Why has Placido Domingo been roped in to regenerate Salzburg conductors contest?

Why has Placido Domingo been roped in to regenerate Salzburg conductors contest?


norman lebrecht

August 03, 2014

Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award has announced Placido Domingo as its honorary president next year. The contest was founded in 2010 and has quickly gained a reputation as one of the cleanest and clear-sighted of its kind.

Its winners are:

Maxime Pascal (France) 2014
Ben Gernon, (UK), 2013
Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla, (Lithuania), 2012
Ainars Rubikis, (Latvia), 2011)
David Afkham, (Germany), 2010

All five winners are highly promising, taking big strides onto the world stage. Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla just last week was appointed assistant conductor with the LA Philharmonic.


So this weekende’s decision to appoint Placido Domingo to an ‘honorary presidency’ that will give the contest ‘important impetus for its next phase’ is puzzling to say the least. ‘I am confident that he will lead the “Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award” in a new groundbreaking era,’ says Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe.

Oh really? Or is Nestlé just buying into a strong brand? Domingo is too busy as a singer, director of LA Opera and entrepreneur to give the competition detailed attention.

All Salzburg needs to do to break new ground is keep on picking the best young conductors under 30.


  • GEll says:

    Agree. No one in their right mind would name Domingo a true conductor. In comparison, Eschenbach is Carlos Kleiber incarnate.

  • Nick says:

    Nestlé gets a name that looks great on the letterhead. Domingo gets more cash. Can’t see much more to it than that – unless it includes lots of free trips on Nestlé’s private jets!.

  • Ed says:

    I’m surprised Domingo wants to be associated with Nestlé after their CEO’s claim the water was not a human right