Germany’s newest music director is British

Germany’s newest music director is British


norman lebrecht

March 01, 2018

Christopher Ward, 37, has been appointed MD in Aachen.

The decision is due to be ratified next week by the city council and he will start work in the summer.

A former Rattle assistant, Ward succeeds the US conductor Kazim Abdullah. Perhaps Aachen is no longer the launchpad it once was for Herbert von Karajan.




  • Gerhard says:

    It is questionable whether the launchpad is at fault if the rocket doesn’t take off. I once played under Mr. Abdullah’s baton, and I can’t say that this made me jealous of the Aachen colleagues …

  • Max Grimm says:

    “Kazem Abdullah, 36, has let it be known that he won’t renew after July 2017.” &
    “[…] US conductor Kazim Abdullah, who decided Aachen was no longer the launchpad it had once been for Herbert von Karajan.”

    Norman, I guess you missed Mr. Abdullah explicitly (and publicly) stating that he was “bitterly disappointed” at not having his contract renewed for, as he desired, another 5 years and that he was leaving the post against his express will.
    Roughly two-thirds of the orchestra had voted against keeping Mr. Abdullah as MD, mostly citing a lack of “communicatory skills” on his part and the city council heeded the orchestras vote, informing Mr. Abdullah that his contract would not be renewed.

  • Hugh Jorgan says:

    “appointed MD” …….are they short of physicians?

  • Jonathan Sutherland says:

    The wording of this post is rather misleading and was well clarified by Max Grimm. The recommendation of the orchestra not to renew Abdullah’s contract had nothing to do with Aachen being a “launchpad” or not. When von Karajan was appointed in 1934, Aachen was hardly the epicenter of the musical galaxy but during the course of the seven years HvK spent there, both the orchestra’s performance level and the Austrian wunderkind’s interpretative genius rocketed into the stratosphere. I heard Christopher Ward conduct Billy Budd in Prague earlier this year and his ability to coax some fine playing out of the Czech musicians in what was for them difficult and unfamiliar repertoire, was extremely impressive. There is no reason to believe that Ward may not return Aachen to its former apogee. Congratulations not cavils are in order.