Breaking: UK loses concertmaster to Australia

Breaking: UK loses concertmaster to Australia


norman lebrecht

July 08, 2015

On the morning of the First cricket Test, Australia has claimed its first English scalp.

Laurence Jackson, concertmaster of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for the past ten years, is leaving to join the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, in Perth.

What’s Perth got that Brum lacks? (Suggestions below, please.)

The loss is a serious one for the CBSO, which is entering an interim period without a music director after Andris Nelsons (pictured with him, below) left for Boston.

andris nelsons laurence jackson


  • a musician says:

    MONEY – easy life – nice climate – treated better – ideal place to have a family…

    Sad loss for the UK though!

    • Tim Walton says:

      All that’s possible, but one thing I can guarantee.

      He won’t have a better hall to play in.

      • Gordon Freeman says:

        There was a survey of 200 Aussie musicians, industry folk and critics that ranked the Perth Concert Hall as being no.1 in Australia, so it ain’t too bad.

        • Tim Walton says:

          That all depends on the standard of the others!

          If they are of the standard of the Royal Festival Hall in London then comparing it to Birmingham’s Symphony Hall it will be like changing from a Rolls Royce to a clapped out Lada.

          • Max Grimm says:

            Personally, I’d have no problem accepting a visually dreary and acoustically less than perfect hall if it meant my family had a better environment and nicer city to live in, I received better treatment from my employer and a better salary.
            On a side-note, I just yesterday found myself snidely thinking “in what possible regard”, when Adrián Varela of the Philharmonia Orchestra, speaking about an education program, described the RFH as “one of London’s best halls”.

          • Tim Walton says:

            Replying to Max, I completely agree.

            There are obviously other reasons why Laurence is moving to Australia to compensate for no longer playing in one of the finest concert halls in the world.

            As for the comment you quote from Adrián Varel, the man is obviously completely delusional or has a screw loose.

            The Barbican is better than the RFH and even that’s not saying much!

          • Halldor says:

            To be fair Tim, it’s not really an unreasonable comment. The RFH can be pretty mediocre, and still be “one of London’s best halls”. The bar’s not particularly high in London….and any time anyone tries to lobby for something better, they get all huffy and defensive. Slightly provincial attitude, I’d have said, but hey, that’s the UK capital for you.

  • RW2013 says:

    When a character left the Australian TV soap-opera “Neighbours”, he/she either died, or moved to Perth…

  • Alexander Hall says:

    Andrew Haveron made a similar switch from the Philharmonia to the Sydney Symphony after just 18 months of active service. Must be somethimng they put in the water……..

  • Julian Reynolds says:

    And the wonderful David Nolan who led LPO went to an orchestra in Japan with clearly much better working condititions

  • John says:

    Surely Adelaide?? The “Eastbourne of the Antipodes”

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Birmingham or Perth? No-brainer, especially when you have nothing more to prove. Completely agree with Max Grimm, above.

  • TI says:

    WASO has Asher Fisch as their Music Director. By all accounts, he has electrified the classical scene there.

  • sceenname says:

    And as Barry Humphries said: Perth is wonderfully central; 24 hrs and you can be just about anywhere.