Sicklist: Busy Yannick cancels Mahler 3 in Berlin

Sicklist: Busy Yannick cancels Mahler 3 in Berlin


norman lebrecht

February 24, 2020

The Met and Philadelphia chief Yannick Nézet-Séguin has cancelled this week’s concerts of Mahler’s 3rd symphony with the Berlin Philharmonic.

No reason has been given, but with his workload it’s hardly a surprise.

His replacement with be Lorenzo Viotti, 29, making his Berlin Phil debut.



  • V.Lind says:

    “Sicklist” suggests YN-S is sick. Is he?

    The post suggest he has over-committed, which implies he cannot read the days of the week.

    Do we actually know why he has had to cancel a prestigious engagement?

    I would have thought you would have been a little more cautious about pre-judging people in light of three well-debated posts since last night.

  • Gustavo says:


    Oh Mensch, gib’ acht!

  • Jean says:

    I was looking forward to attending Mahler 3 by YNS on Saturday at the Philharmonie. How disappointing ! Especially knowing that his substitute is the vastly overrated and third class conductor Lorenzo Viotti.

  • Melisande says:

    Good luck, LorenzO Viotti. There will perhaps be a streaming on the Digital Hall site of the Berliner Symphoniker.
    Get well soon, Yannick Nezet-Sequin.
    ‘Winterreisen’ are hard to overcome !

  • Piano Lover says:

    There are other Mahler’s third symphony on YT.
    We can do well without him

  • Dennis says:

    And they replace Jansons with their first violin in June.
    Berlin Phil is no more what it was.. ..

  • Karl says:

    Montreal-Philadelphia-NY-Berlin. He’s going to burn himself out.

  • Christopher says:

    Agreed. I’m sure there is a legitimate reason. He’s probably either quite sick or dealing with a family emergency etc.
    This has obviously been on his calendar for a long time. He wouldn’t cancel on the Berlin Phil because he’s “too busy”
    I wish this blog could lose some of the innuendos and British paparazzi vibe and just stick to facts. That would be appreciated by most of us who enjoy following the ins and outs of the classical musical world without needing to inject teenage drama.

    • V.Lind says:

      There’s an article in The Spectator (a mag NL occasionally contributes to) today by Douglas Murray, not a writer to whom I am devoted. It is about the BBC, and is lamenting the retreat from high culture within it — a frequent accusation on these pages, and not far from the truth.

      Seems not only the BBC chooses to go low. I agree with you that a classical music site had appeared to be a haven from the dumbed-down, but apparently not. “Demotic downspeak,” to lift an agreeable term from Murray’s article, has invaded these pages too.

  • Brian Barker says:

    After buying tickets specifically for the purpose of hearing him conduct this work, I am seriously unimpressed. I hope he had a good reason for cancelling at the last minute.
    And Lorenzo Viotti is hardly an adequate replacement (speaking as someone who has worked with him in the past).

    • Guest says:

      Define “worked”….?

      • Max Grimm says:

        If I’m not mistaking the above commenter for someone else with the same name, Mr. Barker holds a principal position in one of Germany’s largest orchestras. So “worked” would mean that he has performed with Viotti conducting.

  • James says:

    Lift up your hearts…Mahler sounds rather the same regardless of who directs the performance. Talk about

  • Mark says:

    If his Mahler 3rd is anything like his recent recording of Mahler 8th, the Berlin audiences should breathe a sigh of relief…

  • Melisande says:

    Last Sunday, February 23rd, the conductor was still in a seemingly healthy and energetic shape. A triumphal performance of Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten.

    So let’s hope for the best.

  • SMH says:

    Will Viotti be conducting shirtless? Asking for a friend……

  • EdgarNonBilocating says:

    Only G-d is omnipresent. Conductors simply cannot be. However much they try, they too are subject to the limits of space and time.

    Oh well.

    ToiToiToi to Lorenzo