Mirga refuses to guest conduct for next 2 years

Mirga refuses to guest conduct for next 2 years


norman lebrecht

March 24, 2019

The Birmingham music director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla has given her first interview about juggling life as an in-demand conductor with having a small baby who needs her.

She tells Fiona Maddocks in the Observer today that she has cancelled the next two years’ worth of guest conducting:

“Coming back so quickly was harder than I had anticipated. It was all a very sharp learning curve, and of course continues to be. It’s a new situation of dividing your concentration, finding the balance. In this growing emancipation there’s been an emphasis on women proving they could go on exactly as before. I think now we are entering another period. We have to admit that everything changes: mind, body, life. Of course you can do many things you could before but it’s a huge change, and it’s dishonest to pretend otherwise.”

Her players have grown accustomed to seeing the baby at the back of the hall in rehearsals, reportedly an acute and dedicated listener already, tended variously by Mirga’s partner, parents, younger siblings, a nanny. “He’s never far from me! There is an expression: ‘until the kid grows up you need a full farm’. In modern society, living in big cities, we don’t have big families nearby in many cases. I am lucky to have all this different support but it will take some working out….”


Read on here.


  • Barry says:

    I guess Philly is down to five female guest conductors next season unless they replace her with another one.

    • Luigi Nonono says:

      Oh, they can just pick any girl up off the street at these standards. Outside the Curtis Institute, anyway.

  • Mick the Knife says:

    Picture Szell, Toscanini, Bernstein, Boulez…Mirga. The times they are a changin’.

  • Rgiarola says:

    The risk about this matter is to say anything besides good wishes, even if takes a chance to be the truth. Queen Victory’s era wasn’t hard because this or that specific freedom was restrained, but due the fact anyone against the imposed opnion should be punished. As much as someone saying now Mirga is just Hype, as much as said the same in 2009 about Dudamel “Messiah”. The results is just a show up, of thumbs downs and “argumentun ad hominem”. Until 10, 20 yrs or more of history came, and bulshit marketing cannot just keep then so pop.

  • Alexander Tarak says:

    Yet another ridiculously overhyped conductor.

    • J says:

      You should go along and see her – she is spectacular and is doing so much in Birmingham with the orchestra, schools and community

      • Rgiarola says:

        Everytime Edward Gardner is in town results are clearly much better, but there isn’t half fussy/hype about him in any place compared to her. I’m just given one name that also recorded a very fine Schubert with the mentioned orchestra recently.

      • Ben says:

        Funny you said “see her” instead of “hear her”.

    • Chris says:

      Have you been to any of her concerts in Birmingham?

  • RW2013 says:

    So the baby is a blessing in more ways than one.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    What an incredible young woman; so much to admire, especially her dedication to the young life she must now nurture.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Kudos to her as a mother. I can imagine that with good time management she could also have more time to learn music, so it could be also benefit her development as a musician.

  • Spenser says:

    I read the article:
    Mirga, you’re brilliant!
    Perhaps your striving (and successful striving, as I understand from the article) to balance your personal and professional lives can stand as an example to others, both male and female.
    I am imagining the sheer wonderfulness of your son at such a young age, sitting in the hall hearing and watching his mother conduct beautiful classical music!
    All compliments and best wishes to you, lovely Mirga!

  • barry guerrero says:

    She seems very sensible to me.

  • RW2013 says:

    What is the musician watching the Maestra thinking?
    Upbeat? downbeat? crescendo? or just WTF?

    • Richard says:

      Your comment reminds me of the old ‘spot the ball’ competitions that newspapers used to run. Photo of a player, often in a somewhat bizarre stance, with the ball edited out of the picture.
      But I don’t suppose readers ever seriously wondered ‘What must the other players have been thinking? Kicking? Heading? Or just wtf?’ Because they would have known that with the ball there, and with the opportunity to understand a person’s position by tracking its changes through time (i.e. watching somebody move), it would have made perfectly good sense.
      Just substitute ‘music’ for ‘ball’ and I suggest you have your answer.

    • Chris says:

      I would imagine that the player is waiting for what happened in rehearsal. (The CBSO and Mirga DO rehearse you know!!)

    • Luigi Nonono says:

      More like, duck, she’s about to lose control of the baton. Funny thing is, you can’t call a female conductor an incompetent boob. Can you?

  • Luigi Nonono says:

    Motherhood is more important, so just step down. Your baby needs you more than any orchestra does. I have never seen any conductor in such a ridiculous pose with hair about to fly around. Except maybe ridiculous Simon Rattle. Fruhbeck de Burgos and Abbaddo were the last of the great maestros.

    • Jaime Herrera says:

      Yes, unfortunately, for most conductors, the job is just a show or a way to make a living. The music is not all that important – after all, they are simply recreating something that has been done a thousand times before. I don’t know anything about Mirga Grazinyte but, judging from various comments, she is similar to Alondra De La Parra, only prettier? Success often depends on who your clients are and not much more.