Maestro news: US orch names monosyllabic music director

Charleston has been without a music director since its last incumbent died in 2010. It staged a season’s shootout between six batons and chose the one with the shortest name. Has any maestro anywhere got a more laconic name than Ken Lam?

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  • At least he has two names. The fashion nowadays seems to be for just one. Midori Goto has always been known as plain Midori. Nigel Kennedy tried it by reverting to just Kennedy. Chopin Competition winner Yundi Li is now billed as Yundi. An excellent young Korean pianist who played a Mozart concerto with the New York Phil a decade or so ago aged 11 has gone further, Originally Kim Ji-Yong, he changed to Ji-Yong. Now he is merely Ji – surely the shortest name for any classical musician?

  • Not more laconic but equivalent is Yu Long, Music Director of China Philharmonic and also Guangzhou Symphony, not to mention Artistic Director of Beijing Music Festival. Not far behind is Lan Shui, Music Director of Singapore Symphony and Principal Conductor of Copenhagen Philharmonic. Both were at the BBC Proms this year with their respective ensembles.

  • Very witty, all this citing of short names, but in fact Mr. Lam is a fine conductor and I wish him and his orchestra much success.

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