Heavy maestros? Leipzig needs to replace podium

Heavy maestros? Leipzig needs to replace podium


norman lebrecht

May 17, 2019

The Gewandhaus is about to spend 5.3 million euros on replacing a podium that is less than 4o years old.

Apparently, they can no longer get spare parts now that DDR engineering has been overtaken by western technology.

The new podium will be movable, accessible, gender-neutral and all those things.


  • anon says:

    1) Podiums are getting more wear and tear from the presence of more women conductors wearing heels that dig into the wood.

    Not to be sexist, men conductors are of course invited to wear heels as well.

    2) Podiums also need to be elevatable so as not to discriminate against vertically challenged conductors, who are also welcome to wear heels.

    3) A strong, adjustable rear rail guard is also needed so that conductors who imitate Kleiber can rest their hand on it comfortably and firmly while conducting with the other hand with sweeping gestures.

    4) As maestros age into their 80s, steps can be a health hazard, so podiums must be equipped with a seated elevating platform to bring them up and down from the podium.

    5) As conductors are wont to address the audience more and more, an automatic rotating turntable would facilitatethat need (and to take bows of course).

    6) Increasingly, conductors are walking toward musicians to indicate solo bows and shaking their hands and hugging them for a concert well played (Sir Simon), a mobile podium will eliminate the need to perambulate to various parts of the orchestra.

    7) Finally, in an egalitarian democratic state, no man should be elevated above any other man, so the entire stage on which the orchestra sits shall be raised to the same level of whatever height the podium is at.

    • Kristof says:

      You somehow made that 5.3 million seem much more palatable…

    • msc says:

      They should also be solar powered, necessitating redesign of their halls to allow them enough light to charge.

    • John Borstlap says:


    • Mkay says:

      I’ve had plenty of female conductors and not one has worn heels. What an odd thing to write. Blame men for inventing them in the first place. It’s fat white men who are causing the problems. Speaking of sexism (you clearly are sexist) I’ve had countless of white male professors who were mediocre. Awful. They got the job because they were white and male. Also, they were incredibly boring and insecure. So if a woman or a minority comes along and offers a fresh take on life, bring it. White males have been dominating the world for far too long and are not doing a good job. Besides why do so many dudes want to look at others dudes all the time. The boys club attitude. Are more of you gay than you let on?

      • John Borstlap says:

        I always wholeheartedly disliked white males. Alas there’re so many of them, esp. in the West. But all white achievements have been possible through suppression of non-while males and females. Cathedrals? Science? Philosophy? Classical music, rockets to the moon? All stolen from suppressed peoples. Alas I’m quite white but I try to tan regularly to reduce my collective guilt.


        • Patricia Yeiser says:

          Actually, and without my tongue planted firmly in my cheek, I am quite fond of white male conductors – and spare me the ‘suppressed peoples’ argument, even in jest. There are too many people who would take that seriously.

      • Patricia Yeiser says:

        Men and women are wired differently. It seems that men are more suitably wired for conducting. There are exceptions, but Emmanuelle Haim often conducts from the harpsichord. So she doesn’t worry about the podium.And Monica Huggett conducts from the violin. They are part of the ensembles they lead, not standing above and apart from them. It makes a difference in many ways..

  • fflambeau says:

    My doctor once told me that too much bier und Schweinshaxe is bad for your podium.

  • Alexander Tarak says:

    5.3 million euros !!!!!!!!!!!! Is it gold plated?

  • Tamino says:

    The picture is Zürich, right? Is it what comes up when you search for ‘Million Euros podium’ in your picture database?

  • 5.3 million. Give me some 2 x 8s and a good sheet of plywood, and I can make it for a great deal less. AND, I’ll throw in the carpet and a rail gratis.

    • Kelly says:

      Sorry, it’s already been done. Union stage crews in the US build podiums very quickly and efficiently that all the greatest touring conductors in the world are completely satisfied with. Same as all their resident Music Directors. These podiums also compliment their respective halls aesthetically. Not only are these podiums “moveable, accessible, and gender neutral”, they are also adjustable between 8″ one-step and 16″ two step. Imagine that? Oh, of course a nice shiny rail included.. duh. This article is nuts. Then again, you wouldn’t believe how many people refer to conductor stands as podiums, or people who believe failed business men can be good Presidents, so just about anything can be confused or anything can be sold.

      • Patricia Yeiser says:

        What on earth is a ‘gender neutral’ (horrible term) podium? In period performance, the ‘conductor’ was the harpsichordist or first- violin and they played from their instrument. I never heard anyone complain about a gender-neutral harpsichord or violin. Which is one reason I prefer the earlier music performances.

  • John Borstlap says:

    I try to picture what a gender-neutral podium would look like.

    It seems to me that the real reason that the existing podium no longer satisfies, is too much heavy music being played.

    • Patricia Yeiser says:

      Or conductors of both sexes who eat too much, too often and take no exercise. And who bound around the podium as if they had some uncontrollable twitch. I never liked to watch that kind of conducting.

  • fierywoman says:

    Did Gelmetti conduct there lot?

  • Jaime Herrera says:

    My dad can do it for 500 quid and give a 3-year guarantee at no extra charge.

  • Nick says:

    The comments here: Unbelievable politically correct BS! Hopefully, some are ironic! The most brilliant is “Anon”

  • nimitta says:

    Hmmm…didn’t anyone else notice that the headline is unrelated to the actual story, whose punchline is the massive cost? After all, they’re not just replacing the podium, but actually renovating the stage.

    Norman Lebrecht, methinks you were throwing shade on the LGO’s gifted maestro, Andris Nelsons, who has thickened considerably round the middle in the last couple of years.