Radio France hires concert agent to run orchestra

Radio France hires concert agent to run orchestra


norman lebrecht

July 21, 2015

Steve Roger, co-director of a Geneva concert agency, has been whisked in as interim artistic director of the Orchestre National de France. He starts immediately, on a one-year contract.

Radio France is in chaos. The fire has abated pro tem. Steve has sound experience as manager of the long-ailing Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva.

radio france fire2


  • Pierre says:

    None of this will help the situation at Radio France. It ALL starts at the top and Mathieu Gallet is an incompetent, inexperienced guy. He was not put into this job because of his proven track record and brilliance at doing anything. He was put into this position in the typical French way of doing things, which NEVER has anything to do with competence or a proven track record. He got where he got on everything but competence or past successes. France is still in the Middle Ages in how one gets appointed to positions, in the public sector, like at Radio France and in politics. It has everything to do with what network you belong to, what secret society you are a member of, who in the government backs you, what person, in high places, you have had sex with, or who wants to have sex with you, etc. It is all appalling and explains the mess that Radio France is in and the country as well. Bringing in another one from their closed network, Steve Roger, will be meaningless, as there is no vision nor direction at the top. 38 year old Mathieu Gallet as the big boss of Radio France would be a very funny joke in any other place, but in France jokes like this are the daily reality of the country. It can’t last for much longer.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Maybe when the country becomes an orthodox muslem nation, France can recover some of its traditionalist ways (with thanks to Houllebecq).

    • PDQ.BACH says:

      You’d wish France were still in the Middle Ages in how one gets appointed to positions.

      Actually, Medieval France was not yet quite the disaster area of patronage and arbitrary that it became towards the end of the Ancien Régime, and to which it has partially reverted over the past decades. There are whole libraries of studies, like those of the école des Annales and historians from its orbit (e.g., Marc Bloch, Fernand Braudel, Georges Duby, Jacques Le Goff, to name but the most accessible authors) to show the vibrancy and competence of the Middle Ages.

      We must get rid of the notion of continuous progress.
      There is always much regression, we live in such a period, and the case of Radio France shows it.

  • alepia says:

    he’s clearly in conflict of interest…

  • Franck says:

    The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande has to be one of the most boring and dull ensembles of any orchestra that I follow. During Mr. Roger’s fifteen year tenure at the OSR, the orchestra never stood out as an exceptional ensemble, never was a model for programming or performance, neither for marketing and communication, nothing about it was modern or cutting edge. The OSR is certainly not a reference in any way and if the Orchestre National de France thinks that by modelling its artistic programming on that of the OSR will resolve its difficulties, it is extremely mistaken. An orchestra in a capital city like Paris shouldn’t have to resort to artistic consultants from a provincial backwater like Geneva to resolve its woes. Perhaps Paris is actually a provincial place after all.

  • PDQ.BACH says:

    The last time Paris had to resort to a Genevois to get the chestnuts out of the fire, it was at the end of the Ancien Régime.

    Jacques Necker, banquier from Geneva, was called upon to restore the tattered treasury of Louis XVI. He handled finances competently, the economy somewhat less so, and was a political disaster, because he couldn’t coerce his inept masters and an incensed public opinion.
    Monsieur Necker (the title Monsieur being the traditional apanage of the Finance minister) was finally allowed to retire to his Château de Coppet. Louis XVI’s reign was foreshortened. So was Louis.

    Sounds familiar?

    While I trust Steve Roger to handle the political side deftly — Caecilia is a small political triumph — I’m less optimistic about the musical aspect, and have zero confidence in the ability of a concert agent to generate a viable roadmap for a cultural radio. This move rather reminds me of Steve Ellop’s intermezzo chez Nokia. All that Finland was left with was to sweep the dust. I hope I’m dead wrong. Time will tell.

  • Manfred Gerber says:

    Steve Roger has been the GM of the OSR and in that Position he was
    an outstanding and extremely succesful man. Artisticly, that orchestra
    Is difficult to run as it has to serve mainly the opéra. After Ernest Ansermet
    no Chief conductor has been happy with that system.
    Steve Roger was never responsible for the artistic side and the same
    will go for Radio France. But, believe me, if anyone can clean up the mess
    in Paris, it will be him. His record in Geneva is more than remarkable.
    He will make it in Paris, if they let him do the job. For sure.