Maestro says he’s past his sell-by date

David Robertson has renewed with the St Louis Symphony for one more year, his 14th, saying ‘I think my sell-by date has come.’

Robertson, New York based, is also music director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia. He’ll be done in St Louis in 2019.

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  • The betting in this precinct is that whoever St. Louis gets to replace David Robertson will not be in his league. He has acquitted himself very well at the Met Opera, though his recent Jenufa was lacking in visceral power, and his programs in St. Louis have been courageous in their espousal of new and relatively new music. I still remember how a few years back he bailed out the Boston Symphony: touring with an Elliott Carter-dominated program, James Levine injured or re-injured one limb or organ or another. Robertson is one of a maimed handful of conductors who could have done Carter justice on such short notice. Typically, BSO management has not had him back since.

  • It still boggles my mind that Philadelphia could have him before Eschenbach, but there were enough of the old guard among the musicians who wanted a name that they balked, and then they wound up with a name they didn’t want imposed on them. The result: a largely wasted decade in terms of positioning the PO for the future. And he only came one or two times after that.

    • I don’t think he would have been the right fit for the Philadelphia community at the time. With his proclivity towards a more “current” repertory he probably would have turned off the generally conservative audience. After all, look at the initial response in 2000 for all 20th C. programming that season. Attendance was reportedly down. I don’t know if it really has improved over the last 16 years.

  • One reason DR got the St. Louis gig was that he came to their aid for a Carnegie Hall concert when Hans Vonk took ill. (I attended that concert.) It was his first time conducting them, he flew in from France to do so on a couple days notice, and acquitted himself well.

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