Currentzis gets three more years

Currentzis gets three more years


norman lebrecht

September 16, 2021

The controversial Greek-Russian conductor, 49, has signed on for a second term at SWR Radio in Stuttgart.

He has merged two orchestras with considerable cost savings in personnel. He says: ‘We have succeeded in merging the traditions of the two previous orchestras to form a new orchestra that has successfully developed into a unit.’


  • The View from America says:

    Oh, joy.

  • Dubiousatnight says:

    The merger happened well before TC was appointed, and he himself has nothing to do with costs control. The merger was a stupid move with no other reason than some people wanting to claim administrative bragging rights. In the move the unique experience and culture of the original SWF-Baden-Baden Radio Orchestra (later Freiburg) in modern music was thrown out the window.

    • Manu says:

      All the people who cried out and made boycott on this orchestra (with literally all relevant conductors on the circuit except some exceptions) at the beginning should recognize the extraordinary effort and job done by the manager who was heading the process of making one orchestra out of two, Mr Johannes Bultmann, who is responsible for naming TC and making this orchestra one of the most demanded in the International circuit in just a few years. The orchestra has maintained its commitment to new music and has maintained activity in the region, with own subscription series in Mannheim, Stuttgart and Freiburg. It is a success story, sorry if the success disappointed you.

      • Dubiousatnight says:

        In a country which has over 130 professional orchestras including a dozen radio orchestras, why was it absolutely necessary to dissolve the identity of the only one (the SWR Baden-Baden-and-Freiburg Symphony Orchestra) with a long-standing commitment to living composers?

        This has nothing to do with Currentzis’s talent or his own commitment to modern music. The merger was a done deal when he was appointed, and he inherited an oversize monster orchestra with way too many players (because all players from both orchestras are tenured). What he has managed to do with it doesn’t justify what happened before he showed up for the first time in Stuttgart.

        There is no way the culture and experience of the original SWR-BB-and-Freiburg Orchestra in modern music (nourished over generations by giants like Rosbaud, Bour and Gielen) could survive when diluted in a humongous pool of musicians who cannot show up on stage at the same time because there is too many of them. What exactly is cost effectiveness when a large number of players need to stay home every week because their services are not requested?

        Currentzis’s successful run in Stuttgart has given a genuine purpose and welcome international profile to this monster, and everybody should be happy about that – nobody is denying his or the orchestra’s success and everyone should celebrate it. But the newly reconfigured oversize orchestra remains a musical as well as an administrative aberration born out of the ego of an overzealous administrator.

        • Manu says:

          It was necessary in order to ensure the continuation of the project. Is it so difficult to accept that times change and the core mission of making recordings and play radio programs is just simply not anymore relevant for a public subsidized orchestra nowadays?
          Is the new SWR SO not playing new music at all? Maybe you could mention their commitment and numerous projects. They continue to be the main orchestra at Donaueschingen.
          Bt the way, what you call oversized monster is maybe precisely the reason why TC accepted being the chief conductor…

      • Tamino says:

        “Mr Johannes Bultmann, who is responsible for naming TC and making this orchestra one of the most demanded in the International circuit in just a few years.”

        In which bubble did you build that opinion?
        The SWR orchestra is a fine orchestra, but it is far from being “one of the most demanded in the international circuit”!
        It is a rather average German radio symphony orchestra, like most of the others. Nothing wrong with that, but spare us the hype, please.
        Get to work and create some interesting recordings with the orchestra, as a radio symphony should.

        • Alexander Hall says:

          “A rather average radio symphony orchestra”? That comment shows that you can’t have been to many of the SWR Symphony’s live concerts, if any at all, under Currentzis. He has succeeded in galvanising this orchestra to the extent that it is up there with the very finest. German musicians are notably less effusive in their applause for their maestro than is the case with, say, British orchestras. Watching the fervent applause and roars from the SWR Symphony directed at Currentzis after their recent concert on tour at the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, there can’t be any doubt about how very special this relationship is.

        • Manu says:

          It is facts, my friend. Look at the touring schedule and residences at major festivals and concert halls of the SWR Orchestra compared to other German orchestras. Full stop.

  • Tamino says:

    How many concerts a year in the new contract for the “chief” conductor’s second term? How many recordings with the RADIO orchestra, his salary paid by the mandatory radio fee all citizens in Germany must pay?
    One concert a month? Less?
    A joke…

  • Alviano says:

    I wish he would go back to Siberia and stay there.

    • Hans-Dieter Glaubke says:

      Speechless, am I, at your Cretan observation. Forgive me. Observation is an insult to those, who possess one. Certainly, yours is far, far below a level of understanding and perception. Pity!

  • Frank Flambeau says:

    He is needed in San Antonio.

  • Fred Funk says:

    There is no cost savings in the number of quality viola players. You either have the required instrumentation, or you suffer the consequences.

  • After the merger, the SWR has 9 trombonists, all relatively young. There are four solo trombonists. They work less than one week per month for a full salary and benefits. There are similar situations in other sections.

  • Leopold says:

    Why is Currentzis almost every time he is mentioned called controversial? What’s so controversial about him? Is the (classical) music business so conservative, that even the slightest deviation from the purported norm is controversial? Is that it?

    • Ugh says:

      Very simple. He is a hyper-promoted fraud in the postmodern, Marina Abramovich emperor-has-no-clothes style. If you point this out to someone who likes to be associated with or to “appreciate” that sort of a fraud, there is a minor controversy. That’s it.

      • G says:

        It’s great that everyone who hates on Currentzis has experienced in depth his extraordinary rehearsals, his ability to impart huge amounts of energy which directly comes out of his musicians in performance, his immense generosity, his musical genius, deep understanding of text, and his even greater understanding of the energy of the music itself, otherwise of course they’d have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about, right? Right.

    • john Kelly says:

      Listen to his recording of the Tchaikovsky Pathetique and you will be in no doubt……..

  • John Borstlap says:

    Getting three more years? I thought he was released on bail.