The orchestra that couldn’t make up its tiny mind just did

The orchestra that couldn’t make up its tiny mind just did


norman lebrecht

February 23, 2022

Eighteen months ago, the North Carolina Symphony called in an artistic advisor to help it find a music director. We said that this was an orchestra that ‘couldn’t make up its tiny mind.’

Guess what? The artistic advisor  Carlos Miguel Prieto was today named the next music director. What a surprise.

He says: ‘With a combination of great joy, gratitude, and a deep sense of responsibility, I am formalizing my partnership with the North Carolina Symphony today. I am excited to grow a relationship with its sensational musicians, staff and board, which started in 2011, when I was first invited as a guest conductor. Our recent concerts together solidified my belief that this is a world class organization – and proved to be the inspiration I so desperately needed given the difficult pandemic times. The NCS plays a central role in the life of its community, in a way I have rarely seen before. I am honored to join this community and will help, in any way I can, bring the message of hope, joy and unity that music provides, at this critical time in our lives.’


  • music lover says:

    Actually,a wise decision,and a model how search for a music director should be…Working closely for a period together,and see if it works out for both parties.

  • drummerman says:

    Great news! He deserves this and it’s nice to see him move on from the Louisiana Philharmonic, where he’s spent a good number of years. Carlos is wonderful.

  • Rafael Figueroa says:

    Carlos Miguel Prieto should start realizing that he is a conductor and should be focusing more on music not on hiring soloist to please his agents. Unfortunately that is the way he has operated for years in every orchestra he ever held a post as a music director. He hires sometimes the same soloists three to five times a year and has chased away public. Does playing with the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico before a crowd of 75 spectators sound like great and appealing concert??

  • Gerry Feinsteen says:

    I have a theory about all these administrative and musician positions (like concertmaster) not getting filled: it saves money, especially from paying the highest salary of all.

    Some orchestras wait several years to hire a concertmaster. If the salary is 400,000 per year, and they just boost an assistant concertmaster’s salary for the interim; the orchestra saves a lot of bucks. Sorry to say it, but it sure beats finding a big donor

    • CA says:

      Possibly in some cases but most orchestras in the USA are governed by a collective bargaining agreement which frequently spells out procedures and timelines for filling positions. That means that if management wants to delay filling a position, they will usually need to get the union’s permission to do so. After 18 years working under a collective bargaining agreement this is common.

  • Hedda Lettuce says:

    What are you talking about? What’s wrong with getting some outside advice?

    This appointment would actually seem to be an inspired choice, IMHO.

    Tiny mind? How about the fact that the NCS receives more taxpayer money than any other American orchestra! Man, they MUST BE STUPID HICKS!

    • Dave says:

      Agree, great choice for a hardworking orchestra. And to help Lebrecht set the record straight, CMP was not hired to assist the search. NL just straight made that up. Lol

  • Fred Funk says:

    Oh, you preferred Wes Schulz? Please consider switching from ice cream to yogurt…

    • SlippedChat says:

      On 3 June 2021, you made a similar comment about “Wes Schulz” in Slippedisc’s original thread about this orchestra’s music director search.

      What is your “issue” with this person, and what is the basis for it? As far as I can tell from online searching, he was never being considered for this directorship and isn’t among the orchestra’s guest conductors since Covid-postponed concerts resumed. Who has suggested that he should have been chosen? How is your comment relevant?

      • Outer Banks says:

        Obviously, you’re Wes Schulz.

        • SlippedChat says:

          If that was intended as humor, I enjoyed it.

          If it was intended as fact, you’re mistaken.

          Schulz was an “associate conductor” of this orchestra for several years and then, as “associate” and “assistant” conductors do, his term ended and he moved on. End of story as concerns the orchestra’s search for a new music director, in which Schulz played no part as decider or candidate. Fred Funk’s efforts (above and last June) to go off on this tangent are just a distraction from the subject of Prieto and the actual process which led to his selection.

  • Benjamin Bittern says:

    A snide comment on their hiring this fine maestro is inappropriate at best.

  • Confused says:

    By your own original reporting, Prieto was only brought into NCS to “[make] guest conductor appearances leading the orchestra” and “fill artistic duties off the podium”, not to help them find the next music director. So I’m not sure why you infer that he had anything to do with his own appointment, which surely was made by a committee???

  • Sam McElroy says:

    A great guy with a wonderful intellect, great energy, a deep family tradition in music, and a passionate commitment towards education, outreach and creativity. Congratulations, Carlos and NCS!

  • JT says:

    What is wrong with you?

  • Alejandra Arzeno Kerr says:

    ¡Felicidades Maestro Prieto!

  • BigSir says:

    So maybe Conlon will stay in Baltimore?

  • Dave says:


    The music director is selected by a committee. To suggest that there was foul play or that Prieto played a role in appointing himself to the position is negligent reporting at best, libelous at worst. Please issue a correction immediately, you are slandering a fine organization and conductor.