Paris drops its pilot

At a time of great cultural and political uncertainty in France, we hear that the Orchestre de Paris has parted company with Didier de Cottignies, its artistic advisor.

Apparently, the incoming music director Daniel Harding wants someone younger and ‘less bourgeois’.

Didier has the biggest personal contacts book in classical music. He’s an indispensable asset, not easily replaced.

didier de cottignies

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    • Didier loves opera, so this would have been a good option for him. If he doesn’t land a new job soon I hope he at least continues working as some kind of consultant, capitalizing on his huge contact network.

  • So “Harding wants someone younger and ‘less bourgeois’”. Could you share the source of that assertion?
    Because when Didier de Cottignies’ coming departure was in the news nearly 3 weeks ago, most were sure that his progressively deteriorating relationship with the orchestra’s CEO Bruno Hamard (who also had a notoriously bad rapport with Paavo Järvi) and conceptual differences between Cottignies and Hamard were to blame.

  • I personally know that there was enormous friction and animosity between Didier de Cottignies and the CEO of the Orchestre de Paris, Bruno Hamard, to the point that the two gentlemen stopped speaking to one another all together. This situation was obviously intolerable and had a very negative impact upon the orchestra and its administration. Many members of the Orchestra resented this open war and saw it as a tremendous waste of time and resources, as work was not getting done and Didier was absent from the office more than he was present in recent times. While that might be tolerated in France, it would be difficult to imagine him working outside of a French context. It was clear to all that Didier had to go, and as soon as possible. So, none of this comes as any surprise. The claim that Daniel Harding wanted him out as well, is understandable, as a new music director doesn’t want to have an administration engaged in open warfare upon his arrival.
    The Orchestre de Paris needs stability, vision and less French politics, internecine infighting and time wasting. This development should be seen as an opportunity for the orchestra to get serious about its management and artistic policy.

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