Conductor’s out? Concertmaster takes over tour

Nathalie Stutzmann was due to lead the Royal Scottish National Orchestra on a Beethoven Five tour through Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

But Stutzmann has just dropped out ‘for personal reasons’, whatever that may mean.

Instead of hiring another conductor, the musicians proposed that the tour should be directed by RSNO Leader Sharon Roffman. Music director Thomas Søndergård liked the idea.

Our ear on the inside says: ‘What it provides is an opportunity for large ensemble to be directed from the first chair, which can only really be done with a band in solid, confident shape. We’ll be doing more of this next season too.’

Ms Roffman says: ‘One of the fun things about playing with different conductors every week is that we, the musicians, get to be like musical chameleons, changing styles and interpretations according to each conductor’s taste and ideas. The great part about playing without a conductor in a collective spirit, is that each musician no matter which chair or instrument, has a voice and is part of the process of creating a unique interpretation, unmistakably our own. I’m looking forward to embarking on this journey with my colleagues!’

 

UPDATE: The RNSO has issued a coda: ‘The RSNO would like to clarify that Nathalie did not withdraw from this engagement unilaterally. This was a mutual decision, taken eight months ago, due to a combination of unexpected repertoire and scheduling difficulties on both sides of the equation. The RSNO regrets any implication otherwise and we very much look forward to working with Nathalie in the future.’

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  • She was due to conduct the RTENSO last Friday in Dublin. We were told from the stage that she has a back problem.

  • The Orchestre de Paris has performed le Sacre du Printemps sans chef d’orchestre. Soon orchestral musicians will arrive at their concert halls in driverless cars to perform anonymous aleatoric music on virtual instruments. Concerts will be reviewed by “likes.”

  • I find that people give Maestro Stutzmann too much leeway as a conductor because of how fantastic she is a singer. I think that she just isn’t quite ready for prime time. These comments are made adjacent and not in conjunction with why she cancelled these particular engagements.

    • I am sorry to correct your comment, however as a person who has worked very closely with Stutzmann, she is one of the best musicians and conductors I have encountered. No one gets re-invited to the Philadelphia Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, or St Louis Symphony Orchestra just because they sing well. Caution yourself before challenging a seasoned professional’s musicianship and skill.

  • I find that some musicians and administrators give Maestro Stutzman too much leeway as a conductor due to her incredible talent as a singer. I find that she isn’t quite ready from prime time, and can’t quite piece it all together. These comments are made adjacent and not in conjunction with the recent cancellation.

    • Maestro? That is a pompous male American title and out of date. And then to criticise her for being a mediocre conductor with a back handed complement of being a talented singer! And then under some ‘View from back stand’ anonymous name!

    • If you’re going to use such a horrible sexist title, then at least get the gender right with your Italian!

    • her gifts as a conductor are equally extrordinary–the musicians and administrators you criticize are actually quite right.

  • Actually, I think this is a good idea, if done the right way. See the conductor-less Orpheus which has won so many awards. It saves a lot and I would imagine forces the orchestra to do that much more.

  • I remember in 2016-2017, Lars Vogt was ordered to rest by his doctor on the day of a concert with the RNS – he was due to perform a Schubert symphony (conductor) and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (Pianist and conductor).
    Bradley Creswick, the Northern Sinfonia leader, took over the symphony, leading from the violin (and not having had the time to rehearse it as conductor), and the pianist (whose name escapes me), played and led the concerto without having previously met the orchestra. Fantastic results and a fun evening!

  • ‘For personal reasons’ … public professional musicians owe it to their public, without a blow by blow account, of why they have pulled out. That sounds evasive always to me as a professional musician myself. If it’s a bad back, just say!

  • I think at least 50% of the world’s top orchestras can do without a conductor 50% of the time. It would save a ton of money for sure. Look up David Grimal and see.

  • I just played in an orchestra concert with Roffman as a soloist in a very difficult concerto. She’s smart, expressive, deliberate and a fantastic violinist. I’m sure the concerts will be great with her gently at the helm.

  • “Following the press release circulated on Monday 25th March 2019, regarding the change of conductor for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s (RSNO’s) forthcoming Beethoven Five programme in Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow [May 2-4 respectively], the RSNO is issuing this follow up statement with further information and clarification on this situation.

    The original press release stated: “The Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s (RSNO) Beethoven Five programme in Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow will now be directed by RSNO Leader Sharon Roffman, following the withdrawal of conductor Nathalie Stutzmann.”

    The RSNO would like to clarify that Nathalie did not withdraw from this engagement unilaterally. This was a mutual decision, taken eight months ago, due to a combination of unexpected repertoire and scheduling difficulties on both sides of the equation. The RSNO regrets any implication otherwise and we very much look forward to working with Nathalie in the future.”

    http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_news.php?id=7170

  • the “update” is too little and too late. the snarky tone of the original was completely misleading and totally incorrect. WHY would you do this? it hardly seems like an accident, and you owe ms. stutzmann a much more prominent apology for such damaging misrepresentation of the facts.

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