Capucon gets his own orchestra

Capucon gets his own orchestra


norman lebrecht

May 26, 2020

The Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne in Switzerland has named the violinist Renaud Capucon, 44, as its next artistic director.

He will succeed Joshua Weilerstein in September 2021.



  • Robert Roy says:

    One of the finest violinists performing today.

  • Beinisch says:

    A wonderful musician and a great violinist. It is a win win situation. He will enjoy a fantastic orchestra and they will enjoy a great performer with a lot of experience.
    Great choice.

  • Qwerty1234 says:

    I’m not sure I understand this new fad of hiring violin soloists as music directors of chamber orchestras.

  • MezzoLover says:

    Very welcome news – and a nod by the OCL to its illustrious past.

    Victor Desarzens, who founded the OCL in 1942 and who directed it until 1973, was also a violinist.

    He and HIS orchestra can be heard on a Swiss Claves CD pairing two Mozart piano concertos (K.459 & K.491), in which they lend wonderful support to my piano goddess Clara Haskil.

    Here’s what the new partnership sounds like – in an empty Salle Métropole on March 4:

    • Supporter of Joshua Weilerstein says:

      From this same concert on March 4, why don’t someone post Schubert Unfinished symphony to see Capuçon’s conducting skill and witness how he can’t even manage to give tempi and shape to the music. The orchestra played on auto pilot while Capuçon pretended that he was conducting the orchestra. In a short while the whole world will see this man has absolutely no business being a conductor. He may just continue performing as violinist, being a teacher and running his many festivals.

      This is a very shameful decision appointing Capuçon which was only possible due to personal push of Alexandre Curchod the President of the orchestra who was lobbied heavily by Capuçon himself. People know since several years Capuçon builds his little empire in this region of Switzerland, first by taking violin professorship in HEMU Lausanne, creating his Lausanne Soloists string ensemble and lately taking over the artistic direction of Academie Menuhin when Vengerov left. Good money in Switzerland is very appealing for someone like Capuçon who is a good politician. Artistically this is a steep downhill for Orchestre de chambre de Lausanne and a shameful appointment.

      • MezzoLover says:

        I am not in a position to comment on the intrigues behind the hiring decision, nor do I have anything against my fellow American Joshua Wellerstein. I am hopeful, however, Capuçon’s appointment will help the OCL achieve a higher international profile than it currently has and lead to more recording contracts.

        For music lovers like me who do not reside in French-speaking Switzerland, commercial recordings provide the most economical way to enjoy this marvelous chamber orchestra. Over the years and under its previous Artistic Directors, it has produced a steady stream of memorable recordings – Raff’s Piano Concerto with Jean-François Antonioli under Lawrence Foster, Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and L’Italiani in Algeri with Jennifer Larmore under Jesús López-Cobos, the complete Mozart Piano Concertos performed and conducted by Christian Zacharias, just to name a few in chronological order (not to mention the Haydn operas under the great Antal Dorati…)

        When was the OCL’s last recording project after Zacharias left?

        I would hate to think, and I refuse to believe, it is all downhill from here for the OCL, given the tremendous talents involved.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    . . . and that’s a very, VERY good chamber orchestra.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Congratulations, cher Renaud! You will excel at music director, just as you have excelled as a violinist.
    Jay posted a comment above that I simply do not understand.
    Some years ago, at Herbst Hall in San Francisco, I heard Renaud and his brother Gautier present a recital of duos for violin and cello.
    It was brilliant, stunning, heart-rending and altogether one of the finest evenings of music I have ever been privileged to hear. To this day, I thank my lucky stars that I was there.
    “Boring”, Jay? Not according to myself and the other audience members who were there. We cried, then we gave a thunderous standing ovation, a REALLY DESERVED standing ovation, not one of those obligatory ones you see at every mediocre flogging-through-of-the-classics ones.
    Jay – ya shoulda been there!

    • CJ says:

      Well said Greg Bottini!
      What a pleasure it has been to be able to watch the mini-concert from home that Renaud Capuçon has been offering every day on Twitter during the lockdown!
      There was also that moving moment of him playing alone, duly protected, in the badly injured cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris during the Good Friday ceremony (in lockdown).

  • The plain truth being told says:

    It was an awful deal made by the former Director of Lausanne Music Conservatory, Hervé Klopfenstein to engage Renaud Capuçon as a full time violin professor when Pierre Amoyal retired knowing the reality that Renaud can only come to teach his students on average once a month. The monthly salary of about 12.000 CHF is certainly personally appealing for Renaud to have this position. If he would have taken a similar job in his hometown in Paris with CNSMDP, his monthly salary as violin professor won’t even come close to 30% compared with what he gets in Suisse.

    Under this bad deal, the rest of the time when he can’t be in town, the conservatory agrees that Renaud has a full time assistant who is none other than François Sochard, the concertmaster of OCL. I must say this is another awful arrangement done by Hervé Klopfenstein as certainly the school could save money by not going into this kind of shady practice of hiring a so called “famous musician” and in return they have to play game to hire another teacher because the main teacher shows up very rarely.

    Everything that led to Renaud getting this job with OCL has been strategically prepared since quite some time through lots of back rubbings with the local politicians and of course with the personal backing and friendship of Alexandre Curchod. If people say Renaud is a good politician, indeed he is a very good one but I am sorry to say, this kind of practice really ruins the music business!

  • Edgar Self says:

    Greg Bottini, I wish I’d heard the Capucon brotherss’ concert. I know their names and reputation but not much more. Is Herbst Hall out at the Conservatory?

    Desarzens condcts OCL on a live Tahra CD vfom 1947 Radio Lausann of Clara Haskil’s teacher Alfred Cortot playing Beethoven’s first concerto, with many orchestral details and staying with Cortot, not an easy thing to do. Cortot was lucky in the conductors of his records: Landon Ronald, Barbirolli, Muench, Fricsay, Mengelberg, and Desarzens. He played several times with Furtwaengler, but there’s no recording. He lived and died in Lausanne, near his birthplace Nyon, Vaud.

    Cortot himself was an experienced conductor who led Paris premieres of Goetterdaemmerung, Missa Solemnis, perhaps Parsifal and German Requiem, &tc. He recorded an early set of Brandenburg Concertos, a Couperin suie, and Brahms Double with thThibaud and Casals.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Hi Edgar,
      Herbst Hall is the medium-sized concert hall on the same long block as the War Memorial Opera House, separated from it by the courtyard.
      Many piano, voice, and chamber recitals are – or were – given there.
      If memory serves, the United Nations charter was signed there.
      Thanks for asking!

  • Edgar Self says:

    Thanks, Greg, for information about Herbst Hall. It sounds like what I remember as the old Veterans Auditorium, and I thought the UN charter signing was in the opera house. Herbst is too close to Herz Hall in Berkeley for me, if I have it right.

    That would be for Alfred Herz, first conductor of San Francisco, who led the Wagner Opera Co. tour of the US after WWI with Kipnis et al., among them Dr. Hans Leschke who founded the Municipal CChorus,precurser of SF Symphony Chorus, of which I’m a founding member under Niklaus Wys and Ozawa. I knew Hans Leschke well. His doctorate was paleontology, and he was a keen botanist with species named for him on Mt. Tamalpais, espeially sedges, his specialty.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Hi Edgar,
      I’m not going to look it up, but I THINK the naming goes like “Herbst Hall in the Veteran’s Building”.
      There’s a mural of the United Nations on the wall, and some informational signs about the UN, so I’ve always thought the signing took place there.
      There’s also a much smaller recital space upstairs called the Green Room. Recitals are given there by musicians who, I presume, can’t count on a big enough audience to fill Herbst.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Thanks, Greg. I’ll try to keep it straight. It’s where Egon Petri played his Beethoven sonata cycle, among many other half-remembered concert. Never heard of the green room.