Zurich seeks maestro, money no object

Zurich seeks maestro, money no object


norman lebrecht

October 05, 2016

Having grown swiftly disillusioned with young Lionel Bringuier, the Tonhalle orchestra is scouting for talent.

NZZ’s Christian Berzins has some thoughts on the subject, and a shortlist:

Young blood: Lorenzo Viotti (born 1990), or Krzysztof Urbański (1982);


Old masters:  Mariss Jansons (1943), or Charles Dutoit (1936);

Midlifers: Franz Welser-Möst (1960), or Philippe Jordan (1974).

Do not be surprised if Christoph Eschenbach drops in.

Full article here.



  • Respect says:

    I’ve known Lorenzo for decades, he’s 56. Young blood? Happy to hear it.

  • harold braun says:


  • Tom Gossard says:

    Why would another relatively inexperienced conductor (e.g. Urbanski) want to take the helm after a relatively inexperienced conductor has failed to hold on to his job?

    The orchestra probably wants experience approaching if not on the same level as Zinman.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      I like your reference to Zinman. He had such a successful and long tenure. When Zinman took over in 1995, he was highly skilled but without much clout. Would a middle aged conductor with that profile make the cut today?

  • Karl says:

    Eschenbach? You must be joking!

  • Musician says:

    Urbanski is terrible. A definite step down from Lionel.

    • Alexander Hall says:

      He turned in a very pedestrian Dvorak 9 with the NDR orchestra on the quayside of the Elbphilharmonie this summer, so your lack of enthusiasm for him is by no means misplaced.

      • Meal says:

        Giving a performance on a side walk might give a pedestrian result … (just a bad joke, please excuse). To be more serious: I had just once the opportunity to see him live. He gave Mussorgky’s Pictures at an Exhibition with the WDR Orchestra. It was a very personal but comprehensible interpretation. I still have his Great Gate of Kiev in my ears – sounding very choral. He seems to know quite well what he does and is able to put this into sound. Any other opinions on him?
        BTW the concert mentioned by Alexander is still available online: http://concert.arte.tv/de/hafencity-open-air-krzysztof-urbanski-sol-gabetta

        • M2N2K says:

          Don’t know either one of them as a music director (which requires quite a few additional qualities besides being a fine conductor) but, having experienced both as podium guests on several occasions within last 4-5 years, I believe that at this point KU is probably a more interesting and exciting musician than LB who remains competent but is increasingly detached and bland.

        • Dave says:

          A pedestrian performance on a pavement would suggest he’d do better to crossover…

  • Max Grimm says:

    “…, Money No Object”
    Unless that is your personal opinion, I suggest re-reading the article.
    From “Warum so bescheiden?”:
    “Wird nämlich ein Intendant für das Zürcher Opern- oder Schauspielhaus gesucht, kann der jeweilige Verwaltungsrat aus den drei besten und teuersten Kandidaten Europas auswählen: Da ist dann genügend Geld und flugs eine Villa am See vorhanden, man bietet sehr frei interpretierbare Präsenzzeiten und grosszügige Möglichkeiten für gutbezahlte Gast-Engagements.”