In my monthly Standpoint essay, I assess the likely outcome of the May 11 vote for the next conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.
For the first time in the orchestra’s history, the choice is not clear-cut or binary. In the past, it was Furtwängler or Walter, Maazel or Abbado, Barenboim or Rattle. This time, there are several names in contention and a perplexing lack of consensus as to what the orchestra expects from its next leader. It is no longer enough just to be the best orchestra. There is a distinct possibility that Berlin could fail to achieve a result in May.
It is not inconceivable that, after the vote, the Berlin Philharmonic could go from one front-runner to the next and be rejected by both.
This orchestra cannot afford to elect second-best. It must pick a convincing figurehead or risk losing its seat at the top table where German culture is defined. There is nowhere to hide. The deadline is mid-May. Between now and then, the backroom conversation will intensify. At stake is the destiny of the best orchestra in the world, an orchestra that suddenly appears painfully unsure of itself. Intriguing? I should say.
Read the full article here.