Frost over Swedish ensemble

Frost over Swedish ensemble


norman lebrecht

May 15, 2017

The clarinet virtuoso Martin Fröst has been named chief conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra from 2019.

He succeeds Thomas Dausgaard, who has held to post since 1997.


  • will says:

    Let’s hope that he has got some more appropriate ‘conducting credentials’ than those of being able to play the clarinet superbly. I can think of several other wonderful Scandinavian instrumentalists who somehow got ‘Principal Conductor’ jobs despite being clueless about either conducting or ‘managing people’ (which is a personal quality that is very often sadly lacking in many internationally famous maestri, including a few UK Knights of the realm.)

    • Robert von Bahr says:

      I have to echo Will’s sentiments here, The list of wonderful instrumentalists from this part of the world that couldn’t hack it as conductors is really getting out of hand:

      Just think of people like
      Osmo Vänskä, clarinet
      Esa-Pekka Salonen, horn,
      Leif Segerstam, Okko Kamu, Paavo Berglund, Sakari Oramo, Mikko Frank, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Dima Slobodeniouk, violin
      Christian Lindberg, trombone
      Sixten Ehrling, piano
      Santtu-Matias Rouvali, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, percussion (I know the Järvis are Estonian, but they cut their teeth in Sweden)

      Great instrumentalists, disasters on the podium. Thanks, Will, for putting the record straight.

      • Talking the talk says:

        Your obviously really smart Robert so you will understand the difference between conductors who started out in music learning an instrument well (very necessary) and then going on to study and devote themselves to conducting, in a serious way, as their primary means of performance as most of the musicians on your list did.

        I have still to hear an example of ‘a renowned or famous instrumentalist’ go on to become a convincing professional conductor. Can’t think of even one example and before anyone bothers to write in a fluster listing all the big names that may seem superficially to fit the bill, don’t bother. I mean them too.

        Have to agree whole heartedly with Will about this, but then EVERYONE’S an expert on this site.

    • Peter Phillips says:

      I’m no great fan of the conductor figure as such but Will’s final sentence is just coy and mealy mouthed. Which knights does he mean? Offhand, I can think of only two who emerged from the orchestra ranks, Colin Davis and Neville Marriner. Both of them seemed to do quite well with orchestras.

  • John Borstlap says:

    It is a wonderful orchestra. I have a CD with Beethoven III with a vigor and freshness that is quite rare, as if the music has been written just yesterday:

    • will says:

      Indeed I do have that recording! But what I hear is this: a fundamentalist, robotic conductor, obstinately sticking to Beethoven’s mindless metronome marks (thankfully now discredited); a harsh and shallow-sounding orchestra that has simply not got enough string players; and a dry, ‘boxed in’ recording. That’s ‘my take on it’, but of course we all hear things differently, and I do hope that there are some listeners who find things to enjoy in this relentless, aggressive and manically driven performance.