Maestro move: Finn’s had enough

Hannu Lintu has told the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra that he will step down at chief conductor in the Spring of 2021, after eight years in the post.

‘The years with the FRSO have been musically rewarding, he said. ‘We have got to know one another extremely well, and this can be heard at every concert. We still have a lot on in the next two seasons: recordings, tours, and above all work to achieve more and more musical milestones. But then it will be time to move on. Renewal is one of the basic conditions for any artist and arts organisation.’

Not a time-server, then.

Next season, Lintu will conduct the Detroit, Chicago, Boston and Montreal Symphony orchestras, and in Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo.

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  • A sound decision by an interesting musician. Getting the balance between keeping things fresh and knowing your orchestra well enough to create really well-honed performances is a difficult one. We can all think of Music Directors whose tenures have been embarrassingly short (potentially for both the conductor and/or the orchestra) and those that have been far too long. It is very rare to find a conductor who can still produce excellent musical offerings having been in post beyond 10 years, these days. Perhaps pragmatism rules.

  • I’ve heard Hannu Lintu live in concert twice, and he impresses me like few other conductors I’ve heard. His performance of Bruckner 5 in Iceland with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in 2016 was COSMIC and literally one of the three greatest concerts I’ve heard in my entire life. How they came together to produce BY FAR the greatest performance of that incredible work is something I’ll never understand, but it was sheer magic and utterly transporting. That’s arguably one of the hardest, if not the most difficult, of the Bruckner symphonies to pull off, and Hannu Lintu put to shame every other conductor/orchestra I’ve heard play the work (and I’ve heard 5-6 live performances over the years). Then his concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra this past fall was similarly wonderful.

    Hannu Lintu is the real deal and deserves to be playing with world-class orchestras and musicians. I can’t wait to hear him back in Boston next season.

  • According to today’s interviews with local papers, Lintu has another appointment in sight but not public yet. Leading guesses are the Finnish National Opera (he’s been a regular visitor, having done a splendid Tristan and Wozzeck in recent seasons, seems to enjoy the pit and the FNO lacks a chief conductor at the moment) or one of the North American orchestras he’s frequented in recent years.

  • As for the next chief conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, my personal guess is Dima Slobodeniouk, whose contract in Lahti happens to end in 2021 and who’s been a regular visitor at the FRSO, up to having also recorded contemporary works with them.

  • Concertgebouworkest is looking for a new guy/lady. Lintu would be a fantastic and adventurous choice. His concerts are inspirational and exemplary to most of European podia. Check out his latest recodings of BA Zimmermann and Bartok

  • It was officially announced that Lintu will be moving to the Finnish National Opera as its next Chief Conductor, starting January 2022. Not a surprise move considering his recent interest in opera – even at the FRSO, he’s conducted a concert version or two per season and has been a regular sight in the pit. Considering Lintu’s chops in postwar music, it’d be interesting to see e.g. Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten (he’s conducted and recorded the “Vocal Symphony”) staged.

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