Who will succeed Gatti at the Concertgebouw?

Who will succeed Gatti at the Concertgebouw?


norman lebrecht

August 02, 2018

In the short term, they are scrambling for conductors to fill next month’s dates.

Of their regular and recent conductors who are available, the following might make a preliminary shortlist:

Semyon Bychkov

Myung Whun Chung


John Eliot Gardiner

Daniel Harding

Manfred Honeck


  • Alan Millar says:

    It should be MTT (Michael Tilson Thomas).

  • boringfileclerk says:

    Whoever it is. It must be a non-binary, transgender, and or woman. Preferably not white or straight.

    • anon says:

      Most of us would probably just settle for someone who doesn’t sexually assault other people.

      • Doug says:

        Don’t you mean “ever has expressed heteronormative behavior around a woman in their entire life, albeit fifty plus years ago”?

        • Alex Davies says:

          No, because sexually assaulting people isn’t heteronormative behaviour. It is normal for heterosexuals not to sexually assault each other; it is also far from unheard of, especially in the classical music world, for sexual assaults to be perpetrated upon a person of the same sex as the perpetrator. Heteronormative behaviour is behaviour performed while making the assumption that a heterosexual orientation and expression is normative. Assaulting somebody of the opposite sex isn’t heteronormative behaviour; it’s assaulting somebody. Assaulting somebody of the same sex is also assaulting somebody.

          • Tamino says:

            Assault is understood vaguely today. I know of cases were women cried “assault” from a man who was flirting.

          • Vaquero357 says:

            I’m not using the exact legal terms here, but under the law in most (all) U.S. states, “assault” is any actions that put a person in fear of being physically attacked by you. So, yes, a person can be found legally guilty of committing “assault” without ever laying a hand on the victim.

            Now, when one actually follows through and engages in the physical attack, that’s “battery.”

            Very typically, you’ll hear of somebody being charged with “assault and battery” – putting the victim in fear of physical attack, and then actually whaling on the poor sod.

        • Craig says:

          Trolling on Slipped Disc is low…go back to the bar and talk to anyone that will listen, it suits you better.

          • Sue says:

            One person’s trolling is another person’s common sense statements. This is the whacky, upside-down world of political correctness. Batshit crazy.

            A woman bawling on TV last night because a man had tried to kiss her and they weren’t in a relationship. She must have been in her mid 30s. Poor snowflakes.

          • Craig says:

            Ah yes, pesky PC culture, the one that is ruining every aspect of your life? Poor Sue, shadow of her former self, ‘these days, if you say you’re English, you get arrested and thrown in jail’.

    • David Hilton says:

      And left-handed

  • Ed says:

    A glorious orchestra. This is exactly what Daniel Barenboim needs.

  • Edo says:

    THE Kco is rooted in Bruckner and Mahler, how one can see Gardiner as musical director?

  • Rod says:

    Harding, for sure. Young and a great mahlerian.

  • msc says:

    There are so many possible choices for substitutes, it’s almost pointless to start naming very conductor around. I wonder if someone like a Blomstedt might be able to take on more than a few, but he’s probably fully booked (as would be Haitink). Is Dohnanyi out of it? One conductor that, I believe, does not have a position worthy of his talents is Claus-Peter Flor. The Malaysian Philharmonic mess a few years back might have tainted him somewhat, however. I know some people think Litton is little more than a traffic cop, but I presume he’d have the time to do more than just a bit. I’d also suggest among the seemingly under-employed Gabor Takacs-Nagy, Bakels, Bamert, and Runnicles (o.k., he probably has too much on). These are not really principal conductor candidates, just those that might be able to offer some continuity for a while….
    I hope some of the younger crop like Afkham and Altinoglu will be in the running. It’s easy to go on and on.
    I know Gatti mostly from his recordings and the odd radio broadcast, and he’s usually impressed me. I saw him with the ONF and it was quite something. So I’m with those that find this event a bit saddening.

    • Vaquero357 says:

      Ding, ding, ding!! Winner, winner, chicken dinner! **Andrew Litton**

      Connect Litton up with an orchestra with which he has a rapport, and he’s dynamite. He kicked serious butt with the Minnesota Orchestra while he was their MD for Sommerfest (their summer season). Heard a lot of marvelous performances with them. And the best Shostakovich 11th I’ve ever heard (it’s a favorite, so I’ve heard a lot of ’em).

    • Saxon Broken says:

      MSC writes: “I find this event a bit saddening.”

      Yes, I agree with this. It is a shame that Gatti looks like he has lost his career because he couldn’t behave appropriately around female musicians. I hope others take the message that they should try to behave appropriately at all times.

  • Pedro says:


  • Doug says:

    JEG won’t be tied down. He’s not interested.

  • Pedro says:


  • Pedro says:


  • Don Ciccio says:

    Rory Macdonald, obviously!


  • David says:

    Simone Young

  • Pedro says:

    There are 12 concerts that were supposed to be conducted by Gatti between late August sand late September, including the gala concert on September 14. I suppose that who will conduct the latter eill be the next Music Director.

  • Pedro says:

    Nobody mentioned Dudamel. That’s good news.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    I’ve got a ticket for the opening concert. Hmm interesting.

  • MacroV says:

    Bychkov supposedly said he didn’t want any more MD jobs. He took on the Czech Philharmonic, a great orchestra, but that probably doesn’t take a lot of his time.

  • William Ford says:

    Manfred Honeck.

    • Vaquero357 says:

      NOOOOO, bite your tongue. We need him in Pittsburgh. He’s turned that into one of the 3 or 4 best U.S. orchestras. Amazing talent. He’s ours now – Europe can’t have him back! {;-)

      • Don Ciccio says:

        There is no reason why Honeck can’t be director of both the Concertgebouw and the Pittsburgh Symphony. BTW, what’s the status of his Pittsburgh contract as it expires soon, in 2020?

        And yes, let’s keep him in Pittsburgh, both for his wonderful work and for the fact that I go once or twice a year there to enjoy his concerts.

        • William Ford says:

          There has been no announcement of renewal. He has worked wonders in Pittsburgh and he is well liked and respected. He is admired by the critics in New York and Chicago and most places he has conducted. He is truly a gentleman also.

  • Don Ciccio says:

    Gareth Southgate did miracles with England’s soccer team so he should be given a chance.

    Wait, what we’re talking about? Classical music? Concertgebouw Orchestra?

    Scratch this, never mind!

  • Conducting feminista says:

    It will be a young beautiful woman, most likely blonde.

  • Daphne Badger says:

    God in Heaven, the desperate wish for you to be seen as someone who has the inside story or any kind of influence just BLEEDS out of the screen, doesn’t it. You have no idea, and neither do we. And the orchestra is certainly not going to rush a decision just to appease the morons above this comment. SO give it a damn rest already.

  • Trevor S. says:

    obviously it will be Riccardo Muti the next MD. Or Chailly… Are they abusers, I missed this point…?

  • Ben says:

    I like Noseda

  • Graeme says:

    They should ask Simone Young to fill in. She’s done some awesome Bruckner here in Sydney in recent years. And she’s doing Mahler 6 next week.

  • Robin Smith says:

    Vladimir Jurowski in the long term might be the ideal replacement. He’s leaning more and more to the Concertgebuow’s core repertoire (even covering the various versions of Bruckner’s symphonies) as well as being a very searching, interesting and committed conductor/musician. He’s been superb with the LPO and is set to relinquish his position there in 2021. He’d certainly widen their repertoire.

    Hand’s off Rattle or Salonen though. We need them to stay where they are.

  • V says:

    Ivan Fischer…he speaks fluent Dutch too.

    • professor says:

      He does?

    • Don Ciccio says:

      But is Fischer interested in taking a new directorship, even if it means the Concertgebouw? He is perhaps the best choice if he accepts as he has established a good rapport with the orchestra, but does he want it.

      But he may want to take an interim position, like he did in Washington – hopefully with better results than there, where he lacked chemistry with the band.

    • rfl says:

      Fischer obvious choice as he is a regular guest and produced good Beethoven cycle with RCO.

  • Brian says:

    The question is, what are the Concertgebouw’s biggest needs? To cultivate young audiences? To keep its old subscribers happy and returning? To connect with other arts groups in the city?

    Unlike the city of Amsterdam itself, the Concertegbouw strikes me as a fairly conservative institution, at least when it comes to repertoire. Not as stodgy as Vienna, mind you, but old-school nonetheless. Perhaps this episode will shake up the status quo there.

    • Edgar says:

      “Perhaps this episode will shake up the status quo there” – indeed. Never let a crisis go to waste as it is the opportunity not to be missed…

    • Feurich says:

      The audience is old at typical RCO concerts. Too old. But then the audience is old at most Netherlands Dance Theater events too and that is for modern dance. The buzz from RCO comes from the Hall, from tradition and from a fine tuned orchestra, which frequently lacks passion and can sound, for lack of better term, episodic. So much more can be done. They need a person with vision. The only vision I recall Gatti iterating was that he wanted to do more opera. He also programmed a lot of premieres but I was never drawn to these, partly because overall the programs were too short and uninspired. I would love to see Rattle take over.

  • Greg says:

    Dutch orchestra, right? Time for Andre Rieu to step up his game.

  • Vaquero357 says:

    Oh. So this post doesn’t have any actual news. It’s just Norman throwing out a question keep traffic up and give the regulars something to argue about. Well, OK, I’m game….

    Except for Bychkov, NONE of these guys has the talent or the stature to take over the ACO.

    Maybe Chailly could be persuaded to come back for a “music advisor”-ship??

    • Conducting Feminista says:

      Every woman conductor is vastly superior to these worthless men filling in for another disgraced man. Women are taking over the conducting profession. The era of male conductors is coming to an end.

  • David Taylor says:

    Obviously, one of their own . . . .Jaap von Sweden!!!

  • Charles says:

    Paavo Järvi! Hands down!

  • Jean says:

    Hannu Lintu

  • Rob says:

    David Afkham

  • Bob says:

    The Concertgebouw Orchestra can be a fairly lazy bunch when in the wrong hands. They need someone who’s not afraid to whip them into shape, like Gatti, but who also has serious emotional depth and just enough ‘old world flair’ to give satisfying readings of the late Romantic repertoire, but without being a(n) antisemite/bigot/sexist/etc.
    JEG is too rigid for Mahler and perhaps too much of an autocrat for Dutch taste, Bychkov is too much middle of the road and Harding lacks this profound something that has prevented him from becoming a truly interesting conductor. Hannigan could be interesting, but she lacks experience. Jaap lacks poetry and depth. I’d like to see Manfred Honeck get up there, but I’d also love to see Nathalie Stutzmann do her thing. No one has mentioned het yet, but she’s the real deal.

  • Brumas est mort says:

    Esa-Pekka Salonen could be interesting…

    Otherwise Ed Spanjaard might be a good option as well. One of the better conductors in the Netherlands, although he maybe does not have the chutzpah that one would associate with a chief conductor of a major orchestra.

    • Maarten Brandt says:

      Ed Spanjaard would be an excellent choice! He conducted many fantastic programma’s with the RCO but after that was – untill now – neclected for over ten years, which is completely ununderstandable. In the further past he worked with the orchestra as well, as an assistent of Bernard Haitink. His repertoire is very manysided and ranges from Bach to Boulez and everything in between, Bruckner (of whom he did all symphonies) and Mahler included. On the other hand, one of his specialties is French music. He would for instance be be THE ideal conductor of Debussy’s Pelleas et Melisande, which is next year on the programme with the Dutch National Opera in co-production with the RCO. Other important names in our country are Jac van Steen and – from the younger generation – Antony Hermus. Both fantastic and all round conductors with a hugh repertoire, on the symphonic field but that of opera as well. It is one of the big shortcomings of the Netherlands that, except Jaap van Zweden, Dutch conductors are not choosen for important jobs and working for the biggest part outside our country, like Jac van Steen who conducts a lot in England (Convent Garden, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra of Wales etc.). If it is about Bruckner, the name (and one of the best kept secrets) of the Austrian conductor Martin Sieghart is without the slightest doubt an interesting option.

  • Arameo says:

    Mikko Franck is the best

  • Keijo says:

    My shortlist: Susanna Mälkki, Hannu Lintu, Ivan Fischer, Paavo Järvi

  • anon says:

    James Levine.

    Give the men of the RCO a taste of what life’s like being a woman.

  • DAVID says:

    Why not Asimo? A cost-effective, reliable alternative that resolves once and for all any issues possibly arising out of sexual discrimination/harrassment. This truly is the future of conducting.

    Seriously, “it” is much better than most conductors I’ve ever seen (and played under).


  • SVL says:

    Myun Whun Chung as interim, Currentzis as the new chef after a year #myguess

    • Pilgrim says:

      Chung could be the best choice as the interim leader. He has serious emotional depth and enough ‘old world flair’ to give satisfying readings of the late Romantic repertoire.

  • Selim says:

    They should offer it to Plácido Domingo, so we all can see if he can go beyond conducting Wagner in Bayreuth to Mahler and Bruckner in Amsterdam.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Daniele Pollini. Young (about 40), knows well the “classical canon” as well as the modern masters.

  • Wurtfangler says:

    I am surprised at the absence of two names that regularly pop up – surely this is a shoe in for Teodor Currentzis or Alondra de la Parra? 😉

  • Simon Brown says:

    The orchestra is only going to appoint conductors they have worked with. The conductors that Norman flagged up are already scheduled this coming season. The 2017-18 season featured Haitink, Jansons and Chailly plus Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Valery Gergiev, Philippe Herreweghe, Trevor Pinnock, Franz Welser-Möst and Jaap van Zweden who had all worked with the orchestra before. There were also debuts from Kristian Bezuidenhout, James Gaffigan, Stanislav Kochanovsky, Andrew Manze, Matthias Pintscher and Lahav Shani.


    • david hilton says:

      They’ve also worked with Cornelius Meister, who would have been my choice in any event. Most impressive conductor under 40 I’ve seen in many years.

  • barry guerrero says:

    Edo DeWaat, anyone? . . . he certainly knows his Mahler and Strauss. Fairly good in Bruckner too.

  • Simon Evnine says:

    ==Gardiner knows a thing or two about assaulting musicians.

    LOL. Yes, he reputedly hit a trumpet player in LSO

  • James says:

    Andrey Boreyko has come close to a major MD position, but no cigar as yet.
    Has guested everywhere. Maybe his time with this one…

  • Apanatshka says:

    Gustavo Gimeno, his last concert with the orchestra was great

  • Apanatshka says:

    Gustavo Gimeno, his last concert with the kco was great

  • WILLEM says:

    Rattle and the KCO will never work. He needs to feel “loved” and admired by an orchestra in order to do well. The KCO doesn’t offer that kind of feeling for conductors, with Van Beinum, Giulini, and Jansons as possible exceptions.

    Salonen is too much the autist for this group and does not achieve any “flow”.

    Gardiners work with the KCO is a disaster because his rudeness and arrogance are not matched by artistic results. He is simply not good enough for this orchestra.

    Domingo may be too vulnerable for bad news to surface. Better stay away.

    Chailly was never liked on a personal level, but definitely respected for his craftsmanship. He had the cojones to do what was necessary and he is not a person who fools around. It wouldn’t surprise me if he steps in for some of the concerts (he never liked Gatti, I know) and that the reunion might refresh the relationship in a meaningful way.

    Edo is a wonderful conductor who can easily do what Gatti does, and probably better. But for the KCO he has always remained the “boy Wonder” from Rotterdam where he did amazing work (and in a way much like Rattle). He might take over a program, and who knows, maybe there is some chemistry. But Edo always does his own thing and keeps his distance from too much spotlight. I don’t blame him.

    Haitink: yes, but this brand is best defined as 50 shades of beige. But he really likes to be asked to step in.

    Mariss: great! But he is tired, and I don’t expect him to be very available for that reason.

    The KCO likes them young. Chailly (in his early thirties) was offered the position after one Gershwin program as a newcomer. It was not a bad choice and at this stage I would put my cards on a refreshed relationship with him and the KCO.

  • Maarten de Gier says:

    Chailly was back in Amsterdam last March to conduct an unforgettable Firebird (the complete ballet). It looked like there was something more than chemistry between him and the orchestra (with only a few members in the orchestra from his era 1998-2004). I was told that a lot of the ‘old’ members from that era came to see him and to attend rehearsels & concerts. Chailly may be the best living conductor, and OMG: if this relationship could enter into (a kind of) a second one, that would be fantastic.

    • Skizetstot says:

      Firebird was the best. Unforgettable, as was his 2002 Christmas Matinée with Rite of Spring. Would be great to see him there.

  • Maarten de Gier says:

    Oops, his era was 1988-2004 of course

  • Pedro says:

    I am a little worried about my next trips to Amsterdam. Gatti was among my ten favourite conductors, judging from live performances I have attended. The others are Haitink, Barenboim ( Berlin and East-West), Thielemann ( Dresden ), Salonen ( Philharmonia ), Muti ( Chicago and Cherubini ), Yannick ( MET, Philadelphia, Montreal ), Mirga ( CBSO ) , Mälkki ( Helsinki and LA ) and Gergiev ( Marinsky and Munich ). So, Salonen and Mirga are the freer of the ten… Haitink could help if he feels well…

  • Willem says:

    I wasn’t aware of chailly’s recent firebird program with kco, as Maarten writes. But i am not surprised about the outcome. Riccardo has the same level of top craftmanship as Mariss, but with an even larger repertoire range. Very rare in this mad world of symphonic music. Also, both gentlemen are very strong personalities, not easily confused, and that is essential in maintaining and developing a succesfull leadership relationship with a top orchestra. Quite frankly, there are probablly less than a handfull of serious contenders around who stand a chance to be succesfull. Riccardo was insecure about himself and his position with kco in the beginning years. I wouldn,t blame him for that. Now he is 20yearsfurther along, and much more relaxed. Could be quite special to bring them together again…….