Sydney’s interim chief has form with female conductors

Sydney’s interim chief has form with female conductors


norman lebrecht

December 17, 2021

When Craig Whitehead moved to Brisbane in 2018 after ten years in charge of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, he said ‘I can’t wait to start working with Alondra’ (de la Parra), the incoming music director.

Alondra was gone after one short term and Craig followed her last August.

He has now taken up the reins in an interim capacity at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, after the brutal sacking of CEO Emma Dunch. The incoming music director is Simone Young.

Should be interesting.




  • Couperin says:

    Alondra is such an embarrassment. Has been for over a decade now, since the orchestra her dad bought for her treated its musicians like crap, and her subsequent failings around the world. Her father tried to buy her a job with Vermont Symphony back in the day too. He would spend exorbitant sums of money to “support” the orchestra by “winning” the chance to conduct a piece during the summer pops tour. I was there both summers when he did this. He would pompously demand to have multiple run-throughs of the piece he got to conduct, to the consternation of the professionals. His mugging, humiliating gestures and all around smugness was such a disgusting display. He is without a doubt a major reason for Alondra’s “success” in the industry.

  • Malcolm James says:

    Alondra de la Parra hasn’t covered herself in glory, wherever she’s been and SD itself has been disparaging about Emma Dunch. Simone Young is, however, a completely different proposition; a real heavyweight with bags of experience. If he falls out with her, that won’t look good.

    • Evan says:

      Simone Young was a frequent and welcome guest at WASO during Craig’s tenure as CEO, so not much chance of a falling out here, Malcolm.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    But Simone Young knows how to conduct.

  • dave says:

    Not even really sure the point of this article? Craig has an outstanding reputation in Australia. Alondra – not so much. He inherited her from a previous CEO’s poor judgement (who now heads up another Aus Orch). SSO will be lucky to have him! Rumour has it he was pushed out of Queensland by some big ego bosses who have a habit of meddling.