Vienna Phil beg a favour from flute they fired

Vienna Phil beg a favour from flute they fired


norman lebrecht

August 30, 2019

We hear that the orchestra has implored the Italian principal flute Silvia Careddu, who was controversially refused tenure in January, to continue playing on its visits to London and Lucerne, even though her contract expires this weekend.

It appears Silvia’s replacement, a Frenchman from Hamburg, is not yet availaable.

She has generously consented to continue playing next month with the people who voted her down.



  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    Very classy lady. Not sure I would have done the same.

    • Enquiring Mind says:

      what if it was that or unemployment? would you get some class?

    • Dave T says:

      This woman has no pride. If she had any she would have told the Viennese where they can stick their flute. To allow herself to be humiliated like this is a sign of lack of self-respect. And all for just a few extra euros…

      • Nepomucena says:

        Dear Mr Dave T,

        evidently you don’t know the strong personality of Mrs. Careddu, otherwise you would not dare to declare these nonsense!
        The only reason that pushes the talented Careddu to continue playing for these last productions is the presence of the supreme Maestro Haitink! The quality of her performances is the spring that pushes her to say yes and certainly not the four pennies she will receive as cachet…

      • Riccardo Ghiani says:

        Dear Dave T,
        I have rarely read such an inappropriate and wrong comment. It is absolutely evident that you don’t know Silvia at all, or, if you know her, your comment is spoiled by incompetence or presumption. Silvia is a fantastic musician and flute player, she brought a beautiful light in that orchestra of plaster mummies. After 17 months she was voted by a little jury: 26 persons. She got 17 points instead of 18 so she missed the 2/3 points for less than a vote.
        I can understand that somebody with a huge self consideration (self respect?) like you would have preferred to refuse the opportunity to share music with a great conductor as Haitink at the end of his career. But Silvia has a huge respect for music and she loves to share the stage with great artists in beautiful events like London Proms or Luzern Festival.
        The fact that the Wiener asked her to join them for these important concerts is actually the further demonstration that something very strange (not based on musical reasons) happened for her vote.
        Silvia has behaved with her usual class rising above the pettiness of the orchestra and of your comment. She has all my admiration.
        Finally I’ll pretend I haven’t read the last sentence of your comment…

  • Pedro says:

    She was playing this morning in the Haitink first concert in Salzburg. Very well. The concert was exceptional even by Haitink’s standards. The VPO played as if their lives depended on it. My wife and I will be back tomorrow.

  • Rogerio Wolf says:

    Sílvia is one of the best and nicest flute players I know.
    I really can’t understand, based on what, the VPO made this unacceptable decision to fire her.
    She deserves a better place.

    • Amos says:

      She started out with the proverbial 2 strikes against her being both the wrong gender and nationality. In a sign of the times at least no one in the orchestra administration offered that she is superb but not in the Viennese way.

    • axl says:

      There is one potential opinion to Silvia: In next few years Philippe Boucly – principal in Bayerischen Rundfunk are retiring, because he’s almost in retirement age, so Silvia would be possibly take his place in one of Europe’s top5 orchestas

    • Pamela Brown says:

      I agree. They don’t deserve her.

  • Karl says:

    She should have done a “Mark Wahlberg” and demanded LOTS of money. She has a very strong negotiating position.

  • Bill says:

    One man’s imploring may be another’s doing someone a favor (which helps both parties). I’m sure the opportunity to play with Haitink in a few more of his final performances would be attractive to most fine musicians!

    • Bone says:

      This is the correct take: not a chance to play with traitorous colleagues, but instead the opportunity to share the stage with a retiring maestro.

  • luthier says:

    Perhaps she is too nice, and that is why they didn’t want her. It is a shame that they didn’t offer her the position, and I agree whith the above comment: Not sure I would have done that for them, or if I did, I’d be getting something very extra in my paycheck.

  • Ljubisa says:

    Silvia is an extraordinary flutist and human being!
    Her decision is natural, warm and inscluding her standards in communications !
    Bravo Silvia, once again!
    Good luck in new artistic chalenges!

  • Artur Pizarro says:

    Thinking that Silvia Careddu is doing this for any other reason than professionalism and pure class is not knowing her. My respect goes to her for rising above orchestral politics and being the great artist and person/colleague that she is.

  • Kevin says:

    I hope that her graciousness will earn her extra notice, and blow some lucrative work her way. This beautiful, talented musician certainly deserves it. She has risen above her dismssers most elegantly.

  • MacroV says:

    Even if she is really embittered about it, IIRC she got a majority favorable vote, but not the two -thirds (?) required, so at least half the orchestra was for her.

  • Gunther says:

    It’s sad that she was kicked out while a really bad one remained for decades. What can I say? Typical VPO blindness based on nationalism and stylistic tendencies!

    Wolfgang Schulz (RIP) was the principal flutist of the VPO for decades and many of his students also won positions in the orchestra. VonKarajan once called him a “genius.” I think he meant that Schulz was a genius serving as a piece of the puzzle and most likely never heard him play in recital. It would be pretty difficult to listen to Schulz attempt to play even one phrase after listening to a true legend play. But political situations allow such people to thrive. First-time listeners sometimes do not react honestly to such people’s playing as they fall under the spell of “Well if he/she has this position then it must mean that they are world-class.”

    If Schulz had ever taken auditions for regional orchestras behind a screen (assuming that they were totally legit), he would have never ended up anywhere because one simply cannot outplay hundreds of other candidates when they are only mediocre on their best days. Faking one’s way through a New Year’s Concert a few dozen times using Viennese gimmicks to make kimono wearing audience members smile doesn’t make someone a great artist.

    • Not agreeing to Gunther says:

      So apparently Gunther knows better than Karajan!!! Thank You dear Gunther for Your amazing wisedom and disrespecting one of the most loved Austrian flutists of all times. Being a superb soloist is one thing, the other thing is to be a superb orchestra musician. There is quite obviously a great reason behind Mr. Karajan calling him a genius. If You understand it or not, doesn’t matter, but please, let the legend rest in peace. If You like his music or not, that’s Your piece of cake. But calling him a “really bad one” is incredibly disrespectful, as he always tried to be and was a great musician.

    • Calvi Bay says:

      Whether what you write is in any way accurate or not, is irrelevant, as it is in terrible taste.

    • Bviolinistic says:

      I am afraid as a long time member of the orchestra that I have no idea what you are talking about. Schulz was an excellent flautist and a truly phenomenal orchestral musician. I miss him very much indeed.

    • Ridiculous.

      Wolfgang Schulz was a legend among flutists.

      A screen? His glorious tone would be recognized by any able, knowledgeable musician. A unique talent and glorious flutist.

      His Mozart 2 with the VPO and Abbado in Toronto years ago is still admired.

      He ain’t no slouch in recitals, either.

      HvK 1
      ‘Gunther’ 0

  • Dave T says:

    It would be a terrible inconvenience for the orchestra if she, an hour prior to curtain, were to suddenly come down with a cold.

  • Silvia D'Addona says:

    tantissima ammirazione per Silvia Careddu, una vera signora. una grandissima musicista che avrebbero dovuto tenersi stretta. poco serio il comportamento dell’orchestra…

  • Hans says:

    Indeed, the decision to not accept her as a regular member of the VPO was unforgivable. I talked to some members I know and some executives of the orchestra and they don’t understand it either. It seems it was a small clique of players who because of the orchestra’s internal rules got the upper hand. To continue plying is very gracious of her. Respect!

  • Edgar Self says:

    Artur Pizarro! Scriabin mazurkas!! Great to see your post and good opinion.

  • Gerry McDonald says:

    Robert Dick’s report of the Geneva competition when she won first prize (available online) makes interesting reading. She was obviously approved of by Dick himself, Pahud, Zoller and Debost, to name only some of the jury!