Breaking: Jansons renews with Munich, rules out Berlin

Mariss Jansons, who will conduct the Berlin Philharmonic the night before its once-in-a-generation conductor election, today signed a new contract with Bavarian Radio, taking him up to 2021, when he will be 78.

He is the fourth candidate to say no to Berlin, after Dudamel, Nézet-Séguin and Barenboim.

That leaves a straight Thielemann vs Nelsons election on Monday, with Chailly coming up on the outside (though there is no guarantee he will take the job if offered).

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press release:

Mariss Jansons will serve as chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir until 2021, extending his current contract which runs until 2018. Jansons and the director of the Bayerische Rundfunk, Ulrich Wilhelm, agreed on this in a meeting that took place after an internal voting process within the orchestra had come to an end in the last few days.

Mariss Jansons:

“It is a great pleasure for me to continue my work with these two wonderful ensembles beyond 2018. They are gems and I am delighted to be part of forming and building up their future. The musical professionalism and human quality are exceptional. It is my heartfelt wish to not only make use of these qualities, but to further support their development and present them to the audiences in Munich, Bavaria and the whole world.”

Ulrich Wilhelm:

“Mariss Jansons managed to consolidate and expand the worldwide recognition of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Under his artistic direction the number of subscribers nearly tripled. The orchestra and Maestro Jansons significantly contribute to Bavaria’s worldwide reputation as a cultural state. I am delighted about the commitment of such an exceptional artist towards Munich and pleased to see this story of success continue for three further years.”

Nikolaus Pont, Orchestra Manager:

“In their voting the musicians of the Symphony Orchestra clearly stated their wish to continue working with Mariss Jansons as their chief conductor beyond 2018. His decision to follow our invitation makes me very confident for the future of the orchestra. Welook forward to the continuation of a great artistic partnership and the realization of numerous ideas in the future.”

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    • You never know. While Thielemann has ardent (and influential) supporters in the orchestra, those who oppose Thielemann do so with an equal amount of fervor.
      After all, Lorin Maazel also had it in the bag in 1989, until he lost to Claudio Abbado, who wasn’t even on “the list”.

    • Thielemann is soon in court because of Serge Dorny’s lawsuit. Dresden hired Dorney so they could be in the major leagues of opera. Thielemann would not share power, of course, and Dresden retreated into the shadows. Meanwhile, Berlin has used Thielemann sparingly but gives the high profile events to Dudamel. They have invited early music advocates like William Christien and Emmanuelle Haim to conduct to expand their repertory and just named radical innovative stage director Peter Sellars to be “artists in residence.” Does this sound like an orchestra that would vote for Thielemann?

  • Anyone following the course of the Berlin Philharmonic over the last few years would have noticed a pronounced sense of adventure. Remember, the orchestra is managed by the musicians and they have given major high-profile events to Dudamel, who is not actually “out.” They have welcomed early music advocates to the podium (William Christie, Emmanuelle Haim) to expand their repertory and, just a few weeks ago, the unabashedly revolutionary stage director Peter Sellars was announced as “artist-in-residence.” The idea of Christian Thielemann taking charge is impossible to imagine. Thielemann is in court soon with the lawsuit of Serge Dorny. By hiring Dorny as GM, Dresden wanted to move into the major leagues of opera but Thielemann wanted complete control and ended Dresden’s dreams. A conductor with a long record of conflict with orchestra musicians in Berlin? Hard to imagine.

  • We can speculate all we want for another three days about the Berlin Philharmonic. In the meantime, the Bavarian Radio Symphony is enjoying a golden age. Let’s wish Mariss Jansons good health and look forward to more of his glowing indian summer.

  • Jansons is right to stay in Bavaria, where he is loved and respected. The Berlin musicians only respect themselves and tolerate their music director. If Thielemann gets it, it will end in grief sooner rather than later and then one of the other younger potential candidates will have matured sufficiently to step in.

  • I think that the Berliners will vote for the conductor who’ll maximise their earning potential. They’ll have noticed that since they ditched the Easter Festival that Thielemann has done well there whilst they struggle to sell tickets in Baden Baden. He has broadened his rep and he has a recording contract with DG.

  • BRSO is currently the more exciting orchestra– just heard a fantastic Salonen concert with Hillborg, the Greig concerto (with Ott) and Sibelius 5.

  • The BPO declining prestige is a fact. Otherwise so many conductors wouldn’t sign, renew elsewhere or make public their lack of interest. Look at Janssons, Dudamel, Yannick, Barenboim, Fischer, and so on.

    Many of them feel happy at their homes. Why would Muti, Nelsons, Thielemann or Chailly ( among others ) leave their current prestigious positions?

    The fact is that after Karajan the BPO has been joined ou surpassed as the best orchestra in the world by other ensembles in Europe and America. Great orchestras are improving and great concuctors are too few for them.

    • Pedro asks why some conductors would leave their orchestras for the BPO. As has been asked before here, do the BPO musicians insist their MD has no other MD position elsewhere? I can understand it would be rather senseless to appoint a conductor who has another MD post in Germany, but do they rule out those elsewhere?

      And as Jimmy points out, earning potential surely has to play quite a significant role in the vote. Given the rapidly growing interest in classical music in Asia, Dudamel’s popularity would fit that bill – as could Myung Whun Chung.

  • @Jewelyard : the Berlin musicians can vote for him, there is no “official list of candidates”.
    And in my opinion they should do so. Or maybe not, because the Budapest Festival Orchestra is an amazing orchestra under his direction, and that should continue !

    As everybody likes the “guess who” here, I would just say that… I’d be happy to know how many votes will get Kirill Petrenko. A terrific conductor.

  • Don’t think that they will choose one of these shitty conductors. Best way is to stay it as in Vienna, without music director. Really, CT isn’t media-interesting, Nelsons is a bad conductor (Shostakovich 6th, finale – hell on earth, mr.nelsons), Dudamel – best of all of them, Jurowsky and Bychkov – nice but orchestra don’t see them, both Petrenko-s…no, media and russians. Chailly – good, but who is he for Berlin players, Janssons and Barenboim – old and ill… Rattle – yep, we’re tired of him… So… Take me please

  • I said it before and I will say it again. The majority of the musicians will vote for that conductor from a shortlist of musically acceptable ones, who promises to create most additional revenue through media, festivals and touring for them.
    Now who would that be? I see Thielemann and Dudamel on the top.
    Don’t be deceived by this blog’s obvious dislike of Thielemann. It’s a blog with the majority of the readership in the anglo-american world, a world Thielemann doesn’t care much about, also a world that is less and less relevant in the global classical music scene.
    For media appeal, the new chief should have outreach first in the home market Germany/Austria and wider Europe, second in classical hubs of Asia (Japan, South Korea, emerging China) and only third in the Anglo-American world.

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