Gergiev instals Japanese baton in Vladivostok

Gergiev instals Japanese baton in Vladivostok


norman lebrecht

September 15, 2019

Mariinsky Empire bulletin:

The Japanese conductor Shizuo Kuwahara has been appointed principal guest conductor of the Mariinsky Theater Primorsky Stage (in Vladivostok).

He will perform twice in October – Macbeth (October 16) and La Traviata (October 19). On October 25, the maestro will present a symphony program with the Mariinsky Theater Primorsky Stage Orchestra.

On the day of his appointment, Kuwahara failed to make the final round of the Almaty conducting competition in Kazahkstan.


  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    Mariinsky seems to be a gigantic organisation. It is understandable, but not laudable, why Gergiev remains royal to Putin. I wonder in the future, under a more democratic system, whether these institutions will still retain their current subsidies. In the West all we get is cutbacks.

  • MacroV says:

    So Norman seems to have two issues here, and they can looked at in isolation: 1) The big Maryinsky/Gergiev/Putin empire is expanding in Vladivostok; and 2) this new principal guest conductor they appointed must not be very good since he just got eliminated from a conducting competition – in Almaty?

    On #1 – I like to dislike Putin and Gergiev – because of his Putin toadyism – as much as Norman. But the Maryinsky is a big company that produces a lot of opera and ballet, and there are compelling economies-of-scale arguments to share those offerings in other houses – in this case in a franchise operation in Vladivostok (though it’s at least 7 time zones from St. Pete, which isn’t that conveniently located; might as well have one in New York).

    On #2 – How good are competitions for identifying talented conductors? We’ll see how he turns out. The business usually manages to weed out the ones who don’t belong (and probably a few who do).

  • May says:

    Is he American or Japanese? His family moved to the US when he was ten and he took US citizenship. Anyhow, it seems strange to appoint a conductor who doesn’t speak Russian.

  • Greg Tiwidichitch says:

    We all know that winning or even placing in a competition really can have no bearing on the conductor. Evaluating a conductor is part objective but part subjective. Simon Rattle auditioned for Tanglewood and was rejected. How many other Rattles are there out there don’t get the chance for some reason? So, Almaty for Kuwahara might mean nothing at all.