Breaking: Principal conductor walks out of Lucerne Festival

Breaking: Principal conductor walks out of Lucerne Festival


norman lebrecht

September 05, 2018

This release has just landed from Lucerne. Behind the terse words, you can hear the Swiss seething:

Lucerne, 5 September 2018. Matthias Pintscher, Principal Conductor of the Orchestra of the Lucerne Festival Academy, is unable to fulfil his further commitments for personal reasons, the Festival’s management has announced.

The Management of Lucerne Festival is currently clarifying who will take over Matthias Pintscher’s conducting duties for the Orchestra of the Lucerne Festival Academy for the rest of the current year.

The phrase ‘personal reasons’ usually means a massive bust-up. Our sources at Lucerne have no details, yet.

Pintscher succeeded Pierre Boulez as head of the Academy orchestra, together with Wolfgang Rihm.

Not so happy now.

UPDATE: The flare-up must have been sudden since Pintscher performed Kurtág, Eötvös, Bella and B.A. Zimmermann with the Academy on Saturday night.


  • AKP says:

    It is also often used when someone is ill or someone in their family is and they want the matter to remain private.

    Ps Norman when will yòu fix your broken site which each time and each page I visit, I get a message about ads. On no other site does this happen apart from first visit. Don’t blame the EU! The legislation may come from them but the fix needs to come from you.

    • Peter says:

      Yes please! The message about ads is very annoying!

    • Alex Davies says:

      Yes, I may not have sufficient insider knowledge of the music world to catch the subtleties of the wording, but on the face of it ‘personal reasons’ means reasons of a personal nature that are too personal to want to make public at this point or possibly at all. If ‘personal reasons’ means ‘a massive bust-up’, what wording is used when one actually wants to say ‘personal reasons’?

      • Lausitzer says:

        This is a question for the PR cracks who invented the practice to use ‘personal reasons’ as cover wording, thus killing the credibility of this explanation also for cases where it is true.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    I thought this was just me re: the Ads.

    Yes, please get them stopped.

  • Been Here Before says:

    Based on what I have heard on Saturday, Petrenko should be on the top of any list!

  • John Borstlap says:

    The repertoire played on that particular saturday night is prone to create a provocative atmosphere.

  • Londonconcertgoer says:

    But shall he be conducting one of the LSO groups in Gruppen which is scheduled this weekend?

  • Conducting Feminista says:

    They will have a woman conductor come in and replace him.

  • Jackyt says:

    Adblock isn’t blocking the Ads for me on this website.

  • PAUL CANNON says:

    -it’s not doing it for me either…pretty irritating.

  • Dean Williams says:

    ‘Personal reasons’ is being deliberately vague. and can mean pretty much… anything. But Norman is quite right in that it is often used to be vague about a massive difference of opinion. I live in Montréal, and I remember when Dutoit left and slammed the door behind him before burning every single bridge that existed between him and the MSO. He left for ‘personal reasons.’
    On the topic of ad-blockers, I am using Opera and sometimes Chrome with Ad-Blocker Plus. I never see any ads on this site.