Just in: Maestro marries

Just in: Maestro marries


norman lebrecht

September 06, 2020

Andrew Litton, music director of New York City Ballet, has solemnised his marriage to Katharina Kang, its principal violist.

Litton, 61, was previously music director in Dallas, Bergen and Colorado and previously married to the harpist Dotian Levalier.

He writes: So, in spite of the worst year professionally I’ve had since I was 18 years old, I am proud to announce that one week ago, I married the amazing Katharina Kang Litton!! I am very happy and truly blessed!


  • Maria says:

    Hope it lasts!

  • Peter Phillips says:

    He also had a successful six year spell with the Bournemouth SO.

  • John Kelly says:

    A disgracefully underrated conductor, whose many recordings make clear his talent. I was lucky enough to attend Mahler 8 in Dallas which was absolutely unforgettable and, in that hall, sonically extraordinary as it has the aural space to accommodate the enormous sound. In around 1990 Litton brought the Dallas orchestra to Carnegie Hall where they gave a Barbirollian account of the Elgar Introduction and Allegro (with a depth of string sonority that made them sound like the Berlin Phil – I kid you not) and then pretty much stripped the paint off the walls with Belshazzar’s Feast, a piece Litton does very well. The Dallas Symphony chorus were outstanding as was soloist Alan Opie. I believe Litton suffers like so many American conductors by not being European……….it’s a pity. He should be invited to guest conduct much more by the likes of the BSO and the Phillies.

    • JohnG says:

      An excellent conductor, agreed. Those Walton recordings (since you mention Belshazzar’s Feast) with the Bournemouth Symphony on Decca are great – as is so much of the work he’s subsequently done with the Bergen Philharmonic, so well recorded by BIS. Congratulations on the news to AL, and wishing for a speedy return to ‘normal’ music-making for him and all other professional musicians.

      • Mathias Broucek says:

        The Bergen Firebird is perhaps the best I’ve ever heard… The BIS sonics help (not coincidentally the YNS/Rotterdam Daphnis is similarly excellent) but good conducting all the same!

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      I went to two nights of that Mahler 8th in Dallas. It was every bit as good as you suggest, with the singular exception of tenor Gary Lakes. He wasn’t in great voice, shall we say. Beyond that, they were excellent performances. His Delos recordings of Mahler 2 and 3 are quite good. I very much like the Ives recordings he made.

      • John Kelly says:

        Wasn’t it fantastic at the very end when all the brasses stood up to play (like the horns at the end of Mahler 1?). Just an incredible effect, worthy of Stokowski. Very dramatic and sonically stupendous. It helps that the organ in Dallas is so good too! I know the performances were recorded (because I talked a bit with Andrew Keener) but it’s never been issued unfortunately….

  • Symphony musician says:

    Many congratulations to them both.

  • Cubs Fan says:

    Congratulations! May you have many blessed years together. Now, get your butt back into the recording studio! I’ve heard you many times live in Dallas, Vail, and elsewhere – there are very few conductors as adept at the Russian repertoire. Your Schmidt 4th in Dallas was fantastic, and the Mahler recordings were top drawer. Here’s hoping!

  • drummerman says:

    Mazel Tov to them both but one wonders why this was “the worst year professionally” for him. And, not to split hairs, but he didn’t marry “Katharina Kang Litton,” he married “Katharina Kang” who became “Litton” upon her marriage.

    • Sharon says:

      Worst year professionally? Because of Covid of course. He could not conduct, even in Texas.

      Mazel tov to them both. However as a nurse who has worked with many many elderly I do hope that Katharina Kang has looked ahead before she made her decision.

      How? By recognizing that although Litton may be spryer than she is now that there is only one alternative to getting old, and we all know what that is.

      Thirty years from now she will either be changing adult diapers of someone at some stage of Alzheimers– or a youngish widow, young enough to still want a relationship but old enough to have difficulty finding someone else suitable. Even in a good May -December marriage one has to be sure at the time of the marriage that the 25 to 30 good years that one may have as a couple is worth the pain that the last 10 to 15 years may bring, and to keep reminding oneself when that time comes that it was her choice to make the tradeoff.

      • Larry D says:

        Thanks for harshing the buzz.

      • Minnesota says:


      • buxtehude says:


        Refreshing to see people looking out for people, isn’t it?

        How’s this:

        Both should resign from the orchestra forthwith (see below); he then proceed to prison (why? for toxic-masculine overreach of course); the marriage dissolved; she at last freed to market her youth in marriage to one of those life-guard types so plentiful on social media who also happens to be a billionaire and can build a new orchestra around the former Ms. Katherina Kang-Litton Kang; also a younger man, for reasons I shall not delve into since this is a classical music blog and not medical school.

        • Sharon says:

          Don’t knock it baby! Ain’t nothing wrong with being a cougar, provided that the object of one’s affections is of age and does not feel pressured to have sex because he sees it as his only means to professional or financial advancement.

          From a physiological point of view it makes sense for a woman to marry a man about six years younger. Both parties are likely to age and die at about the same time.

          Actually, this may not be so far off the mark.
          As you imply, Buxtehude, a woman’s sex drive is highest in her late thirties or early forties. It is speculated that this evolved so in prehistoric times a woman, after her “husband” died, would have the incentive to find a younger man who could protect her while she had a second set of children and/or helped with the work and raising the other children in his harem.

          Indeed, historically this was not that uncommon. In places as distinct at 1960s Iran and pre WWII Germany it was not uncommon for a woman in her teens or early twenties to marry a man 10 to 25 years older than herself. He was expected to die before he was 60, long before he would need care, which would leave her a well off widow able to marry a man closer to her age or a little younger and possibly have more children. This was how wealth was redistributed in these communities.

          Even today, in communities as diverse as the Roma and some ultra Orthodox Jewish sects, it is not uncommon for a young woman to marry a man who is still a teenager, one to several years younger than herself. This gives the young man, who might otherwise be itching to leave, the ties and the sexual incentive to stay in these very closed communities while he can be supported by a woman who already has several years work experience.

      • John Kelly says:

        Yikes! How about some positive thinking? Stokowski or Horzowski didn’t come to such sticky ends…

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      I believe others could figure that out for themselves.

    • Bill says:

      He married the woman who is now known as Katharine Kang Litton. You not only didn’t split the hair, you nicked your thumb in the process.

  • Musicman says:

    This is a conflict of interests! As the music director, he is her boss! One of them must resign immediately!

    • MacroV says:

      I’m sure they had lawyers address this somehow. But if he can’t hire or fire her, or give her a raise, not that much conflict. And if colleagues badmouth him within her earshot, I trust she’ll exercise proper discretion.

    • V. Lind says:

      Pinchas Zukerman married Amanda Forsyth when he was conductor and she principal cellist at the National Arts Centre Orchestra. That seems to have worked out.

  • Ricardo says:

    He was also chief conductor in Bournemouth, let’s not forget.

  • Joel Lazar says:

    Mazel tov, both of you. Many happy years to follow in — we hope — a saner and healthier future.

  • Fan from SG says:

    Congratulations to the happy couple! In addition to the mentioned positions, Litton is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Singapore Symphony, where we’ve heard him and the orchestra perform some beautiful concerts together!

    • JoshW says:

      Where, incredibly, the Music Director does have the deciding voice in salary negotiations. (So guess who has a killer contract…..?)

      • Bruce says:

        The article was blocked by a paywall the second time I tried to look at it. But basically, he agreed to have no input into the terms of her employment.

        (Although I suppose, since a concertmaster serves at the conductor’s discretion, he would be responsible for allowing her contract to be renewed every year, if not her salary or number of vacation weeks.)

        • JoshW says:

          “Agreed to” and actual practice are not the same thing. He perhaps doesn’t sit down with her to discuss numbers, but his response to anything when he’s not happy is “I quit” – as we know from the infamous lock-out of several years ago. I doubt she keeps her paychecks hidden from him.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Congratulations and happiness to the gifted musical couple. Isn’t he also an excellent pianist?

  • Bjorn says:

    I went to a stunning Mahler 3 with Litton in Minnesota in 2005. Great conductor. Wish he would come here more often; he does many things better than Vanska.

    • JoshW says:

      And that’s why Vanska got rid of him a couple of years ago as their summer festival artistic director – and replaced him with a non-conductor.

      • WB says:

        Said by the guy whose only claim to fame as a conductor, is being the the son of Donald Weilerstein . Roderick is fabulous conductor!

        • JoshW says:

          I have no connection to anyone named “Weilerstein.” And Roderick left the MO some time ago. He’s not the new summer artistic director. So only two strikes but you’re still out.

  • Sharon says:

    I do apologize for sounding negative; perhaps it was inappropriate.

    In addition to working in nursing home nursing, for 10 years I was a caseworker in child support enforcement and spent all day listening to cases of broken relationships.

    I myself was involved in two May-December relationships (although I did not marry). That they were unsuccessful did not have a lot to do with the age difference.

    My personal attitude towards relationships, like everything else is my life, is “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst”.

    Again, congratulations to them both.

  • Edgar Self says:

    another American pianist-conductor at Dallas Symphony, Walter Hendl, had problems there and elsewhere. Who does not?

  • Lorentz Reitan says:

    It is amazing to read some of the comments after Andrew Littons marriage with Katharina Kang. Especially Sharon with her nurse-like approach about the difference in age between the bride and groom. When love surpasses age we should all be happy, and isn’t it the case now? Hypothetical speculations are often downplaying the realities. It’s hard to be a prophet in your own is a saying. In Norway Andrew Litton was awarded The Royal order of Merit for his achievements with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra as conductor in chief of the Orchestra for 12 years. With the Bergen Philharmonic he has received a nummer of international accolades for touring with the orchestra to The Proms in London, The Edinburgh Festival, Concertgebouw, Musikverein in Vienna and Carnegie Hall NY. In addition beeing responsible for a great number of prizewinning recordings. The Bergen Phil was among the three best Orchestras of The world according to The Gramophone magazine in 2019. The ground work for this was done by Andrew Litton. That he is not conductor in chief of a prominente American Orchestra is amazing.

    El Rey Norway

    Please correct my english language as it is not my mothertongue. All The best. Lorentz

    like thoughts about