Maestro rise: Nelsons names new Boston flak

Maestro rise: Nelsons names new Boston flak


norman lebrecht

April 13, 2018

Yu-An Chang from Taiwan is the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s new assistant conductor.

He succeeds Moritz Gnann who has held the maestro’s coat for three years.


  • phf655 says:

    Why did you have to be so ‘cute’? This is a serious, meaningful position, and undoubtedly it is an honor to receive it. The Assistant Conductors are given full subscription programs and Tanglewood concerts to conduct. Past incumbants in this position have included Michael Tilson Thomas

    • Bill says:

      Not only does the word not fit, he’s got the wrong homophone. Flak is criticism (or antiaircraft fire). Flack is a publicity or press agent. Neither remotely describes the role of an assistant conductor, even if you do honestly believe that they do nothing but hold doors and fetch coffee while waiting for someone to become indisposed.

    • drummerman says:

      Agree one hundred per cent. Norman’s comments were uncalled for.

    • La Verita says:

      Yes, MTT had the BSO assistant conductor position, and his ungracious dismissal in 1973 was most unflatteringly reported in the Boston Globe

    • Bruce says:

      I wonder if it’s a British-ism: this is the term he always uses fur assistant conductors.

  • Gene says:

    You don’t understand the assistant conductor role in Boston. When a scheduled conductor cancels in Boston, management does not bother to find a quality replacement. Instead, the assistant (or someone even more unknown) gets to conduct, often leading a piece for the first time.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Are you sure it works that way? I can think of many instances where the management sought out a well known conductor at the last minute, and many commenters wondered what the assistant is paid for.

      • Anna says:

        Often American orchestras do use the assistant in bigger ways than the European orchestras do. They get big subscription concerts and conduct the orchestra in other concerts frequently. This is a big deal

        • Petros Linardos says:

          Of course it’s great news for Mr. Yu-An Chang. But Gene’s statement about assistants being the default replacement is, unfortunately, inaccurate.

    • Gaffney Feskoe says:

      In Boston, the assistant conductor often conducts the children’s concerts. At least it is exposure.

      BTW what is the difference between an assistant conductor and an associate conductor?

  • Rob says:

    It’s a great start if you wanna make it big in the conducting world. Lucky dude.

  • Collegue says:

    I know him since many years, he is not just a wonderful musician who will for sure have a fantastic relation to the orchestra and audience, he is also a great human being. Congratulations Yu-An!

  • John Rook says:

    Moritz Gnann is a brilliant conductor/pianist/musician and a wonderful person to boot. I had to coax it out of him that AN had appointed him as Assistant in Boston, such was his modesty. Good luck to this next chap.

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    Norman go home.