China names its Conductor of the Year

China names its Conductor of the Year


norman lebrecht

November 06, 2015

Not an obvious choice.

Gustav Kuhn’s 24-hour version of Wagner’s Ring in Shanghai, borrowed from the Tyrol Festival, won a 40-minute ovation from a huge audience that managed to stay awake. Kuhn, 70, has also conducted Parsifal and Meistersinger in China in the past couple of years.

Yu Long, director of the Beijing Music Festival, said on presenting the award: ‘Kuhn’s name, here in China, will always be spoken in the same breath as Richard Wagner’s.’

gustav kuhn


  • Milka says:

    One suspects the ovation was an expression of joy that it all finally came to an end.

    • Rosana says:

      With so many nice things to say… what a nasty comment!

    • YANG says:

      I was among the audience that time. When music ends, the silence continues for one minute. The team and maestro Khun returns to stage six times with standing ovation. It should be one of the greatest performance I have ever seen.

  • Milka says:

    To inflict non stop 24 hrs . of Wagner on any audience is cruel and inhumane treatment
    no matter how one finds the willing victims.

    • Rosana Martins says:

      I am quite certain that the event was advertised and that the public present knew what to expect and looked forward to it. I don’t know Maestro Kuhn, but believe he deserved the ovation.
      Marathons seem to please some people. I’m not one of them, but know people who do.

    • YANG says:

      Well I did not stay overnight for the Seigfried. Some of my friends went for that performance and told me the experience was overwhelming. They felt tired but in amazingly high spirit.

  • HXZ says:

    Kuhn conducted Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger at this year’s Beijing Music Festival. That’s why he got the 2015 Beijing Music Festival’s Artist of the Year award.
    The award had nothing to do with the Ring in Shanghai, and was not named by “China” either.
    Therefore, the Meistersinger was not presented “in the past couple of years”. It was this year.
    That means Kuhn has conducted three operas of Wagner in China this year, including the 24h Ring.

    So I don’t know if it’s an obvious choice to name Kuhn the award. But I knew it was not an obvious choice for the Cremona Music Award to name Norman Lebrecht.

  • Graham Eagland says:

    Delighted to hear good news about Gustav Kuhn as he seemed to have slipped under my radar since I performed under him in 1994? when he conducted the Bournemouth SO, Luciano Pavarotti et al. and the World Festival Choir in the Verdi Requiem at Wrembley Arena. A great and patient performer.