Sicklist: Janine Jansen misses season opener

Sicklist: Janine Jansen misses season opener


norman lebrecht

September 12, 2019

The outstandingly accomplished but latterly frail Dutch violinist has cancelled the Concertgebouw’s curtain-raiser:

Press statement: On the Concertgebouworkest’s Opening Night on Friday, 13 September, violinist Simone Lamsma will be standing in for Janine Jansen, who has expressed her regret at having to cancel. Illness makes it impossible for her to travel.



  • Andy says:

    Simone Lamsma is terrific, she will make a fine replacement.

  • Ys says:

    I wonder whether Janine J is sick so often. I do hope it is not something severe like an auto immune illness like MS or so. Recover soon, JJ

  • Edgar Self says:

    When FM radio played a recording of Beethoven’s concerto by Janine Jansen, I liked it so much that my thoughts went back to Bronislaw Hubermann and George Szell/VPO, with whom it had certain points of similarity. I think the conductor was Kurt Masur.

    There are some very interesting reviews of her recent performances of Britten’s concerto on the internet. May she be well soon. She has joined the faculty of a Swiss conservatory.

  • Kun says:

    I do hope janine, and other outstanding musicians take a sabbatical once in a while simply to recharge from the 100 per year circus run. Better on their own terms, than an injury a la maxim…

  • Jennifer says:

    Is she really too ill to travel? She is in Luxembourg rehearsing Tchaikovsky today and will go on tour with them to South America next week. I applaud her though for choosing wisely not to work with a lesser musician than herself, am not surprised by the move.

    • RW2013 says:

      “I applaud her though for choosing wisely not to work with a lesser musician than herself”
      Jennifer, you write what many of us also spontaneously thought…

    • Melisande says:

      Is it an assumption did Miss Jansen told you that personally? If she did, you should have kept this to yourself and if it is your assumption it is a nasty remark. And by the way: the conductor Franz Welser-Möst had to cancel and is being replaced by the young Elim Chan from Hongkong.
      Good luck to Simone Lamsma, the RCO and the conductor.

      • M2N2K says:

        With all due respect to Elim Chan, she is still a lesser musician than JJ is, and therefore the “assumption” may in fact be correct.

    • Lisa says:

      So, should you maybe admit that your message above was a complete lie, as Janine wasn’t in Lyxembourg on that morning (which was btw the morning she was planned to rehearse with the Concertebouworkest)? I’m sure you heard that she had to cancel Luxembourg, incl. South-America tour, as well. I’m so freaking tired of all these people who think they know everything even when they’re not involved, and who like to make all these nonsense assumptions.

  • Sophie Langdon says:

    I would never refer to JJ as “frail” – she is one of the most gutsy players and musicians – once, when listening on the radio to a Tchaikovsky performance (and not knowing who was the soloist) I was riveted and could not turn it off as it was so spontaneous and inventive. All power to Janine Jansen, and I agree with other comments here – take a break once in a while, be a human being!

  • Rhonda says:

    Dear Norman, Personally, I would appreciate it if you would refrain from posting negative publicity about Janine. She is a family friend and you don’t know the inside workings of the Concertgebouw and how poorly they pay top soloists. In your article you make Janine, whom I know since she was 14 years old, out to be the bogeyman. I don’t appreciate this, the same as her fans, I’m sure. I’d like to ask you to remove the post and do a little more research. I can send you the article in the Dutch paper about the soloist’s salaries. Kindly, Rhonda B.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Dear Rhonda
      You are confusing two issues. Everyone knows the C’bouw pays badly; that’s a given. But Janine accepted the engagement, then cancelled. She has a trail of recent cancellations. Nobody is blaming her. I wish her a swift recovery. We just report the facts. best, Norman

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Does the C’bouw pay worse than the London orchestras? Or is the poor pay only in relationship to the top US orchestras?

    • Bill says:

      Don’t need to know “the inside workings” as this is a universal truth: if the offer is insufficient after weighing all the considerations (financial and otherwise), don’t accept it. She’s a well-seasoned artist who cannot possibly be unaware of what they pay. If she wants to back out over the pay, the time to do so is before signing the contract.

      I do not personally believe she is doing so, but defending her by making this argument does her no favors.

      • Rgiarola says:

        On the other hand Bill! It’s makes her look like totally unprofessional, something I don”t think she is at all.
        If payment isn’t good, just say no to all invitations.

  • X.Y. says:

    I happen to know that JJ was seriously ill and still unable to travel until 15.9. because we had to help her to find an emergency physician. The suspicions that she cancelled because of pay or insufficient fame of the conductor are unfair and disgusting.

    • Bill says:

      They may well be unfair, and for the record, I am skeptical that she chose to cancel because of poor pay or a belief that the substitute conductor was not of sufficient stature. However, the outward appearance is no different to the casual or cynical observer, because we do not see anything different between the two possibilities that would establish which one it is. If there was a news item saying that she was rescheduling the RCO date, then it would be easy to discard any thought it might be over pay, for example. Sometimes, honest actions look no better than dishonest ones, and if your life takes place in the public eye, you need to accept that.

      • Tom says:

        This was the opening concert of the new season, the sole black-tie event of the whole year and also attended by the Queen of the Netherlands as patron of the Orchestra.
        Not an event a serious and honest artist like Janine Jansen would cancel other than for serious and honest reasons. On top, this was in front of her home crowd and with an orchestra she has played with innumerable times. So all speculation is nonsense, really.

  • Tom says:

    And to add that Janine now also cancelled the Luxemburg concert scheduled for today. Wishing her the best!