Hot tip-off: Five names in the frame for Jansons’ job

Hot tip-off: Five names in the frame for Jansons’ job


norman lebrecht

September 12, 2014

We hear the Concertgebouw has very quickly put together a shortlist of the maestros it wants to consider to succeed Mariss Jansons.

Three are Finns: Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Sakari Oramo.

Paavo Jarvi was added, two weeks ago, the moment he announced his departure from the Orchestre de Paris.

The fifth name is unknown to us at this point.

Of the four, Paavo’s manager will want more than the frugal Dutch can pay, Esa-Pekka keeps saying he means to spend more time composing and Saraste has never held office with a frontline European orchestra.

That leaves this man as Amsterdam frontrunner.


(c) Norman Perryman/Lebrecht Music&Arts


UPDATE: Sakari Oramo has contacted Slipped Disc to say he is definitely not on the C’bouw list. Others, however, have been added.



  • Erich says:

    Interesting that Gatti’s name is missing. That had been touted.

    • Brian says:

      And Iván Fischer’s name is missing, too, so far. He did (and will do) the Beethoven cycle with them and, like Gatti, he conducted in the massive 2010-11 Mahlerfest (no. 4, one of the very few I missed).

      Saraste is currently with the WDR SO in Cologne, a city with a notoriously difficult culture department. Not many people care to stay there for long. To be honest, I would much prefer Salonen to him, though.

      Does anyone know a date for Jansons’ final concert of the season?

  • Jan de Jong says:

    Jarvi has not got time. He accepted Tokyo.

    Esa-Pekka Salonen would fit very well with the RCO. Both are very dedicated to contemporary music.

    The real frontrunner is the fifth one: Ivan Fischer.

  • vandamme says:

    The fifth is Jaap van Zweden.

    • John Borstlap says:

      No way – Van Zweden could get much better (Chicago? Orch de Paris? NYPh?). He would not be interested in a snake pit.

  • Luciano says:

    Surely the frontrunners are Ivan Fischer and Gatti. Both have ongoing relationships with the orchestra and both are more than qualified. None of the Finns mentioned have such a relationship with the orchestra.

  • Gerard says:

    Don’t think it will be a finn. Finnish conductors want to do complete Sibelius symphony cycles, but in the Netherlands the orchestras only want to play Sib 2 and 5 and Mahler and Beethoven cycles and not a complete cycle by one of the greatest symphonist of the 20th century. So skip the fins:-)

  • erich says:

    The major opera is Pique Dame directed by Stefan Herheim as a follow up to their Onegin.

  • Gilles says:

    I agree I Fischer and Gatti are missing. Järvi had no chance.
    And EPS could be interested by Orchestre de Paris

  • Gilles says:

    I agree I Fischer and Gatti are naturals successors. Järvi is out for this job.
    And may be EPS is interested with Orchestre de Paris

  • ruben greenberg says:

    Why not a Dutch conductor? What about Jaap Van Zweden, thir former leader?

    • NYMike says:

      Yes, why not Van Zweden?

      • Jan de Jong says:

        That would mean that a former musician of a leading orchestra will become its principal conductor. That has not happened very often in recent times, as far as I know. Van Zweden himself has declared that his dream had been always to become conductor of a major American orchestra, mentioning Chicago, New York or Cleveland.

        It woud be great for Dutch musical life if Van Zweden gets the job.

    • Nick says:

      Van Zweden has relatively recently extended his contracts in both Dallas and Hong Kong thru the summer of 2019. I suppose it would still be possible for him to add the Concertgebouw but that would severely restrict his guest conductor opportunities.

      • John Borstlap says:

        From an artistic point of view, and from a point of view which appreciates national cultural identity and pride in a nation’s own greatest talents, and from the point of view that this orchestra deserves someone whose musical capacities can dig out the deepest and most expressive layers of meaning from the repertoire the orchestra excells in – i.e. Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner (!), Mahler (!), as well as someone with a genuine interest in contemporary music, Van Zweden would be ideal. But that means he will never be chief conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, given the mentality of the Dutch. On top of this, Van Zweden – having spent many years as concert master – knows too well the way the management handles artistic and personal matters (as for instance the Haitink affair showed). Very regrettable for the fantastic players and for the audience, but Van Zweden can and will get something much better.

  • F. Checker says:

    What is your source? This list seems to be very unlikely while all these conductors did not work with the orchestra in the last five years. They all, accept Salonen, conducted the orchestra just two times. A more likely list would be: Fischer, Nelsons and Gatti.

    • John Borstlap says:

      If Fischer would take-on the job, he probably would leave the Berlin Konzerthausorchester, which seems unlikely given his good results there.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    What about Christoph Eschenbach?

  • Perhaps he has exit clauses that allow him to leave early if a certain opportunity comes up. That happens with college football coaches, which is often more highly paid than orchestral conducting.

  • Herman says:

    Today in Trouw there was an interview with Pablo Heras Cassado. The journalist mentioned that his name is mentioned quite often

  • rambonito says:

    I’m afraid Norman Lebrecht, that you are not so well informed…

    • Max Grimm says:

      Quite the contrary is the case Rambonito. I was told of the same shortlist containing the same names by my cousin’s girlfriend’s mother, who heard it from her colleague, who heard it directly from his neighbour’s brother’s son-in-law, who is a baker and sold a worstenbroodje to one of the Concertgebouw caretakers’ nieces.

  • Daphne Badger says:

    This is such a bizarre list, and fathomless musings. Do any of these conductors have a significant relationship with the orchestra? None of them are conducting the orchestra in the next year. And none of them have done in the past year either. Orchestras like the Concertgebouw don’t just pluck names out of a hat, they deepen existing relationships and take their time. Fischer and Gatti are there often, but Fischer is too affected and Gatti too wayward. Luisi has just taken the Danish Radio job. Nelsons has made no secret of the fact that Boston is the priority for now. But none of these anyway are the heavyweight name the orchestra will need, if they are to combat the reported financial issues. Look at the forthcoming season – Jurowski is a conductor of real intelligence and integrity. And Semyon Bychkov is without a job at the moment – of his generation there are few with the same artistic clout and understanding of how to mould the orchestra’s sound and respect their tradition – his performances with the orchestra in recent seasons have been very significant events….

  • rambonito says:

    And who is on the Berlin Phil list?

  • rambonito says:

    Could be funny to hear about rumours in Berlin as well. Yutaka Sado? Pablo Heras-Casado? Kristian Järvi? Lionel Bringuier?

  • Nick says:

    Could Myung Whun Chung be the fifth on that list? He just recently conducted the Concertgebouw and toured with them a couple of years ago. He has directed all the major European orchestras including Vienna and Berlin, and occupies the newly created post of Principal Guest with the Dresden Staatskapelle. He’s also due to leave his 15 year directorship of l’ Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France next summer. His career seems firmly based in Europe with just occasional trips back to Asia for the Seoul Philharmonic which he has developed quite amazingly.

    • Young says:

      It’s not surprisng there is no heavyweight name in the shortlist given the reported financial crisis of RCO.

      • Jan de Jong says:

        It is too early to call the situation at the RCO a financial crisis. A couple of weeks ago, the orchestra urged sponsors and public bodies to keep the budget of the orchestra at an international level. If not, it will be hard to maintain the level of the orchestra. Nothing new for insiders. The management is just preparing the future. There is budget for a major conductor.

  • Ed says:

    What about Daniel Barenboim?

  • Marcel says:

    I don’t know where that info comes from , but it is totally wrong and miss leading. None of those conductors did appeared during last seasons with the RCO, and therefore the idea of them becoming chief-conductor in Amsterdam is totally out of the picture.

  • Some insiders were talking about Nelsons or Gatti.

    The best idea is to have Chailly back. This would be groundbreaking indeed. 🙂

  • Herman says:

    I think Pablo Heras- Casado is also in the race. He has conducted 2 times the RCO so far; with great succes. He was also mentioned yesterday in an interview with him in ‘Trouw’ yesterday.

  • Jan de Jong says:

    I would not be surprised if a young person will be chosen like Haitink and Chailly when they arrived. The orchestra is looking for somebody who can stay for decades. in 125 years the RCO had six chief conducters. Another option is a duo, like Haitink and Jochum after the death of Van Beinum. That would make it possible to get a conductors with major obligations at other orchestras.

    • John Borstlap says:

      A duo would certainly be interesting and maybe the better option…. offering both more windows for guest work. In the twenties, next to Willem Mengelberg the orchestra had no less a person than Pierre Monteux sharing the work. It seems to have been a really great time for music making in Amsterdam.

  • Aart van der Wal, OpusKlassiek says:

    Why not just wait and see? All these opinions are hardly productive.

  • William Ford says:

    I am available.