Gergiev slams London for not building him a concert hall

Gergiev slams London for not building him a concert hall


norman lebrecht

May 21, 2021

Munich has erected a temporary structure while the Gasteig is being refurbished.

That gave Valery Gergiev a cue to slag off his previous employers:

“I was promised a concert hall in London for eight years,” said Valery Gergiev. “Simon Rattle, my successor with the London Symphony Orchestra, then waited another five years in vain. In Munich you build something like this in two years.”

No-one interrupted him to say that Munich promised Mariss Jansons a new hall for more than a decade, and has still to lay the first brick. On his flying visits, Gergiev always sees no more than he wants to see.

More here.


  • Christopher Wilson says:

    A grumpy old propagandist past his prime.

  • sonicsinfonia says:

    If London had built him a new concert hall, would that have meant he might have been around in it to rehearse? Guess we’ll never know!


    I read somewhere that when he left them, some at the LSO privately wished him a fond good riddance. I note that he’s not been back since!

  • Hugh Molloy says:

    I attended many LSO concerts with Gergiev at the helm. I cannot remember one in which I felt him to be other than a ‘brake’ on the orchestra… certainly not an inspiration. Overpaid, underwhelming.

  • Paul Dawson says:

    It takes a fair bit of brass neck for Gergiev to complain about lateness.

    • Concertgoer says:


    • Jonathan Sutherland says:

      Exactly. A few years ago a performance of Parsifal at the Wiener Staatsoper conducted by Gergiev started 15 minutes late because the bon viveur maestro was having a late lunch at Plachutta.
      According to several members of the orchestra blessed with hyperosmia, it was not an alcohol-free repast either.

  • Munich resident says:

    Munich never promised a new hall to Mariss Jansons. The State of Bavaria did.

  • Sisko24 says:

    Is the London Symphony Orchestra’s home, the Barbican Center really so awful or is the desire for a new concert hall just an ego/vanity project? Is there some remedial effort which could be done at the Barbican which would make it more appealing? Or is it one of those concert halls which should be simply blown up and started over again?

    • Allen says:

      Poor acoustics, small platform, no organ.

      One good point – plenty of legroom.

      I recall reading somewhere that the shape was dictated by the semi-underground site, so conversion into, say, a shoebox type hall, would be prohibitively expensive.

      • Dave says:

        It was built to provide a venue for company shareholder meetings. The idea of using it as a concert hall was an afterthought, and everything else an afterafterthought.

    • Saxon says:

      The Barbican is not a “great hall” but it is certainly “adequate”. And so what if it doesn’t have an organ, not having one only very slightly limits the repertoire that can be played by the orchestra.

      In contrast, Festival Hall is genuinely fairly terrible.

  • Gustavo says:

    It reminds me of the situation in Zurich where the wooden Tonhalle Maag has turned out to be more than just a provisional structure.

    So it can be done cheaper and more efficient than let’s say Elbphilharmonie which didn’t manage to convince Riccardo Muti.

  • Bill says:

    He wasn’t worthy.

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    Oh Valery, just go back to your Putin-built, billion dollar opera house in St. Petersburg and shut up!

  • sam says:

    Is this the new paradigm?

    Among the perks demanded by elite maestros, a spanking new new concert hall?

    In the offer given by management, a 7 figure salary and a spanking new hall?

    Was that the only way the LSO could entice top maestros to take the job, by dangling a spanking new hall in front of them?

    • Patrick says:

      For your information, a quality concert hall benefits the listening public , not the conductor!

  • JoshW says:

    F off, Gergiev – The conductor who can’t be bothered rehearsing and therefore really has nothing musically to offer since he leaves no imprint. And when he does arrive the first two rows of strings have to contend with his particular . . . . aroma.

  • Alexander T says:

    Very overrated and self regarding.

  • Tom Phillips says:

    In a truly democratic Russia, they’d be building him a prison cell.

  • V.Lind says:

    Somebody should just tell Gergy to naff off.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Gergiev has recorded his Bruckner in ‘boomy’ sounding St. Florian Cathedral. Why not let him do everything else there! – it’s the complete opposite of The Barbican. But seriously, why would any conductor complaint about not getting a new hall in this current, pre post-Covid time period. He’s lucky there are any orchestras left standing at all.

    • Tamino says:

      Yeah, Yeah, why would anyone want anything better than already exists?
      Why did we have to move out of our cozy caves and come down from our gorgeous trees after all? We were lucky to have two feet to walk on after all.

      • Barry Guerrero says:

        That’s not what I said. This is what I said: “why would any conductor complaint about not getting a new hall in this current, pre post-Covid time period”. There’s a difference.

  • Nick says:

    Gergiev is an ugly, spoiled, grossly overrated brat, not a musician, but a businessman and a politician!
    Germany is not more “effective” or more “service-oriented” than UK. Never has been and hardly ever will be.
    Just boycott Gergiev. The world offers now much better conductors and musicians than Gergiev — a business dealer.

  • Drew says:

    Does the new Munich hall have a little room off to the side where the soloists pay a portion of their fee to Gergiev’s sister? Like at the Met….