Who wants to conduct for President Trump?

Who wants to conduct for President Trump?


norman lebrecht

May 10, 2017

First up is … Kent Nagano.

He will conduct the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra on July 7 at the Elbphilharmonie where Trump and Putin will be attending the G20 summit… and the evening concert.

Programme has not yet been decided.



  • Dan Allcott says:

    One suggestion (which I have programmed for 2017-18
    Saeverud: Ballad of Revolt

    Let’s hear some others!

    • Nick says:

      “Si, pel ciel” would make an appropriate ending for the first half before they withdraw to partake of their own particular brand of poison.

  • Emil says:

    Misleading as usual, but not surprised at the usual dig at Nagano.
    He is not conducting *for* Trump, but for the G20 summit which will be, you know, in Hamburg. And he is conducting the orchestra of which he is the chief conductor/music director.
    Singling out Trump is just a base attempt at smearing. I could also suggest the headlines “Nagano to conduct for Macron” or “Orchestra and their regular conductor organise a special concert in their regular concert hall.”

    Besides, I thought you – and most here – would rejoice that 20 world leaders would attend a serious classical musical concert, and that classical music was deemed serious enough to warrant inclusion in an otherwise tightly-minuted program. But heh, outrage sells better than good news. If Trump goes to the symphony hall, that is good news, no?

    • Mikey says:

      His position with the Hamburg group is “general music director”.
      He is the conductor and music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

      As for digs at Nagano? No need to look far, since he’s a talentless hack with a severe ego problem.

      • Emil says:

        When you’ll hear live the great concerts he produces on a regular basis with the OSM, then you can complain. If you’re still grumpy about the Hallé, I might respectfully suggest it is time to move on.

        As for ego, I think you’ve got the wrong conductor.

      • Steve P says:

        Kinda like his Poulenc “Dialogues of the Carmelites,” Messiaen “St Francois d’Assise,” and Canteloube songs with Dawn Upshaw. I’m sure he has some not-so-good recordings, too, but your hyperbole cup runneth over calling him a talentless hack.

        Oh, maybe program Queen “Another Brick in the Wall / We are the Champions” to rub it in. Libs are losing their globalist MINDS over Trump. Firing Comey was beautiful. Can’t wait until the govt shutdown when non-essential govt employees are told they are not getting paid….ever again.

      • pooroperaman says:

        A talentless hack who’s made the definitive recordings of Saint Francois d’Assise, Doktor Faust, The Death of Klinghoffer, El Nino, The Rescue of Penelope and the French versions of The Love of Three Oranges and Salome. I’d be very happy to be that talentless.

      • John says:

        Says who? Mikey? Mikey WHO????

  • Ungeheuer says:

    Answer: Gergiev, who owes much to Putin and who doesn’t appear to have an ethical bone in him. The three would make good company.

  • Adam Stern says:

    As to programming, a Trump-et concerto would be appropriate…perhaps that wonderful aria from “Così fan tutte”, “Comey scoglio”…and Stravinsky’s “Petrouchka”, which would give the President the opportunity to exclaim, “YOU’RE the puppet!”

    • Petros Linardos says:

      How about a Regietheater performance of Strauss’ Salome, with a Trump lookalike as Herod? “Herod” might even offer to give away half of his debt and the entire Trump Foundation in exchange for a dance. One could also make interesting choices for Salome, Jochanaan, Herodias and Narraboth.

  • May says:

    I see a lot of things wrong with Nagano performing for Trump, Putin, May, Erdogan et al:
    1. Nagano is a US Citizen. He has gone on record saying that he is against Trump. However he should put his money where his mouth is. Instead we will probably hear some mealy-mouthed “why can’t we all just get along and enjoy wonderful classical music together” whine, which he is known for. Nagano is the undisputed king of empty, meaningless spin when all he cares about is his Ferraris and surfboards.
    2. This year’s G20 in Hamburg will be a bloodbath. A high ranking official in Hamburg stated this week that protesters shall expect no less than to be shot by US secret service should they hinder Trump’s motorcade. How’s that for sovereignty? Meanwhile, thousands of protesters against facism (yes, Trump is a facist) will have the pleasure of being tear-gassed and arrested, while Nagano runs his fingers through his hair and deludes himself that he is making music for the masses and spreading global peace through classical music (insert facebook puke icon).
    3. Did anyone ask the musicians, would you all like to perform for the world’s dictators? If the Philharmoniker has any integrity, they should boycott this performance. The Elbphilharmonie was supposedly built for the citizens of Hamburg (they paid for it afterall). Guess who has the pleasure of retiring there every evening to their comfy bed high above the protesters? Yes, the Saudis. Can anyone say “human rights abuses?”
    4. Nagano should withdraw from the concert. Period. No musician with a conscious should perform for the G20 leaders. Furtwängler made the mistake of performing for Hitler. Should a single protester die on July 7th or 8th, then Nagano has blood on his hands. Let’s see if he still runs his hands through his hair after that.
    5. Just in case there was any confusion about how the citizens of Hamburg feel about the G20 being hosted in their city, a survey this week revealed that 75% (SEVENTY-FIVE PROCENT) of the citizens are against hosted the G20 summit in Hamburg. IS NAGANO DEAF OR STUPID?!?

    • V.Lind says:

      Dictators? Justin Trudeau? Macron? May? Merkel? Turnbull? Abe? I don’t think so.

      And as far as I can see, Nagano is just doing his job. Comparisons to Hitler are not just odious, they are juvenile and stupid.

      Remains to be seen if Trump will show, or whether he will trump up an excuse to be elsewhere.

      • Nick says:

        BRAVO ! Bravo Maestro Nagano!!! Enough politicizing Music! We’ve had enough of left fascists (like MAY on this blog) politicizing everything these days.
        Music is above politics and should be made wherever, whenever and for whoever!
        Particularly for the world leaders.

        @MAY YOU must have the integrity yourself first before you accuse others of not having it and being “fascists”. So far, all scandals, protests, vandalism, insults and criminal behavior, calls for bloodbaths were displayed by YOU – Left Fascists!!! And when Hamburg announced security measures to protect foreign leaders on German territory you start to whine and call for bloodbath!! That is WHO YOU ARE – Fascists!! Nagano is neither deaf, nor stupid, but YOU are both + very dangerous for the world!

        Maestro Nagano was one of the most outstanding pianists in his younger years and is an interesting and multifaceted musician and an outstanding conductor! Needs no introduction, nor any recommendations from the Left Fascists!

        • John says:

          Music is above politics? That’s an argument that Furtwangler, R. Strauss and others tried to make 80 years ago and it didn’t wash then, either.

    • Emil says:

      Sure. Nagano is responsible for EVERYTHING that happens in Hamburg. The Philharmonie is tasked with playing music for 20 world leaders, and again that should be celebrated as an achievement. Personally, I love the thought of the Donald having to leave behind his Fox News and CNN for two hours to go listen to Brahms, Bruckner, or whatever Nagano chooses to play.

      As for your “Nagano will have blood in his hands,” your comparison is just plainly ridiculous. Would Nagano’s withdrawal change anything to Trump’s policies (notwithstanding the fact that this is as much about Trump as it is about Trudeau, Macron, Merkel, etc.)? No. Then let art be art and get on with the show.

  • Froelich says:

    Shame on Nagano.
    Unless he performs Eisler’s Deutsch-Sinfonie.

  • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

    I know nothing about Kent Nagano’s tenure at Hallé Orchestra. But judging from the CDs he made with the DSO Berlin, I have to say that most of them were quite decent actually. Especially the Bruckner recordings were a big surprise for me. Before hearing those CDs, I had never related Kent Nagano to Bruckner.

    The 3rd (Urfassung 1887) and 6th released by Harmonia Mundi were very well played and recorded. There was also a magnificent performance of the mighty 8th symphony, which was once part of an education program by Deutsche Welle and free to download for a while on its website.It was later released as DVD.

    His more recent Bruckner recordings with the Bayerisches Staatsorchester seemed to be less impressive though.

  • MissShelved says:

    Seriously, will Trump even show up? It’s not exactly his cup of tea. And if he goes, can he stay awake? I would not be upset at anyone choosing to perform for this event. It is not about Trump — he is a sideshow in every sense of the term.