Just in: Philadelphia entices Nathalie Stutzmann

Just in: Philadelphia entices Nathalie Stutzmann


norman lebrecht

December 08, 2020

The French contralto and conductor Nathalie Stutzmann was installed today as principal guest conductor of the Philhadelphia Orchestra.

A protégee of Seiji Owawa, Stutzmann has been working latesly with orchestras in Ireland and Norway.

She had her own ensemble in France, which closed last year for lack of funds.

Stutzmann, 55, made her Philadelphia debut in 2016 and has returned several times. Philadelphia’s music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, said: “Nathalie is a kindred spirit whose background as a contralto and work as a conductor have influenced her dynamic and highly successful career. She brings a depth of artistry, charismatic musicianship and creativity to her work, making her an ideal collaborator.”



  • J Barcelo says:

    “A protégee of Seiji Owawa”. Does he run the Wawa convenience stores in that part of the country?

  • Booboo7 says:

    Crap. What a great musician. Already she’s got more depth and intelligence than 95% of conductors out there. And while I know she’s still working on her conducting chops she is really going to be something. I’m just saddened that It’s going to get much harder to get her.

    • M2N2K says:

      In the “normal” lives of major US orchestras for the last few decades, the difference between “regular” and “principal” guest conductors has usually been that the former work with the orchestra two weeks a year on average and the latter probably four or at most five weeks a year. So instead of 50 weeks remaining in her year she will have 48 or 47 weeks which is just between 4% and 6% reduction in her availability – so it will certainly be a little bit “harder to get her” but not that “much”.

  • Alan O'Connor says:

    Pity we lost her in Ireland. Really enjoyed her conerts.

  • Harrison says:

    Great match. Incredible musician and an incredible orchestra. Looking forward to hearing this collaboration!!!

  • MacroV says:

    Now that’s an inspired move. Maybe more a great musician who conducts than a “great conductor,” but if she has any shortcomings as a baton-waver (and I’m not suggesting she does), I suspect the good musicians of the Philly Orch. will respect her for the artist she is.

    Now, is Barbara Hannigan up for a similar gig somewhere?

  • Hayne says:

    Well, she is nice and pleasant…

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Nathalie Stutzmann has always possessed one of my favorite contralto voices, and she is a wonderful musician.
    I had no idea that she conducts as well. I hope this doesn’t mark the end of her singing career.
    Good luck and best wishes, Nathalie! (I’m going to go listen to some of your records now.)

  • Basso Continuoso says:

    How ridiculous. Ozawa is no legend among conductors.

  • Barry says:

    She seems to have established a nice chemistry with the Orchestra based on the broadcasts of her programs.

    I’m not sure I’d be happy if they picked her for Music Director at this point, but she is a good choice for this position.

    The Philadelphians have had two Principal Guest Conductors in their history to the best of my knowledge. Muti was clearly picked because he was being groomed to replace Ormandy. The more recent Stéphane Denève was more like a cross between what one normally thinks of as a PGC and an Assistant Conductor. Not all, but some of his programs bordered or pops and he led concerts for children I believe on at least one or two occasions. It never really felt like he was in line to replace Yannick.

    We’ll see what their plans are for Stutzmann if things ever return to normal.

    • Victor Small says:

      I seem to recall that Leonard Bernstein conducted the occasional children’s concert.

    • Tom Varley says:

      I would disagree with the comment that Deneve’s programs “bordered on pops”, at least to judge by those of his concerts I attended. OK, so one included Pines of Rome, something that Ormandy and Muti also performed a number of times but that same concert included the Saint-Saens 5th Piano Concerto and the Philadelphia premiere of a piece by Connesson. Works on the other programs included the Poulenc Organ Concerto, Rite of Spring and the Elgar Violin Concerto. Hardly pops territory. I was looking forward to a Heldenleben (sorry, Norman) in April but the concert was canceled due to the pandemic. I’ve found him to be a more interesting conductor than Yannick, who I’ve heard live doing the Bruckner #8 and Shostakovich 7th (not on the same program, of course). Having heard Tennstedt conduct the Bruckner, YNS was not the same kind of experience.

  • Truly super artistry….I’d walk a million miles…


  • M2N2K says:

    Last year I had the pleasure of rehearsing and performing a few concerts with Nathalie Stutzmann when she was guest conducting our orchestra and all I can say is: YNS made a fine choice – she is indeed a truly wonderful musician.

  • Vaquero357 says:

    Not overly impressed by the concerts I’ve heard her conduct. Not turned off either. We’ll see how this plays out. At least she has a first-rate ensemble to work with.

  • Alexander T says:

    Ça va, sans plus.(Like many of today’s conductors.)