Maestra move: Basle chief takes second job

Maestra move: Basle chief takes second job


norman lebrecht

March 19, 2019

The Estonian Kristiina Poska was today named chief conductor of the Flanders Symphony Orchestra in Belgium, in addition to her other new job as music director at Theater Basle.

Some might say she’s collecting jobs just like a male maestro in the bad old days. Others will applaud her enterprise.

Poska, 40, recently received some poor reviews in London for The Merry Widow at ENO.

UPDATE: We have been informed that the Basle job is just for one year. Happy to clarify that.


  • Bart says:

    Some quotes from these poor reviews:
    ‘The music, however, maintains its dignity throughout, thanks to Kristiina Poska’s fresh conducting’ – FT
    ‘Still, glitzy designs by Ben Stones, eye-catching choreography from Lizzi Gee and lively conducting from Kristiina Poska go a long way to make this an entertaining evening’ – Guardian
    ‘Lehár’s genius survives it all thanks to Kristiina Poska’s cheerful unfussy conducting’ – Telegraph
    ‘Conductor Kristiina Poska is more alert to the nuances in the score than choreographer Lizzy Gee is’ – Independent
    ‘Kristiina Poska conducts stylishly’ – Evening Standard

  • Caravaggio says:

    Seems to me that a lot of young conductors, females especially, seem to be earning their living these days from short lived appointment to short lived appointment. Is my observation correct? Are these people beneath dreaded routiniers, learning on the job?

    • Novagerio says:

      Caravaggio: Basically, all young conductors under 50 are learning on the job. But there are ways of doing it, and certainly also places where to do it.

  • Bob Goldsmith says:

    She also received very favourable reviews for ‘The Merry Widow. You just cannot resist throwing in negative comments that are totally unjustified. In my opinion Poska displayed a really idiomatic understanding of the waltzes and fun of the piece, encouraging wonderful orchestral playing and ensemble singing. Just what is your problem that leads to such tempers?

  • Larry W says:

    Poor reviews for Poska? Not true. The Guardian said “…and lively conducting from Kristiina Poska go a long way to make this an entertaining evening.” Similar positive comments from The Independent, The Financial Times, bachtrack, and The Stage.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Kristiina Poska’s heavy-handed conducting
      (Richard Morrison, The Times)

      The conductor, Kristiina Poska, could sometimes press forward with a bit more urgency
      ( Tim Ashley, The Guardian)

      conductor Kristiina Poska gives us the shouted declarations of an earnest teenager with a boombox on his shoulder. There’s too much pah and not nearly enough oom to an account plagued by balance issues
      (Alexandra Coghlan,

      • Julien says:

        So she had good and bad reviews. Why are you only noting bad reviews in your article ?

      • Larry W says:

        The whole quote from Tim Ashley was: “The conductor, Kristiina Poska, could sometimes press forward with a bit more urgency, but the playing from the ENO Orchestra is silky smooth and sensuous.” So, while Poska press forward, she managed to make the orchestra sound quite good.

        You have provided two and a half reviews that justify your original statement that Ms. Poska received poor reviews. (You added “some” later.)

        Your readers have cited seven positive reviews, with one who attended and enjoyed her performance. On balance, mentioning the reviews at all seems superfluous.

  • Julien says:

    It would be fair to delete immediately poor reviews.

  • Norman says:

    Should read:

    Poss, age irrelevant, recently received mainly positive reviews in London for The Merry Widow at ENO

  • Mick the Knife says:

    I’ve played for a number of women conductors and my opinion hasn’t changed looking at pictures of the current crop; most of them just look funny conducting, funny faces and awkward gestures.

    • Larry W says:

      That description could apply to most conductors, regardless of gender, age, race, nationality, musicality, or morality.

  • Guy Van Waas says:

    I still don’t like conductors in more than one orchestra as a chief conductor. One conductor is one orchestra sound… But not in a few weeks a year! Money…