A different conductor turns 70

A different conductor turns 70


norman lebrecht

November 22, 2021

The American conductor Kent Nagano, whose career has taken him on an M line from Manchester to Munich to Montreal, reaches three score and ten today.

He is presently GMD in Hamburg.


  • PS says:

    Kent Nagano celebrates his 70th birthday: memories and reflections of a great conductor (DW Classical Music)


  • Larry says:

    Don’t forget the Berkeley (CA) Symphony

    • Michel Lemieux says:

      I’m still trying to forget his unimpressive tenure at LA Opera. He spent very little time rehearsing with the orchestra and it showed.

  • Karl says:

    He still has great hair at age 70. Amazing!

  • Ruby Yacht says:

    I love his recordings of French repertoire, much better than Dutoit.

  • kundry says:

    Congratulations to the orchestra – excellent technical playing, however not much personality , or Brahms style. The orchestra was built and trained by Dutoit, not by Nagano. With Dutoit, they had personality and their French repertoire recordings were excellent.
    Back to Nagano :
    – why are you looking so much at the score? At the age of 70 you should know this piece?
    – beginning – while the orchestra is perfect , he is waving his hands irrespective of the music. Be useful , not a poseur!
    -0:30 – big turn to the violas – why ? there was no musical reason
    -0:47 – idem, the important stuff happens in the winds – the ones in front of you , a little bit up!
    -1:07 – what and why was that ?
    There is more, but anyone with a score can get it.
    Except for one glance from the first oboe ( who sounds like he could give him a few lessons), the orchestra does not look at him and has the excellent technique, knowledge of the work and ensemble cohesion which would make the performance possible without a conductor. They should definitely receive a big percentage of his salary.
    PS. Yes, the hair is still good.

    • Haha says:

      … and we have a maestro conducting from the peanut gallery …

    • BRUCEB says:

      For what it’s worth, I follow conductors with my peripheral vision. Almost always, if I look straight at a conductor I can no longer decipher the beat; they’re like impressionist paintings viewed from too close.

      You don’t have to be gazing directly at the conductor to follow everything they do.

  • Anonymous says:

    Nagano is obviously intelligent, but not a conductor. The Bavarian State Opera ran him out of town, after some of the worst most un-musical Mozart I’ve ever heard. I’ve heard he’s not very nice to young conductors either. Maybe he’s got something to hide?

  • Jimdees@pacbell.net says:

    Happy birthday to a great man. I had the opportunity to work with kent way back in his Berkeley days.. I have watched your career grow. Congratulations