Maestro move (2): Finns vote for a busy Brit

Maestro move (2): Finns vote for a busy Brit


norman lebrecht

May 02, 2019

Members of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra have elected Nicholas Collon to be their next Chief Conductor. He will succeed Hannu Lintu in two years’ time.

Collon, 36, is founder and principal conductor of the Aurora Orchestra, Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Residentie Orkest in The Hague, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Guerzenich Orchester in Cologne.

Now you see him, now you don’t.


  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    Hannu Lintu is a hard act to follow. This Brit must be quite accomplished to succeed him.

  • Stephen Maddock says:

    And the first non-Finn to get the job since the orchestra’s foundation in 1927. Bravo Nick!

    • norman lebrecht says:

      I’m not sure many non-Finns ever stood in line in the snow to conduct a Finnish-speaking orchestra with little international profile. But I could be wrong.

      • fflambeau says:

        Sure it’s cold there but so are Boston, NYC, Seoul and Minneapolis. Finland is seen by many as a very stable, very rational country with lots to offer. Notice how many Scandinavians are now leading orchestras worldwide? They usually started at home.

        The British Maestro does have a fairly thin record but he must be accomplished. If he does well, he’ll move on. Give him a chance.

      • MacroV says:

        I’m sure they’ll be fine working in English. They speak it better than most of us Americans.

      • Eeva says:

        Dear Mr. Lebrecht, as a Finnish classical music lover I find your comment rather offensive. You obviously think that Finland is a snowbound miserable spot in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in Siberia… And that no-one here speaks any other language than Finnish. And our orchestras are just pitiful little bands ” with little international profile”. How sad for us that we didn’t realize this earlier! I started English lessons at school when I was eight years old in the 1960s, as did all the other children in my school and in every other school in this country. So I very much doubt that the Finnish RSO is a “Finnish-speaking” orchestra. But I could be wrong of course. Good luck with the brexit, Finland stays in Europe.

      • Edward says:

        At least when Paavo Berglund quitted as the chief conductor of the Finnish RSO in 1971, his next post was in Bournemouth 1972-79. (I guess those were pretty good years for the orchestra – at least in terms of recordings.)

        In addition to Oramo, Segerstam and Saraste, conductors at the Finnish RSO have also included Georg Schnéevoigt (chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic 1905-08, Oslo Philharmonic 1919-27, and Los Angeles Philharmonic 1927-29 – among others), and also one Jewish conductor: Simon Parmet (Pergament; 1948-51).

        According to my knowledge both Schnéevoigt and Parmet did not have strong skills in Finnish. But I could be wrong.

  • Android2000 says:

    An impossible baton to follow. This chap is an awful conductor. Our orchestra engaged him once and we (the musicians) said ‘never again’.

  • Andreas C. says:

    The orchestra has commented that after Collon’s visit 2017, the orchestra’s reaction was so overwhelmingly positive that they wanted to immediately engage him as principal guest conductor, but that wasn’t possible at the time. They have also openly expressed that with the orchestra having rapidly internationalized in the recent past, they felt it was time for a chief conductor who’s been educated outside Helsinki and its rather tightly knit musical circles.

  • MSC says:

    I have no inside information about his behaviour off the podium or in rehearsal, but I have been impressed overall by what I have heard of him on BBC broadcasts. His Mozart was excellent, a rare thing in the case of younger conductors.

  • Eeva says:

    Just for fun I checked how our Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra “with little international profile” ( as Mr. Lebrecht says) has been doing recently in the British classical music magazines. The orchestra’s recent recordings of Sibelius (2017), Bartok (2018) and Lutoslawski (2018) have got quite positive reviews. Of the Sibelius disc with Anne Sofie von Otter the Gramophone magazine said that it is ” one of the most striking Sibelius discs for years”. The Bartok recording with Christian Tetzlaff was Gramophone’s recording of the month in May 2018, got the Gramophone Award 2018 in the concerto category and was a finalist in the concerto category for the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Awards. The Lutoslawski recording which came out in late 2018 was BBC Music Magazine’s Recording of the month in February 2019.
    So although Mr. Lebrecht obviously thinks that the Finnish RSO is some sort of provincial orchestra in the middle of ice and snow, at least the British classical music magazines seem to think that the orchestra is worth mentioning!

  • Novagerio says:

    Eeva: “Mr.Trash-bin-vulture” Lebrecht told a finnish conductor we all know, that he hates going to concerts…
    his “celebrity” is exclusively based on backstage gossip and badmouthing the “Scena Musicale” ( = The name of another of his infamous webpages), and with legions of informers (!) – He’s the eurotrash version of the US-based “La Cieca”!!