Dutch appoint young Brit chief

Dutch appoint young Brit chief


norman lebrecht

October 27, 2020

The Philharmonie Zuidnederland has named Duncan Ward chief conductor from September 2021.

Ward, 31, has been an assistant to Simon Rattle and is marketed by the same agency. In 2005, he was BBC Young Composer of the Year.

He succeeds Dmitry Liss who will have held the post for 5 years.


  • Leo Doherty says:

    I have seen Duncan conduct a few times and he is a great talent and will have a great future.

    • Dave says:

      I’ll never understand how people can judge a conductor from an audience. I wouldn’t be able to tell a good one from a bad one – some of the best look less than convincing in concert.

      You’d need to be there for the hours of rehearsal, and be in the orchestra on stage. (And even then opinions differ.)

      • Appleby says:

        Erm…it’s actually fairly easy to judge a conductor from the audience. You listen.

        That’s sort-of the point of music, really.

        • Jonathan Z says:

          But until you have heard him beat 7 against 5, how do you know if he can conduct? No seriously, Appleby yours is the best comment I have ever read on SD, and I have read a few.

        • EagleArts says:

          Waving that stick around actually produces no sound! Obviously is the players, who in the majority of cases have immensely more experience with the repertoire both individually and collectively than 99% of conductors.

      • William Safford says:

        I am reminded of a conversation that I once read about, between Toscanini and Nikisch:

        “When Nikisch conducted the Orchestra of La Scala he complimented Toscanini on its fine quality. Said Toscanini, ‘My dear, I know this orchestra very well. I am the conductor of this orchestra. It is a bad orchestra. You are a good conductor.'” (Harold Schonberg, “The Virtuosi”)

  • Dave says:

    ‘Eton Mess’, as he’s known to UK orchestras.

  • Rob says:

    Assistant to SSR? Let’s hope the mediocrity hasn’t rubbed off then.

  • papageno says:

    conducting is the easiest job like the traffic cop. all you need is a good publicist.

  • Akutagawa says:

    Serious question, no snark. Does anybody know what the arrangements will be for EU-based orchestras to hire UK conductors now that the UK is out of the EU? I realise that we are still in transition so single market rules apply for now, but what happens after that? Will work visas be required? And if so, will the orchestra need to demonstrate that there was no EU conductor capable of filling the role just as well?

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      Serious reply: How many non-EU conductors currently conduct in the EU? Many. There will be forms to fill in but the problem will be far from insurmountable.

      It’s interesting (i.e. depressing) how so many people have fallen into the facility of EU legislation since 1992.