The orchestra with the oldest maestros

The orchestra with the oldest maestros


norman lebrecht

April 18, 2018

The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra has just announced its 70th birthday season.

Several of the featured conductors make 70 seem young.

Music director Mariss Jansons is 75, Herbert Blomstedt is 90, Christoph von Dohnányi is 88 and Bernard Haitink, 89.


  • M says:

    Ja, ehm, that‘s Staatskapelle Dresden there on the photo.

    • Max Grimm says:

      Correct. And the SKD in turn makes the BRSO’s 70, Mariss Jansons’ 75, Herbert Blomstedt’s 90, Christoph von Dohnányi’s 88 and Bernard Haitink’s 89 all seem very young.

  • Richard Craig says:

    At least there are still some great maestri still with us LUCKY BRSO

  • Petros Linardos says:

    The BRSO is a great orchestra that deserves the best conductors.

    While we are talking about age, I am having a fantasy of having BRSO under Blomsted perform Bach’s concerto for four pianos, with Abbey Simon, Menahem Pressler, Leon Fleisher and Paul Badura Skoda as soloists. Jerome Lowenthal and Bernard Haiting should be on standby in case anyone of them cancels. I am obviously joking, but it would probably sound sublime.

  • Jon H says:

    They are great because in the trickier Bruckner symphonies, there’s much to learn from them – and it applies as well to the less touched Mozart and Haydn symphonies. Just wish there was more of the latter out there – because we collectors have Hogwood, Dorati, Bohm, etc. – but those are particular views at a certain window in time…
    Needless to say it’s really interesting hearing these conductors with the different top orchestras – the connection changes – sometimes it’s obviously coming from a place of love, very comfortable and familiar, other times it pushes the top orchestra to very high levels that seems to surprise even the musicians.
    It’s why musicians should be paid well. There is so much other BS out there about programming, artistic excellence, the various controversies, musical humor, etc. – but being moved by music is why it’s happening over and over again. It’s why classical music is still with us – and honestly the moment it’s no longer meaningful/moving to people, it doesn’t deserve to continue.

  • Gaffney Feskoe says:

    Although this thought has nothing directly to do with the topic, this post brought to mind some very fine conductors of the mid century period who were performing when those named above were starting out. Many are now undeservedly forgotten, such as Karel Ancerel, Vaclav Neumann, Carl Schuricht, William Steinberg, Hans Rosbaud, Jean Martinon, Janos Ferencsik, Paul Paray , etc.

    As Toscanini observed “when the sun is out, the stars don’t shine”.

  • Sharon says:

    Ironically, Levine’s petition in his legal case against the Met, which is somewhere online as a New York Times document, strongly implied that the real reason he was fired was age discrimination and that the sex allegations were just used as an excuse.

    Gelb said in a publicity video introducing Yannick that he was the right age so hopefully he could be with them for 40 years

    • Anon says:

      age discrimination… haha… look who is talking… how old was your preferred sex prey again, Mr. Levine? Karma…

      I’m also waiting for the first age discrimination law suit by a 40 year old ballet dancer.