Paris scrambles to add an extra conductor

Days after Daniel Harding’s shock resignation as music director of the Orchestre de Paris, the Philharmonie de Paris (where the OdP is resident) has named the French conductor Francois-Xaver Roth as ‘artiste associé’.

Roth, 46, is committed to giving a minimum of five concerts a season. This week, he was appointed to the Légion d’honneur.

France Musique says, echoing Slipped Disc: ‘François-Xavier Roth est l’un des chefs français les plus demandés à l’étranger et est curieusement moins connu du public français.’

Curioser still, Roth recently replaced Daniel Harding as principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.


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  • Let the relationship develop, mature, grow, and see where it goes for both parties. In other words, exactly the opposite of what the OdP did with Harding before making him MD.

  • There has been no scrambling. The announcement of Roth’s position at the Philharmonie was made was given last weekend at the same concert/ceremony in which the Légion d’honneur was presented. In other words, before Daniel Harding’s news.

      • There would have been much more than a week’s worth of conversations involved with FXR and his management before announcing his role as artiste associé.

  • There is a difference between “less well-known by the French pubic” and “conducts only abroad”.

    Is Roth “committed to conducting five concerts a season”? He is conducting five this season, yes, which is why they decided to name him artiste associé. Nothing is mentioned of any further obligations.

    Roth is not currently a fixture with the Orchestre de Paris. I fail to see why there should be a link between these stories.

  • Mr. Lebrecht, this is just wrong.

    FX Roth will be artiste associé at the Philharmonie, but it has nothing to do with the OdP! FW Roth will give 5 concerts in 2018 at the Philharmonie, none of which with the OdP…

    It’s just like saying appointing an associate artist to the Barbican Center means giving the LSO an extra conductor.

    Correlation is not causation. There is not even a correlation in this case.

  • I know it’s nice to be the first out there with “breaking news” … but SD seems to be getting all of these Roth/OdP/PP stories embarrassingly wrong.

    Instead of continually whiffing the ball on them, perhaps it’s time to find a Paris correspondent “on the ground” who can vet the information for accuracy before publishing the news. Just a thought …

  • If there’s any link to be made with Harding’s resignation, it would probably be that to exist within the Philharmonie’s thousand and one activities, you have to be pushy, which Harding isn’t. The Orchestre de Paris doesn’t feel quite as front as center in the place as it should. The season hasn’t been announced, but if the “artiste associé” of the Philharmonie doesn’t conduct its main resident orchestra, it would only serve to comfort that view. [This is personal speculation and not information, for the record.]

  • completely overrated this Mr Roth

    in the great times he would have not even reached to conduct a provincial orchestra in France

      • There were some fine-albeit little-known-French conductors of the Munch or post-Munch generation: Pierre Dervaux, Jean Fournet. The only trouble is that Dervaux hated rehearsing and Fournet had collaborated during the war. His career was basically in the Netherlands. A good conductor, but rather on the cold side. Then there was the great André Cluytens, who was actually originally Belgian.

    • Things have been getting worse for all of recorded history. Even Homer says “no man is equal to what his father was.”

      Back in “the great time” I can promise you there were plenty of average-quality conductors.

      Because someone’s name will not (in your opinion) be venerated by future generations, is that a reason for them not to do their work today?

  • Münch, Karajan, Solti, Barenboim… Where are the equivalent today? Not in Paris but in Amsterdam, Dresden, Berlin, London, Chicago, Milan, Boston, Munich, Philadelphia…

  • FX Roth is a most interesting conductor with a vast repertoire ranging from early to contemporary music, using period and modern instruments. His appointment as artiste associé by the Philharmonie de Paris is a wise decision but does not seem to be related with Daniel Harding‘s resignation at the OdP.
    The rumor goes that Mr. Harding wants to become a pilot since he recently obtained the license to fly an Airbus.

  • M. Roth is an outstanding conductor; I have been to Paris especially for his concerts; a stunning Franck Mahler (orig version of 1) rently

  • My ten living favourite conductors are Haitink, Barenboim, Thielemann, Gatti, Nézet-Séguin, Salonen, Muti, Nelsons, Blomstedt and Mehta. Correct me if I am wrong but none of them conducts a french orchestra this season, except Blomstedt.

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