Christian Thielemann: Why I am no longer music director in Bayreuth

Christian Thielemann: Why I am no longer music director in Bayreuth


norman lebrecht

July 22, 2021

The conductor lays out his cards in an interview with BR Klassik:

‘Everything should change anyway and we thought about what was needed for that. Actually, the title “music director” is wrong. It sounds as if you have an influence on others. I’d rather say: he is an advisor when required. You have to let your colleagues take control of everything. And maybe the assistants do it even better when it comes to details. If someone asks me: What should I look out for in the piece? I could give you a few tips, but I don’t interfere with the tempos at all and don’t fool yourself – for God’s sake! I wouldn’t have found it nice myself if someone had done it to me.’

On Bayreuth’s first woman conductor Oksana Lyniv:
‘I don’t know her at all. I haven’t been to a single rehearsal because this year everyone who has nothing to do is not even allowed in. I think that’s right, because so many people come together: choir, technicians, etc. If this virus eats its way, then the festival is at risk. We must have discipline now and think about it. But people can always call me. And when there is a need, I am ready to help.’



  • Ken says:

    Thielemann is the greatest conductor since Furtwängler.
    We all love him.

  • Gustavo says:

    Taking a step back to let others flourish…almost as dignified as Hans Sachs.

  • RW2013 says:

    “I don’t know her at all” = “not my cup of tea”

  • John Borstlap says:

    From T’s first comment as quoted here, it seems he does not want to conduct at all but merely wave his arms uncommittedly.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    “I don’t know her at all” raises two questions in my mind:
    – Who hired Ms. Lyniv at Bayreuth, and what did they know about her?
    – What responsibilities did Thielamann have as music director?

    By the way, is Katharina Wagner back from her medical leave?

  • Amos says:

    He doesn’t interfere at all except when a potential rival like Andris Nelsons was engaged and then interfered until he left.

    • RW2013 says:

      The ex-trumpeter AN as “potential rival”?!!!
      Ich lach mich tot!

      • Amos says:

        Sorry I forgot he wasn’t threatened but merely protecting German culture. I think that excuse wore out it’s welcome ~ 80 years ago except of course with the neo-fascist crowd.

  • Cornishman says:

    Thielemann has always been good at passive aggression.

  • Gustavo says:


    Cosima Thielemann