4 talking maestros attract 117,000 viewers

We learn from Alan Gilbert’s PR that his first round-table discussion with three at-home peers – Rattle, Harding, Cannelakis – got such a huge audience that he’s doing another one tomorrow.

Alan Gilbert hosts a second conductors’ round table from his home in Stockholm. Fellow conductors Marin Alsop, Sir Antonio Pappano and Esa-Pekka Salonen join him on Zoom at 12 noon EDT to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on concert life around the world, and more. Streaming live on Gilbert’s Facebook page, the hour-long webcast follows the success of his conversation with Karina Canellakis, Daniel Harding and Sir Simon Rattle, which reached more than 117 thousand viewers. 


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  • Stands to reason. As dull as they all are, the talking is at least slightly more interesting than their conducting. And at least if Salonen is talking, we don’t have to hear any of his “compositions”.

  • More strength to Alan Gilbert’s elbow! He’s a thinking conductor who reads books and wrote an enthusiastic column about Thomas Mann’s great musical novel “Doktor Faustus”, which he had just discovered and read, to The New York Time.

    The last conductor I saw comment on Thomas Mann’s “Doktor Faustus” was Furtwaengler. Do you know of others? Surely Mehta and Barenbaum in youth when they played Furtwaengler’s records to their Kosher Nostra long-distance.

  • This smacks of desperation since they’ve lost their obedient audience. Like a politician who is powerless to “spend other people’s money.”

  • ==And at least if Salonen is talking, we don’t have to hear any of his “compositions”.

    Well said – he’s a joke !

  • The bile, the bitterness, combined with the ignorant arrogance of the majority of the contributors to this blog never cease to amaze me.

          • Indeed he would. We now live in an age where any idea or opinion which does not bolster your own worldview is deemed “dangerous” and “hate speech” not to mention “racist, homophobe, blah, blah, blah…” Liberal Democracy is dead.

        • They are both. E.g., the people who buy season tickets and donate to the orchestra, and then write letters complaining about that “horrible modern garbage” when you perform Rite of Spring, or the fact that everyone’s clothing is not the same shade of black.

      • They absolutely do not represent orchestral player’s audience! SD participants are a peculiar subset of the classical audience. I’ve been attending classical concerts for 40 years and never encountered the bile and bitterness of some of the contributors to this blog. The great majority who attend concerts are gracious and polite even to conductors and performers with whom the disagree. Not so on this blog.

        • I doubt very much “attending classical concerts” allowed you to speak honestly with any of your fellow ticket buyers about anything of substance, even “for 40 years”

          Plus, even if you did, have you ever spoken to them anonymously, where they expressed their private, honest, thoughts?

        • You’re right. In my past, I should have ‘called out’ a number of musicians – prominent and not prominent – right on the spot for being first class A-holes! Instead, I was “polite” and “gracious”. Pity.

    • @Orchestra player

      You mean even more vile than the rogues’ gallery of anti-semitic, Nazi-party-card-carrying conductors, orchestras, composers, pianists, opera singers…?

      I love how people have a holier-than-themselves view of their own audience.

      To quote Baudelaire:

      “Hypocrite lecteur, – mon semblable, – mon frère !”

    • I couldn’t agree more – it saddens me that on a website devoted to serious music [which, I assume,
      all contributors love] supposedly intelligent people sink to a level which is devoid of comment and ends up as a vehicle for spiteful, ignorant attacks on individuals.

      OK some people will have differing views on the qualities of various singers, conductors, ensembles etc. – that is fine – but it is crossing the bounds of human decency to engage in these infantile character assassinations.

      So very, very sad.

    • Most people on this site, while slightly loud in expressing their opinions, are mostly civil and keep it within reasonable limits.

  • If Gilbert’s format must always include a prominent woman conductor and a “Sir” in his trio of invitees, he’s going to run out of guests pret-ty soon!

  • “Maestros”?
    Klemperer was a Maestro. So were Furtwängler, both Kleibers,
    Stokowski,Boult,Karajan etc…..
    Harding, Alsop ? I beg to differ.

    • I agree that the term “ maestro” is used very generously. Most of them should be called conductors, although that’s not entirely accurate or descriptive either.

    • Yes, you are right. She is Marin Alsop.
      The conversation with a.o. Karina Canellakis was today. See Mr. Gilbert’s Twitter page.

  • If you want to hear a talking maestro you won’t do much better than this chat by Mark Elder on the Dvorak symphonies. He wears his knowledge very lightly . Wonderful

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