Two conductors play the generation game

Two conductors play the generation game


norman lebrecht

April 25, 2018

James Gaffigan has withdrawn from tomorrow’s Finnish RSO concert in Helsinki because he is about to become a father.

His replacement is Taavi Oramo, son of Sakari Oramo (and soprano Anu Komsi), making his conducting debut in a major city.

Taavi is 27.


  • Ariola says:

    I’m feeling sad for all the other much more experienced and talented student conductors at the Sibelius Academy…

    • Andreas C. says:

      The FRSO normally has an assistant conductor selected from the conducting class ready to step in in case their chief (Hannu Lintu) would have to cancel due to illness, but for some reason they asked Oramo Jr. to act as a standby for this performance. The chance to possibly give yet another Finnish star conductor (most of his classmates are non-Finns these days) with name recognition a head start on his career surely played a role.

      He’s clearly got some talent, but like many multi-talented young musicians, he suffers from a lack of focus and in addition to being a decently promising conducting student, performs as a clarinetist, singer, live electronics operator and whatnot (luckily he’s got enough reason not to present himself as a composer) and dropping these extraneous activities will probably be necessary if he wants to become a successful conductor one day.

    • Andreas C. says:

      According to the general manager of the FRSO, Oramo Jr. was asked to prepare this week’s programme in advance since Gaffigan’s familial situation was known, and he’s probably been on their short list anyway since successfully acting as a last-minute stand-in for Mario Venzago last fall at the Tapiola Sinfonietta. It’s probably no surprise that the FRSO wants to give promising domestic conductors (a majority of the Sibelius Academy conducting class are non-Finns these days) a chance in the spotlight – the even younger Klaus Mäkelä (22 this year) who decided to skip the Academy altogether after studying privately with Jorma Panula stood in for Lionel Bringuier two months ago.

  • Faciendi Feminista says:

    It is a matter of time until conducting becomes an ALL WOMEN profession.

  • Robert Rÿker says:

    “Stepping in,” as it is here so casually put, does indeed separate the sheep from the goats. It is not for the faint of heart. And it does not always work. Incidentally, it has nothing to do with sex. Simply being a man does not make a person a potential conductor. Neither does being a fine instrumentalist.
    The making of a conductor is certainly focused on developing leadership skills and sensitivity.
    Certain hisoric leaders, in music as in politics, have been highly skilled in leading; they have simply been despots. A very, very, very few leaders in history have developed the capacity of making their nation — or their orchestra or opera — into something greater that it was before.
    George Washington comes to mind. In music: Ormandy in Philadelphia, Szell in Cleveland. More recently, I think that Simon has done that in Berlin.
    Such leadership is indeed precious. And rare.