Jaap: I don’t need Concertgebouw. I have New Amsterdam.

In somewhat heavy Dutch humour, the NY Philharmonic chief responds to a question as to whether he’s in the running for the vacant Amsterdam orchestra by referring to the original name for New York.

In the days of Stuyvesant and Co.

Read here.


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  • Fascinating interview.

    Who knew?

    Turned down Bayreuth to conduct the Ring cycle in favor of his engagements in NY!

    Permanent scarring from conducting caused by a Hollywood star!

    Stuff of legends.

    • There are workhorse Ring cycles, even at Bayreuth, the kind of Ring cycles that is not memorable and forgotten as soon as it is over.

      So unless one is asked to participate in a star vehicle, it’s rather a thankless grueling Kapellmeister gig.

    • He would have loved to conduct at Bayrueth but he simply did not have free time for a real commitment. A very professional attitude that many other conductors would have put aside immediately at such invitation.

  • Well the Concertgebouw Orchestra despite its marvellous qualities have been passed over by two previous conductors who are on the top of their profession to the benefit of German orchestras. When you look at how they treated Gatti, no wonder nobody is interested….

    • I think meanwhile the entire top of the management has left – or have been kicked-out. It is a ship without crew.

  • Gotta love Google Translate:

    “New York is the first place that feels like a destination. There I started as a sixteen-year-old Amsterdam coffee, only looking for a way through the streets and avenues of the city and through the corridors of The Juilliard School of Music.”

    A 16-year-old coffee 🙂

    • Google doesn’t always have the correct dictionary at hand. Nothing can beat the automatic translation of ‘Siegfried’s Rheinfahrt’: sick fried rino fart.

  • When this column was first posted, I was certain that Norman would be lambasted for stating that New Amsterdam was the “original name for New York.” I guess the daily outrage expressed by some commentators on this site doesn’t extend to standing up for indigenous heritage. Well, it’s nice not to argue about something.

    • The Dutch still bitterly regret that they exchanged Nieuw Amsterdam with the English for an insignificant tropical colony in South America. Why did they do that? Because they preferred to develop plantations with African slaves.

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