Breaking: Alan Gilbert gets new job

Live on social media, the NDR Elbphilharmonie of Hamburg has just announced a successor to Thomas Hengelbrock, starting in 2019.

The new music director will be, as we predicted, Alan Gilbert.

The Hamburg announcement comes weeks after Gilbert’s festive departure from the New York Philharmonic after seven years as music director. The Elbphilharmonie is portraying the appointment as a musical upgrade for the city, which does always attract music directors of international reputation.

Gilbert, 50, has plenty of time to repair the damage that the New York Philharmonic inflicts on its chief conductors. He also has a tremendous opportunity in a new hall where, up now now, 90 percent of ticket buyers have been first-time concertgoers. His contract is for five years. He will conduct a minimum of 12 weeks a year.

The deal was struck by NDR’s director of music, Andrea Zietzschmann, who is heading off to become general manager of the Berlin Philharmonic, where she intends to maintain Gilbert as a guest conductor.

The other candidate considered for was, we hear, the Polish conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony, Krzysztof Urbański.

UPDATE: ‘I wasn’t looking for a new place’

UPDATE: When were you last excited by a new music director?


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    • My friends in Hamburg think that the new hall is an over-expensive vanity project and that the transformation of the surrounding area into a shopping and restaurant village is a travesty which has ruined an atmospheric and historical part of the freeport.

  • Having recently been subjected to one of the most lifeless, soulless, dull and uninspiring concerts of my life from the NYPO and Gilbert I am seriously doubting why anyone would want to have him as a music director. The orchestra looked more bored and disinterested than the RPO 3rd orchestra on a wet Saturday afternoon in Southend. If an orchestra such as the NYPO look and sound like that then there is only one person responsible. If you can’t enthuse your musicians, if you can’t encourage them to play on the edge of their seats, if you can’t make them smile, then you should put the little white stick down and take up the accountancy job you are obviously better suited for!

  • Just cancelled my plans to go to the Elbphilharmonie next season in protest of this utterly idiotic hire. Have endured 2 dull Gilbert concerts in my life. Never again.

  • Really. I always thought Alan Gilbert was such a dud- he always looked half asleep. Can’t they bring someone new and fresh and inspiring- Maestro Gilbert seemed worn out and his mannerisms and gestures were like that of a wounded hippopotamus…. lame

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