Maestro cancels because his name was not on ticket

We hear that Gennady Rozhdestvensky pulled out on Monday at the Philharmonie de Paris a few minutes before the concert as due to begin. Apparently, he had seen a ticket from which his name was omitted.


The orchestra was fortunate that concertmaster Alexei Bruni was prepared to take over conducting the Scriabin concerto. Pletnev conducted the rest of the programme: Prokofiev’s classical symphony and Shostakovich 9th.


No review has yet appeared in French media. Our information is from a Russian source.




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  • If I remember, he canceled an appearance with the Boston Symphony Orchestra a few years ago because his name on the poster in front of Symphony Hall wasn’t large enough.

    • Does it ever occur to him that he is punishing the audience?
      However, in all fairness, it is insulting to the conductor. The billing should be equal!
      On the other hand he saw the poster before and it did not bother him?
      He has a long history of quitting! Maybe more than anyone.
      In Boston he quit because the brochure about the season did not mention him…He discovered it when he decided to visit the gift store on the day of the first performance.
      Also, I don’t understand how an orchestra like this does not have a stand-in conductor on tour.We always traveled with the assistant. Some orchestras have two. I guess the cost…

  • Names in pre-concert publicity can be a tricky business. When Mahler conducted his 2nd symphony in Paris in 1910, on the posters his name was misspelled as ‘Malheur’ which created some confusion with the audience, who came to the concert anyway, used as they were to such offerings.

  • In Stockholm he canceled because of bad reviews for his wifes performance as piano soloist. A Stockholm Phil musician conducted the whole concert with great success.

  • Felt mildly embarrassed with the way my name was included on advertisements for a local amateur Christmas concert I’m conducting.

    Oh the pressure they must feel when playing in the Philharmonie.

  • Any explanation as to how Pletnev was available at such short notice? The concerto is just under half an hour and then I’m guessing there was an interval, so he must have got to the podium in, what, just under an hour? He obviously didn’t come from home, assuming that home is still Thailand these days. Was he in Paris to conduct something else anyway?

  • With his history of cancelling because of perceived slights, the concert organisers should bave been more careful I suppose.

  • Quit because his name wasn’t on the ticket?

    Idea! Can we leave Donald Trump’s name off the Inauguration tickets?

  • Rozhdestvensky is, or at least was a great conductor… and from interviews I’ve seen seems a pretty decent human being. Give him a break, he’s 85. Perhaps he’s annoyed because whereas his name doesn’t appear on the ticket someone elses does…

  • Perhaps if he has this history, his management should work with orchestras who engage him on terms such as these in order to avoid these kinds of issues. Frankly it seems rather petty to me. The man is well known whether or not his name appears on the damned tickets. And — it might be noted — by the time the concertgoer has purchased the ticket, they probably know who’s conducting, who’s the soloist and what the repertoire is. Really silly, I’d say.

    • I assisted at the concert. Pletnev not only brilliantly played the Scriabin concerto but equally brilliantly conducted the Prokofiew and Shostakovitch symphonies. He did not even have to look at the score… Glad that Rozhdestvenski pulled out, so that the public could relish Pletnevs’ genius!!! Ovations, of course.

    • ……. so true, I had the misfortune to work with him on an EUYO tour. if he didn’t get his own way he would just not turn up, he played power games with the admin, wouldn’t stand on podiums because he is scared of heights(no joke) but insisted on having a rail behind him, he conducted one concert with the orchestral piano in solo position, would end rehearsals hours early, a lazy, spoilt overpaid stick waver.
      But…….he still gets booked? Bad memories

  • I think this story tops it all:

    I have translated the article for those of you who don’t speak Dutch (if any):

    Angry conductor leaves orchestra

    Conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky has furiously refused to perform in four Shostakovich concerts by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta. The Russian was insulted because his name was not in a CD-booklet from the orchestra with which he performed once in 2003 (just to be clear, he didn’t have anything to do with the recording at all). Rozhdestvensky’s wife, the pianist Viktoria Postnikova also withdrew. Both have been replaced.

    Rozhdestvensky started rehearsals on Monday in a harmonious manner, according to the orchestra’s director. “When he saw the CD-booklet he got very angry and said that he had been insulted in a terrible way and that this ‘had ruined his life’. With Candida Thompson, the orchestral leader, I went to see him in his hotel where we offered our apologies, but that did not work. He may be angry with me, but I don’t understand that he is willing to abandon the musicians.”

    Rohzdestvensky was announced by Amsterdam Sinfonietta as ‘the famous maestro who has spread the works of his colleague and friend Shostakovich during his lifetime’. He is, according to the orchestra, the last living link to the composer.

    The conducter has been known as a short tempered man and also as someone with a lot of financial demands. In 1999 he caused a conflict between his agent and the Residentie Orchestra when he demanded (and received) an extra 500 dollars on top of his fee of 16,000 dollars for each performance. He has now been replaced by Roman Kofman, the conductor of the Beethovenhalle in Bonn. Alexander Melnikov replaces Viktoria Postnikova.

  • In both this case and in Boston a couple years ago the issue seems to be the same: Others are getting bigger billing – or some billing while he gets none. In Boston, IIRC, he saw a poster listing all the great conductors the BSO was having that year – and it didn’t include him. I completely understand why that would irk him, and since it was thoughtless marketing by the BSO itself, pulling out seems a valid response. In this case, the orchestra and Pletnev are listed, and not him, but it would seem to be the fault of the venue, not the orchestra, certainly not the audience.

    A little surprising Pletnev couldn’t talk him down.

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