Thielemann acts coy about Berlin Philharmonic

Thielemann acts coy about Berlin Philharmonic


norman lebrecht

March 28, 2015

Quotes from an interview today in the Frankfurter Rundschau:

thielemann sport1


Frage: Herr Thielemann, eine Dresdner Tageszeitung titelte kürzlich: «Dresden ist der Höhepunkt meiner Laufbahn». Im Interview sprachen Sie dann vielsagend von Ihrer «bisherigen Laufbahn». In diesen Wochen fragen sich viele, was da wohl noch kommt?

Antwort: Vielsagend? Also, viele interessante Posten werden in den nächsten Monaten neu besetzt. Die New Yorker Philharmoniker suchen einen Nachfolger für Alan Gilbert. Riccardo Muti wird nicht mehr lange in Chicago bleiben. Die Metropolitan Opera wird irgendwann frei. Und, ja, natürlich, auch in Berlin ist ein Posten vakant. Ich lese ja auch die Zeitung.

Question: Mr. Thielemann, a Dresden newspaper headlined recently: “Dresden is the highlight of my career.” In the interview, there was much talk of ‘so far.’ During the next few weeks, many are wondering what is yet to come?

Answer: Many are asking? So many interesting posts to be filled in the next few months. The New York Philharmonic is looking for a successor to Alan Gilbert. Riccardo Muti won’t stay much longer in Chicago. The Metropolitan Opera will come free some time. And, yes, of course, in Berlin there is also a vacant post. Yes I read it in the newspaper.



  • rambonito says:

    Of course…he is the only one with enough courage and musical autorithy to take the orchestra

  • Kontrafagott says:

    Thanks for posting. Just one small comment: ” vielsagend” translates best as “tellingly”.

  • Milka says:

    It would be only natural for him to take on the Berlin post .

  • Anon says:

    Give him a break (until May). What is he supposed to say? He will negotiate in Dresden for extension of contract in the coming weeks. Berlin has not had an election yet.
    Obviously he must not shut the door on Dresden *and* keep the door on Berlin open to a minimum. Not an easy task for sure, but if he plays the game right, he is in for a win-win situation. Berlin or Dresden, both a win. If he screws up he is in for a lose-lose. No Dresden after 2018 and no Berlin. Tricky timing.
    Maybe he could even head both orchestras for a transitional period, if he gets a call from Berlin.

  • DESR says:

    You must change that picture you always use of him in the shirt his dear old Mum bought him… Too cruel!

  • AJ says:

    I cannot FATHOM how this guy has a realistic chance of winning the job. His repertoire is so incredibly limited. He does not conduct Mahler (what?), and has his greatest successes with the following composers: Strauss, Bruckner, and Wagner. He has – even in recent months – expressed his sympathies with the PEGIDA movement in Germany, a movement which has almost noweight behind it in Berlin. Quite the opposite in fact. Berlin is a thriving, multicultural, permissive, liberal ‘world hub’ and people have little time for Thielemann’s rather right-leaning views. I will be very, very, VERY surprised if he receives the requisite votes from the members of the Berlin Philharmonic – for both musical AND personal/political reasons.

  • Greg says:

    Theilemann doing both orchestras….that would work well at Easter.

  • avi kujman says:

    Muti signed till 2020. I guess that Muti would have a lot to say in the decision about his successor. They appear to be in a state of a mutual love. It does not worth anything, but let him sign in Berlin, and I would stop my yearly renewal of the Berlin Digital Hall Concert. The unfortunate fact is that I do not know who is better for this position or for any other position, for that matter. I am not so sure that the new generation of conductors has much to offer, but I would be extremely glad to be proven otherwise!

  • Johann S says:

    Sorry, but although maestro Thielemann may be knowledgeable, I find him to be one of the most boring conductors ever! Berlin deserves much better…

    Chailly, a true exciting musician and master conductor, is what Berlin needs!
    His standard repertoire is superb – let guest “specialists” take care of the rest.

    • Anon says:

      Very unfair statement. Thielemann is a very respected conductor by many of the musicians he works with regularly. The problem with Thielemann is not his problem, but a problem of the wider classical public audience in Germany and Austria… They project all their desires of a “German Titan” into him, which polarizes people into either idolizing or rejecting him. Joachim Kaiser from Munich one of the major stirrup holders…
      But he is only a very capable conductor and “Kapellmeister” (in the very best meaning of this traditional word) and that’s it. Great in opera and a lot of German repertoire. (just like Karajan) and not so good in much of the other repertoire that doesn’t speak to his heart. (much of the French and Russian repertoire for instance)

      Chailly is also a great conductor. Different. Isn’t that wonderful? This is not sports. This is the arts.