdam (in the new season Poulenc is the most modern composer!) as if it’s something to be scary of. In the coming season Yannick Nezet conducts only a couple of concerts, Gergiev is more present then the artistic director!

      • Anon says:

        While Waege would oversee it, in fairness the programming isn’t his job. The orchestra had some four Artistic Directors in the last five years (each one having to administer a season programmed by a predecessor as well as plan their own future seasons) which isn’t a recipe for a coherent artistic vision.