Following my Standpoint essay on the Berlin Philharmonic elections, I put three questions to the orchestra’s co-chairmen, Peter Riegelbauer and Ulrich Knörzer as they faced the press in Berlin. Slipped Disc’s questions:
1 Can you confirm no women are being considered? If not, why not?
2 A simple majority will be enough, right? If the orch splits 62-61, is there a plan for accommodating the ‘loser’?
3 All candidates will have given prior agreement to being considered. If the first-choice candidate declines the post (see my current Standpoint essay), will the players turn to the one with the next highest votes?
Berlin Phil replies below.
1. “The first round of the election is open to any living conductor (female or male). If the first round of election (on 11th May) will have no result, there will be a shortlist created for the second round on the basis of the results from the first round. We don’t know yet, how many people will be in this list (depends on the number of votes).”
2. “There will be 124 musicians with tenure eligible to vote. The new Artistic Director must have a clear majority in order to be considered elected. We will not announce exact figures either prior to or following the election.”
3. “The newly elected Artistic Director will be informed of her or his election immediately after the votes are counted and may then accept or decline the election. Should the person chosen decline the election, subsequent action (further voting or fixing a date for a new election) must be agreed upon in the orchestra assembly. No list of potential candidates for the position of Artistic Director (a so-called shortlist) will be drawn up before 11 May 2015, and no one will be called/asked whether she or he is available as a candidate prior to the election.”