Bad luck streak: Second partner pulls out at St Paul

Last week, the Swedish clarinet star Martin Fröst cancelled his debut as artistic partner with the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota, due to an attack of Meniere’s Disease.

Today, another artistic partner cancelled.  Patricia Kopatchinskaja is out of Saturday’s concert with an arm injury. She had given three performance of Michael Hersch’s violin concerto and something went.

This multi-partnership idea is not starting well.

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  • Originally there were three concerts scheduled. Because all were sold out weeks before a fourth concert had to be added. This start was not so bad. Kopatchinskaja still managed to play three of the four concerts in spite of disabling pain.

  • Replacing an Artistic Director with multiple partners was always a bad idea. It’s like studying by only taking master classes. Bring back DDR.

  • The SPCO’s artistic partner structure has been in place since 2004, and they consider it a great success. The partners are very substantial artists:

    Joshua Bell (2004 – 07)
    Stephen Prutsman (2004 – 07)
    Nicholas McGegan (2004 – 09)
    Pierre-Laurent Aimard (2006 – 09)
    Douglas Boyd (2003 – 09)
    Dawn Upshaw (2007 – 13)
    Edo de Waart (2010 – 14)
    Roberto Abbado (2005 – 15)
    Christian Zacharias (2009 – present)
    Thomas Zehetmair (2010 – present)
    Jeremy Denk (2014 – present)
    Patricia Kopatchinskaja (2014 – present)
    Martin Fröst (2014 – present)
    Pekka Kuusisto (to begin September 2016)

  • Norman, I was the conductor for the Michael Hersch concerto. She also played the Beethoven concerto (sans chef) on the same concerts. Together, we performed three of four sold-out concerts, but she had to pull out of the final concert, this past Saturday, due to an overuse injury. To replace both concerti, a sextet of SPCO musicians performed the “Mozart” Grande Sestetto Concertante, and I led the full orchestra in Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. Patricia partcipated in the rest of the week otherwise, also coaching Haydn’s 49th Symphony on the same concert… and as far as I can tell, the musicians are very much enjoying their collaborations with their artistic partners. It’s certainly a fresh way of making music for a chamber orchestra like this, and it allows the musicians ownership of the performances in a very collaborative setting. I enjoyed my time with the SPCO and Patricia immensely.

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