Just in: Concertgebouw breaks up its management

Just in: Concertgebouw breaks up its management


norman lebrecht

August 26, 2020

Unable to find a capable chief executive, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw has named a three-person managing board.

That means no-one’s in charge.

Both the new recruits are German.

Here’s the self-congratulatory press release:

Following a successful recruitment procedure, the Stichting Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest is very pleased to announce that Dominik Winterling and Ulrike Niehoff will be joining the Concertgebouworkest’s Managing Board as from the first quarter of 2021. Together with David Bazen, the current interim managing director, they will form a three-member Managing Board.

Winterling arrives from the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie. Niehoff, who has the title ‘artistic director, was head of artistic planning with the Wiener Symphoniker.




  • Edoardo Saccenti says:

    The title is misleading. The Concertgebouw is not the same thing as the Concertgebouworkest. The Concertgebouw is the concert hall which has different management from the Orchesttra. They split many years ago and are independent organizations…

  • Bulgakov says:

    Here is a link to the full press release on the Concertgebouw’s website, for anyone who feels Norman’s post might be short on information or context: https://www.concertgebouworkest.nl/en/new-members-to-the-managing-board

  • Eric says:

    “ Unable to find a capable chief executive” what is this?? This is as far from the truth as possible. Please do some research before you write something. The move to put three on same level has nothing to do with not being able to find someone capable. It’s a great move that fits greatly to the Dutch way of governance and cooperation.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The Dutch way of governance and cooperation is meant to produce the much-wished average and mediocre result, so that nobody will feel offended. Important decisions are taken with as many participants as possible, so that if things go wrong, nobody can be held personally accountable.

      It is a specific part of national identity – unique in Europe – to prevent anybody from thinking that they could do things better than someone else.

      The foreign members will find-out in the course of time, because this tradition is always kept secret when foreigners innocently settle in their new position in Holland.

      • Peter San Diego says:

        A corporate approach to governance has long been part of Dutch life, yet it did not prevent the flourishing of outstanding individuals like Rembrandt, or outstanding bodies like the Concertgebouw Orchestra.

        • John Borstlap says:

          They let Rembrandt go bust and put him under humiliating receivership – in ultra-rich Amsterdam, there was nobody who wanted to invest in a genius.

          The miraculous works of Vermeer, the other genius, were sought after during his life, and after his death, by foreigners when the Dutch thoughtlessly passed them over, not noticing what it was.

          The KCO is the only orchestra in the world of the top 10 where the players get paid half the average salary that their peers receive.

          The Netherlands is one of the richest countries in the world and in Europe; their cultural level is like one of the poorest countries in the world and in Europe only comparable with Andorra.

      • alexy says:

        do you consider the concertgebouworchestra as mediocre and average? It’s since his birth based on governance, cooperation and shared responsibility of musicians and staff. His success and quality contradict your assertion.

        • John Borstlap says:

          The players are wonderful. They are an oasis in a desert and are being paid according to sandy standards.

    • Sometimes Norman likes to add some problems in Amsterdam Who are not real.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Gorbachev and the Soviets proved in the late 1980s that perestroika doesn’t work very well.

  • Save the MET says:

    So it’s “Thunderdome” at the Concertgebouw. Which one will survive? The bookies should start taking bets.

  • patrick G says:

    Yes it looks like a very mediocre way to make for the refusal of bigger names to join in the job. When are they going to find a conductor ? Two years already since Gatti left. It is true that candidates are not especially running for the post following Chailly and Jansons snubs restively to Leipzig and Munich as well as the way Gatty was manhandled….

    • Bulgakov says:

      ‘Bigger names‘ were at one time not as ‚big‘. ‚Big names‘ often become ‚big‘ by being hired by ‚big‘ organisations. In any case, coming from higher management positions at the Elbphilharmonie and Wiener Symphoniker isn’t too shabby.

  • However the appointments to the Amsterdam-based
    orchestra turn out, fortunately one aspect is authentically Dutch: its financing, by the Dutch taxpayers.
    Not by the EU, not by Unesco or by other foreign, international financial sources.
    No, just by the Dutch taxpayers. And that’s it and almost all, concerning the question: what is still authentic Dutch about the orchestra?

    Or more clearly: how real ‘Amsterdam’ is it. And here I am referring to the aspect-own artistic identity. Not an uninteresting question, because in Amsterdam a chief conductor still must be appointed.

    This in view of the international composition of the orchestra itself, with distinguished artistic (conservatory) backgrounds of the members of the orchestra, who come from all over the world.

    The artistic handwriting of ‘Amsterdam’ seems almost entirely interchangeable for that of any other top orchestra in the world. More than once this fact has been addressed with great concern by distinguished musicians and conductors such as Bernard Haitink, former chief-conductor of the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest

    Is this the result of the long-standing internationalism that has long been and still ís the great flattener in various artistic ‘dialects’ all over the world?
    Answer: yes.
    Ad fundum, this is a chic outgrowth of the phenomenon-massculture that always eliminates the authentic values of small units in local environments.

    Get used to it. Or not, for this is also possible.

    Being a citizen of the world, feeling and behaving like that, may well be OK.
    But every leap into the world, every movement in it, starts from one’s own home with its own furnishings, with its own scents and colors.

    Who lets go of this or keeps letting go?
    Welcome to Kentucky Fried Chicken to name just one haute cuisine address. 🙂

    It’s now time to enjoy Frau Musici, as Luther called his real passion.
    Perhaps Rob Zuidam’s brandnew Nocturnes. Or Messiaens Vingt Regards sur l’enfant Jésus. Or Brahms’ Ballads. Or C.P.E.Bach’s Preussische Sonaten. Or Sweelinck’s chromatic Fantasia. Or…R