Mirga drops Philly

Mirga drops Philly


norman lebrecht

August 06, 2019

The Philadelphia Orchestra has issued a press release of changes to the coming season. It gets quite excited about the unscheduled return of Fabio Luisi, ‘a beloved collaborator with the Orchestra’.

Somehow, it fails to mention that he is replacing the hot ticket Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, probably the most sought after new-gen conductor.

Mirga, 33, has cancelled all guest conducting engagements for two years in order to give more time to her baby.

Philadelphia can wait.



  • Howaboutit says:

    Let’s just hope she does not return and that all these crazy-moving conductress are replaced by a better generation of female conductors.

    • Chris says:

      Have you first hand experience of Mirga’s work?

      • Musician says:

        Yes and it was mundane: Flashy, fast and very together. Seems to be all that promoters need – oh and female.

        • Herr Doktor says:

          Let’s not forget that the great performances that we so often cherish come from great conductors in their 60s and 70s, not in their 20, 30s and 40s.

        • Orchestra musician says:

          Very together? I would love to work with a conductor who had that skill… Most of them just tear things apart and get in the way.

          • musician says:

            Dear Orchestra musician, most top orchestras can and should play together without a conductor. Surely you have higher demands from a conductor than playing together? Been to a concert of Fischer, Blomstedt, Jansons, Petrenko, Chailly, Pappano lately? conductors that create as much fuss as Mirga should create as much magic on stage as the above mentioned…

          • Orchestra musician says:

            Dear musician:
            My perspective is not as a concertgoer, but rather as someone who performs onstage with most of the conductors you list. One of them was music director when I got a “top orchestra” job. I will say that Chailly was fantastic as a guest, and there are a handful of conductors out there with something to offer. Unfortunately, they are few and far between. “Top orchestra” musicians generally work with conductors who don’t deserve to stand in front of them. Sorry, but it’s true. I haven’t worked with Mirga, but most conductors are not “great artists,” they’re just the ones with an ego that makes them think they should be in charge.

        • Chris says:

          And was your ‘mundane’ experience as a performer, an audience member, or merely as an ‘online’ observer?

      • Zelda Macnamara says:

        I recently saw her conducting in Birmingham and was pleasantly surprised. She was in control, calm, not at all flashy, and her feet didn’t leave the podium once. I’m hoping she has finally abandoned the frantic leaping around. In my view, a conductor’s behaviour shouldn’t ever distract from the music, and hers did.

    • Jack says:

      Says volumes about you.

  • AngloGerman says:

    Good riddance. Luisi is great!

  • Sehr Innig says:

    I only see the “before” photo. Did she karate chop the stand in half?

    • Novagerio says:

      I have seen female children-choir conductors back stage in theaters conduct with better technique…
      but hey, as NL says, she’s a “ticket” (!)…

      • Caleb says:

        Well there is a big difference between actually being a hardcore classical musician and just watching and mingling, kinda like being a sports fan.

  • V.Lind says:

    Didn’t she cancel her guest appearances a long time ago? That kid must be well over a year old by now. Seems that while Philly makes a timely announcement of the coming season’s guest artists, they have known of it for a long time and prepared accordingly. This story makes it sound sudden and scrambling seems unlikely.

    • Ross Amico says:

      Yes, it was covered here before, sometime ago. Slow news day.

    • Chris says:

      According to ‘Derek’ (below), the child was born around November/December 2018, making its age about 8 or 9 months (‘…well over a year old…..?) Actually born on August 26 2018, (Wikipedia) so not quite a year old.

      • Pedro says:

        the child was born between Bernstein and Böhm’s birthdays. Not bad.

      • Derek says:


        SD reported the NY Phil cancellation in December 2018.

        As you stated her baby was born in August but Mirga returned from maternity leave in November and I guess that a decision was taken then.

    • Hal Sacks says:

      Is Audrey Saint Gil available?

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      “That kid”? Such an endearing and warm way to refer to a baby.

  • 8VA says:

    “What’s a contract these days?”

  • Derek says:

    SD tells us –

    December 2018 – Mirga cancels NY Phil following birth of her baby

    March 2019 – Mirga will not guest conduct for 2 years to devote time to her baby

    May 2019 – Mirga cancels Covent Garden debut after her decision not to guest conduct for 2 years for her baby.

    Today – Mirga has cancelled guest conducting for 2 years to care for her baby.

    Too much is never enough.

    Sorry Norman, I couldn’t resist!

  • John Kelly says:

    Good news on Mr Luisi coming to Philly. I miss him at the Met and will be on that train at Penn Station!

    • FS60103 says:

      But you’re not meant to actually listen to her full-length performances! You’re meant to watch an ancient 3-minute Youtube clip, make a dismissive comment about her not being exactly [insert overpraised dead conductor] and then, having established your superior critical credentials, really get down to the misogyny. You’ll find lots of agreement from people who’ve never heard her performing live, but who once saw a picture of her with her hair flying about, didn’t like it, and inferred the rest from that.

  • Barry says:

    She’ll be back. Regardless, I’m very happy Luisi is returning after a season or two away from Philly and will be buying a ticket to see that program. After the story on Fabio giving up one of his posts that came out recently, my immediate thought was that I hope he’ll have more time to guest conduct.

  • Rob says:

    What happened to the Philadelphia sound, probably last heard in the sliding strings at the opening of this performance of In the South under Muti……


    • Edgar says:

      What happened to the Philadelphia sound? You must have missed the tenure of Wolfgang Sawallisch, who restored it to its sheen after the Muti years…

    • Kolb Slaw says:

      Muti slaughtered the Philadelphia Sound and it has never fully returned. The history is lost. You can best hear it with the orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music.

  • topolissimo says:

    maybe Mirga can also wait to gain some maturity

  • Kolb Slaw says:

    Another reason men should do most of the conducting. Along with their (hopefully) less-distracting hair.

  • Robin Mirchell-Boyask says:

    Luisi is the ONLY regular guest conductor who can get the orchestra’s real sound (and I include Jurowski there, and he is fantastic). Indeed, the Philadelphia sound he commands is far richer than Yannick’s; he gets the Sawallisch sound. YNS has many virtues, but he needs a counterpart who balances him (less perky and fast fast fast all the time). Luisi should be the principal guest conductor in Philadelphia.

    • chris says:

      Jurowski, Hrusa, Langree, and Luisi have all given great performances with the orchestra, but YNS consistently pulls out the most dynamic sound.

  • chris says:

    I found her interpretation mannered in some performances (e.g. proms beethoven 5 and met orchestra tchaikovsky 4 except for an interesting 3rd movement), but her Weinberg recording reflects very positively on her artistic abilities.

  • Karl says:

    This is why women miss out on a lot of prestigious jobs – everyone knows they will take lots of time of to raise children.