The Tonhalle orchestra has told its young music director, Lionel Bringuier, that his four-year contract will not be renewed. He will leave in the summer of 2018.
Lionel was just 26 when he won the job and friends gave him good warning that he was walking into a difficult orchestra with a half-dead, geriatric audience.
But the arrival of a new general director, Ilona Schmiel, and the prospect of heading an international ensemble in a city where money is no object were irresistible.
The musicians, at first effusive about Lionel’s gifts, soon began grumbling. Now, he’s out and it’s back to square one for both maestro and orchestra.
Lionel will soon find another job, possibly in his native France. He shares a manager with Gustavo Dudamel and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
The Tonhalle will not find it so easy. Two possible contenders are Philippe Jordan, presently with Paris Opéra and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, and the German conductor Michael Sanderling, presently with the Dresden Philharmonic. Ms Schmiel is not looking for excitement.