Alex Ross has been running his eye down the candidates who are likely to succeed Alan Gilbert as New York’s music director, based on current guest trials. He doesn’t seem too excited. (Nor are we.)
+ Esa-Pekka Salonen has been there, done that, doesn’t seem too keen.
+ Manfred Honeck has enjoyed some success at Pittsburgh. Modest success.
+ Jaap Van Zweden is big in Dallas. Not big enough.
The question has to be: why is New York not trialling the names who might really make a difference? Such as:
+ Petrenko. Anyone called Petrenko.
+ Järvi. Ditto.
+ Jurowski. The older bro.
+ Chailly, who might have been interested up to a couple of months ago.
+ Lionel Bringuier, the Zurich whizzkid.
+ Antonio Pappano.
Each and every one would make a likelier difference than those on Alex’s shortlist.
Next question: why no women? (Very good question.)
But then, ever since Bernstein, NY Phil has always got it wrong.
Boulez was picked as Lenny’s polar opposite and lasted six years, leaving an unhappy band.
Zubin Mehta was brought in to apply balm and stayed six years too long.
Kurt Masur, hired to wake the orchestra from its stupor, retired when it got too rucous.
Lorin Maazel brought technical precision. Anything else?
Alan Gilbert’s parents were members of the Philharmonic.
Get the picture?
This is an orchestra that has long forgotten what it wants in a chief conductor.