Nepotism is alleged at top of the Salzburg Festival

Nepotism is alleged at top of the Salzburg Festival


norman lebrecht

January 07, 2021

Two candidates have emerged to succeed Helga Rabl-Stadler this year as president of the Salzburg Festival.

Both are related to her by marriage.

Read here.

Small town, Salzburg.


  • Rogerio says:

    What’s new?
    I would wager that more than 50% of past and future participants in the festival are people “Born into a musical family”.

  • Critical says:

    Well Mr. Lebrecht then do some research with the Vienna Philharmonic,
    nepotism at its best!
    They call it tradition mere mortals call it nepotism par excellence

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      That kind of “nepotism” is very good for the Wiener Phil.

      • particularly critical says:

        You can’t say that because you don’t know what it would be like if auditions were fair there and the best one would get the position. You can write books how they handle their auditions when it comes to “sons.”
        The master of nepotism died already but his son on the principal clarinet didn’t even had to win an audition!

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Nepotism is never to be condoned, but in music it can have its upsides. Musical families are best positioned to nurture musical talent.

      Here is an issue I don’t understand. For a long time, however, sexism seems to have overpowered nepotism at the VPO. Didn’t VPO members have daughter musicians? Insights will be appreciated.

      • SVM says:

        “Musical families are best positioned to nurture musical talent.”

        …which makes it all the more important for music educators to make an effort to guide and encourage capable pupils who are *not* from musical families. There has been a lot of discussion about encouraging women and/or people from ethnic minorities (sometimes, such encouragement extends to positive discrimination, which is unfortunate), but very little discussion about encouraging people who are not from musical families.

      • Bill says:

        Yes, and one Prof. Heinrich Koll’s daughters is a full member of the Wiener Philharmoniker. Her sister is a member of the Wiener Symphoniker.

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    As we say here in Chicago:

    “If I can’t hire my family or my friends, who do you expect me to hire?”

  • Edgar Self says:

    Nepotism is best kept in the family.

  • MJA says:

    Small town, but with a global reach.

  • John D. Goodwin says:

    Without reference to her own merits or demerits, or to the substantive issue at hand… Rabl-Stadler is a politician, not a musician. She may have an interest in music and culture, as we all do, but is not a musician. So all of these comments about “musical dynasties” etc. etc., don’t really apply here.

  • Herbie G says:

    What about all those Bachs who got key jobs over the centuries?

  • fflambeau says:

    There were good reasons why Mozart hated Salzburg and wanted out and why the locals have turned him into a chocolate salesman.

    • Bill says:

      Certainly Mozart did not come from a family of musicians, and if he did, his father certainly never arranged any gigs for him.

  • JussiB says:

    What’s next… nepotism in Bayreuth?
    I’m shocked, shocked, shocked!

  • Nick says:

    Province is always a province!

  • Nik says:

    The comment “nicht vom Fach” is interesting.
    Rabl-Stadler was, of course, also very much “nicht vom Fach”. She had done almost everything except work in a cultural institution when she took the job.

  • Michael says:

    It’s at moments like these where the Salzburg Festival, and I love it dearly, claiming to be a globally leading festival, shows just how small-town it really is. Nice. Sometimes tacky – but with superb modern music (Luigi Nono again in ’21). But provincial.