The BBC’s most inspired conductor pick in years

The BBC’s most inspired conductor pick in years


norman lebrecht

October 04, 2018

Richard Morrison waxes hyperbolic about Omer Meir Wellber in the Times:

Confident, cultured and charming, Omer Meir Wellber is arguably the most inspired musical appointment the BBC has made for years. I’m surprised such a characterful conductor got through the vetting process.

Tomorrow the 36-year-old Israeli will be announced as the new chief conductor of the Manchester-based BBC Philharmonic, despite having conducted the orchestra for the first time only in March this year (he’s back doing Mozart and Wagner this month). Was it love at first sight?

“We had a small flirt and it went well,” he says….

Read on here.


  • Joel Lazar says:

    With all due respect to this no-doubt gifted gentleman, I should say that the appointments of Yan Pascal Tortelier and Gianandrea Noseda were very significant as well, perhaps even “inspired”.

    • Nik says:

      Those appointments happened respectively in 1992 and 2001.
      The article says “most inspired … for years”. It doesn’t say decades or centuries.

  • will says:

    Hmmm… awful concert on R3 yesterday… incoherent, gratuitous harpsichord playing ( why?) in Don Giovanni overture…WTF is going on that this mediocrity is given ‘top job’ at the BBC’s best orchestra? Charles Groves, George Hurst et al must be turning in their graves.

  • Anton Bruckner says:

    The second Israeli at a BBC orchestra after Volkov at the BBC SSO. Wondering why other than a short episode in Iceland, Volkov did not get any MD position in another orchestra although he is extremely talented and his programming is outstandung.

    • Dr Faust says:

      Because Volkov is an extremely difficult character either too busy trying very hard to look hip or programming the most obscure composers. So much talent and such a waste of a personality.

      • Hilary says:

        “programming the most obscure composers. So much talent and such a waste of a personality.”

        I beg to differ. Thankful for his enterprising programming and looking beyond new music which already gets plenty (excessive?) of attention. I think the history will judge him well.

        I don’t think his forté is in the classical or romantic period judging from what I’ve heard.

        • Anton Bruckner says:

          I heard Vokov’s Bruckner 5 at the proms about 6 years ago and it was spectacular, brilliant and original. I have in fact rediscovered Bruckner thanks to Volkov. I know nothing about his personality (although he seems to be well liked by the BBC SSO). Musically he clearly should lead a prominent orchestra and the soon to open post at the LPO seems ideal as they go well beyond the boring mainstream which most orchestras choose to pursue (like the RPO which has become pathetic in recent years and it is a mystery why VP chose that post).

  • Karen says:

    Is he the one who lost out to Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla back when CBSO was picking their next music director?

    • RW2013 says:

      Yes, he must be worse then (or not as nice).

    • Conducting Feminista says:

      Of course. That is because Mirga is far superior to him and every male conductor out there.

      • John Borstlap says:

        No, that was because Mirga could convey more expressive nuances with her hairdo. Wellber’s beard however, remained fixed at its place.

    • C Porumbescu says:

      Yes, he went down well in Birmingham. Fine conductor but perhaps not quite as good a fit, personality-wise, as the one they went for in the end. The musicians who discovered Rattle, Oramo and Nelsons have generally been shrewd judges, and at any rate know what works for them.

      The BBC Phil has a habit of hanging on to the CBSO’s coat-tails and to be fair, that seems like a pretty sound artistic strategy. This is an excellent appointment.

  • Jon McGurk says:

    The name rang a bell and thanks to Google…..I was able to confirm my recollection that I saw him conduct Eugene Onegin at Glyndebourne in 2014, and was amazed by the quality of the orchestral playing and sound – indeed my friend who accompanied me (a serious Opera fan) had seen it there twice before and was equally impressed.

    • Don Pasquale says:

      Yes I thought that Onegin was absolutely stunning and chatting to sone of the orchestra they found that too.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    So, what is the shade of meaning between a Chief Conductor and a Music Director?

  • Nigel Harris says:

    Certainly the word was that it was between him and Mirga for the CBSO post. I’ve heard him three or four times and been mightily impressed, above all with his performances of Bruckner and Dvorak. He strikes you as a conductor of real intellectual rigour, as well as imagination and flair. Mirga’s good too, though – Wellber would have brought different things to the table, rather than necessarily better ones. But Manchester has unquestionably got a good ‘un.

    • Derek says:

      Indeed it was between Omer and Mirga at the CBSO.

      Agree with your comments. He and Mirga have different styles, personality and chosen repertoire but both have much to offer.

      I really have rated his performances. He is a passionate and highly intelligent musician. Good luck to him in his new post.