Just in: Spanish orch picks US music director

Just in: Spanish orch picks US music director


norman lebrecht

December 12, 2014

Musicians of the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra today surprised pundits by picking a little-known American as music director.

From a candidate field that included the Mexican Carlos Miguel Prieto, the Israeli Yaron Traub and the strongly-tipped Italian Speranza Scappucci, the players cast most of their votes for Erik Nielsen.

Nielsen, 37 and from Iowa, has beenĀ Kapellmeister at Frankfurt Opera and a Solti Fellowship holder. Six weeks ago, he was named as music director of the opera house in Basle, Switzerland.


erik nielsen


  • Ks. Christopher Robson says:

    Congratulations Erik, fantastic news šŸ™‚ and well deserved. What an amazing last few years this has been for him!!

  • Mike says:

    Well done Bilbao, fantastic conductor. Congratulations

  • Sally says:

    Consummate musician. Great to hear that the players’ votes counted so much in the appointment, as this is not frequently taken into consideration in American orchestras. I wish the article mentioned Nielsen earlier and talked more about him, rather than commenting on the field of candidates and suggesting at a surprise to pundits. Pundits aren’t active in the field, and aren’t present at rehearsals. So little of a conductor’s worth and musicianship can be viewed from an audience. Congrats to Erik