Another loss for strife-torn orchestra

Sr Andrew Davis will not renew his contract as music director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

The Brit vet has confirmed he will leave next year, joining a growing exodus.

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  • I would like to know more about the MSO’s problems: a quick search online hasn’t revealed any deep coverage of the matter. I see that they have been heavily into attempts to reach a wider audience: backing Paul Stanley of Kiss, Stevie Nicks, and Elton John, concerts of video game music and popular movie scores (including, I believe, a Pixar-focused one), etc. Is there any proof that those things create repeat goes? Does it affect the morale of the musicians? I just don’t know…. Davis is a good, if erratic, conductor. Perhaps Melbourne needs someone charismatic enough to develop pride and play up the Sydney rivalry….

  • Bear in mind that Sir Andrew has accepted a two-season appointment (2018-19, 2019-2020) as interim artistic director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra while the TSO looks for a successor to Peter Oundjian. Five weeks in 18-19. Toronto is a little closer than Melbourne to Chicago.

  • Davis has had a good tenure in Melbourne. It has been generally expected that it would end after 2019. The big question is : who will be next?

    Melbourne needs a “name” conductor, and the local community should be prepared to do what it takes to ensure this happens – but it needs to be someone whose leadership commands respect beyond the music, and who can use influence to ensure that other top artists come.

    Withe the Director of Artistic Planning having left, it is surely time to appoint a Music Director who has broader terms of reference than “Chief Conductor”. It’s time for Simone Young – back resident in Australia, I believe – who would potentially have the time to do the MD job properly. Alternatively, a small number of recent visitors would be suitable. It would be worth getting the check book out for Jakub Hrusa, who has been almost an annual visitor in recent years. He would perhaps have to surrender one or two of his guest conducting positions, but I’m sure Melbourne and Bamberg could be harmonised.

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