Breaking: Toronto Symphony signs music director

Breaking: Toronto Symphony signs music director


norman lebrecht

September 17, 2018

It has just been made public that Gustavo Gimeno of the Luxembourg Philharmonic is to be the next music director of the Toronto Symphony. He starts in 2020.

We understand that Toronto’s CEO Matthew Loden flew to Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago to snap him up. Here’s a shot of them together.

This is a good catch for Toronto. Gustavo Gimeno, now 42, was a percussion player in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra when Mariss Jansons made him assistant conductor in 2012. He has never looked back.

Ludwig Van Toronto has the first interview with GG here.


  • MacroV says:

    I was kinda rooting for Barbara Hannigan, but he seems like a good choice. Must admit I’d never heard of him.

  • Olassus says:


  • John says:

    Luxembourg Phil isn’t too fond of him from what i’ve heard…

    • Marc Norton says:

      I heard completely the opposite.

      • Bruce says:

        Thanks to these two comments, I have now heard both 🙂

        • John says:

          To be honest- i think you’ll be hard pressed to find any conductor which pleases everyone – I remember being conducted by him, and he had a very charismatic stage presence – the audience liked him (for a children’s concert, he really could’ve loosened up though, he was very stiff… It was pretty clear he has no children) 😛

  • Michael says:

    Ho-hum. I was hoping for someone else.

  • John Rook says:

    I heard him with the Luxembourg Phil in Metz’s over-resonant Arsenal a couple of years ago. Difficult to judge anything in that hall.

  • Derek says:

    He has a flowing style with clear direction. When I saw him the orchestra seemed to like him.

    Congratulations, I wish him success with the Toronto Symphony.

  • msc says:

    He wasn’t on my radar at all, and I had what I thought was a good list of twenty or so viable candidates. It seems a fairly conventional pick (white male, mid-career, not Canadian, for whom Toronto is a modest step up) but that is Toronto for you. I had wondered if, given greater Toronto’s ever increasing non-white population, especially south and east Asian, the TSO might seek out a conductor from one of those communities (I am not necessarily advocating such an approach). I suspect, however, that for some time central Canada’s most exciting orchestral music making will be in Ottawa, where Alexander Shelley continues to impress.

    • Ms.Melody says:

      MSC, you are making attributes that he has absolutely no control over sound like major flaws in his CV: gender, race, country of birth.
      Perhaps, he should sincerely apologize for accepting the job and thus depriving a deserving female , preferably from a visible minority, of an opportunity.
      If you have any issues with his musicianship or doubts about his ability to lead a major orchestra, by all means state them, otherwise, let us wish him and the TSO many years of great music making.

      • msc says:

        For better or worse, such attributes have become issues. Running an orchestra is partly an exercise in marketing and salesmanship, and things like sex, ethnicity, and age can be relevant to that marketing.You will note that I did not say he should not have been hired, or that I thought he should not have had the job because he is a western European male. That said, I would say that there still seems to be some discrimination against women in the conducting profession. When European males still dominate the world’s top tier of orchestras, picking one seems safe — but not necessarily wrong.

        • Ms.Melody says:

          What is wrong is that” such attributes have become issues”. I feel it should be about talent, personality and ability to communicate with musicians and public.
          And it looks like discrimination has swung the other way, at least in Europe. Soon there will be no male conductors or male orchestra players left. Maybe, they will get together and form their own world class orchestra.

  • drummerman says:

    Nice to see another drummer get a job. (Think Simon Rattle, Giancarlo Guerrero, Larry Rachleff, for instance.)

  • Costa Pilavachi says:

    Excellent appointment. I am happy for the TSO. Peter Oundjian is leaving the orchestra in fine shape and interim CEO Gary Hanson has done an exemplary job of helping to renew the Board and supporting and guiding them in getting a new, permanent CEO and now a talented, ambitious, engaging Music Director. A job well done, I say.

  • AlexG says:

    Excellent; another European no one in North America has ever heard of. Good thing these maestros are willing to make the transatlantic voyage a few times a year in order to save us from our serious local shortage of talented conductors. With any luck, he won’t even move to Toronto or establish any ties to the community before he goes on to accept a better job at the first opportunity.

    • Anon says:

      Yep. I like Gimeno, but you are absolutely right. Furthermore, the countries the Europeans come from are reluctant to give equal opportunities to north American conductors. Somehow it’s OK for Europeans to occupy north American positions but the countries they come from protect their conducting opportunities for their own and have little interest in considering north Americans for their orchestras. Terrible double standard.

    • Mark Norton says:

      Bla bla bla…You are the ignorant who has not heard of him, but he has already conducted (and some of these several times) the North-American orchestras of L.A., Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, Houston, Indianapolis, Washington , Dallas, Seattle, and Saint-Louis.

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    If Ms Hannigan was in the running, they missed a real opportunity.

    Too bad. A great musician, a clear and able conductor, and hot looking for the TSO marketing department.