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.