3 more names in Chicago frame

3 more names in Chicago frame


norman lebrecht

March 26, 2022

Our informant at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has found three more guest conductors in the coming season who might be candidates for music director.

They are: Edward Gardner, Jacob Hrusa and Vladimir Jurowski.

Gardner is hotly fancied for the Covent Garden vacancy and the Czech Hrusa has been unexplicably overlooked by the New York Philharmonic.

The intriguing candidate, though, is Jurowski, who made an acclaimed Chicago debut in 2010 and has apparently not returned. Jurowski is presently music director of Bavarian State Opera and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.

He will conduct 3 concerts in April 2023, featuring Shostakovich 7.

He could certainly combine Munich and Chicago.

It’s all to play for.


  • CSOA Insider says:

    My dream would be to hear Maestro Jurowski conduct Shostakovich 7 in Chicago.

    • Andy says:

      Has he made any development or progress since his skyrocketing debut though? Isn’t it all the same energetic gestures will little substance? Can he ask strings to sing or talk to the audience about the magic of music? (I mean conductingwise of course, I know he is more then willing to TALK to both the audience and orchestra about quote-unquote music meaning – much to the detriment of both rehearsals and concerts and also – at least in my analysis trying to compensate for lack of meaning and true deep grasp in his conducting).

      His tenure in Svetlanov’s orchestra made strings definitely less singing all be it more precise – something he is famous for, his Berlin orchestra didn’t produce any significant contributions to city’s music life as for my ear and his opera house I suspend my judgement on, I don’t know enough about opera and I think those institutions are quite insular and independent to music director’s influence.

  • Rob says:

    What’s so good about Chicago anyway?


  • pjl says:

    Ed Gardner has the LPO and soon the Norwegian Opera (after Bergen) and Chicago are reluctant to programme English music (when I went to Chicago to hear Sir Mark do Elgar 1 he noted they had not played it for very many years). But Jurowski would surely bring a refreshingly wide repertoire after Muti.

    • Tom Phillips says:

      Well its certainly not of the caliber of German music – at least the type the CSO regularly performs.

  • Lothario Hunter says:

    “At first I was afraid, I was petrified
    Kept thinking I could never live without Ricky by my side
    But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong
    And I grew strong
    And I learned how to get along
    And so you’re back
    From Italy
    I just walked in to find you here with that no-smile look upon your face
    I should have changed that stupid number, I should have blocked your whole ID
    If I’d known for just one second you’d be back to bother me

    Go on now, go, walk out the door
    Just turn around now
    ‘Cause you’re not welcome in Chicago anymore

    We will survive, hey, hey”


  • Chicagorat says:

    This informant surely knows how to rat stuff out. I’m completely undone.

    But Boy, Alexander sails a very leaky ship.

  • Greg Bottini says:


  • Cynical Bystander says:

    Well, given his absence from the pit in his first season as music director at BSO he should have no problem fitting in another gig.

  • waw says:

    So, still no Rattle?

    Even if there is zero chance of Rattle considering an American adventure, has Rattle ever conducted Chicago? It’d be nice to pair them up just once to hear them make some music together by the lake…

    • NYMike says:

      Jurovsky and Rattle both guested in Philly in the past with great acclaim.

      • Robin Mitchell-Boyask says:

        Rattle was sort-of offered Philadelphia; he probably would have accepted principal guest, but management dropped that ball big time. Jurowski was offered Philadelphia, but declined, due to the age of his children. Sometimes I wonder whether if management had tried harder they could have worked something out. I wished he’d start returning, and Rattle, as they get a better sound than YNS does. So does Luisi.

    • kuma says:

      he’s too old.

  • Do it says:

    Jurowski is one of the most interesting, exciting, and brilliant living musicians / artists. Jurowski/Chicago would be legendary.

  • Fernandel says:

    Shostakovich’s 7th falls within film music. Even my baker might convince.

  • Fernandel says:

    Gardner ? McEnroe would bark: “you can’t be serious !!!”

  • Fernandel says:

    Hrusa ? At the moment an honorable, conscientious second fiddle.

  • Fernandel says:

    I love imagining what Acidy Cassidy would write about 90% of this short-list…

    • Max Raimi says:

      The story goes that there were hundreds of letters protesting Cassidy’s vicious attacks on Rafael Kubilek when he was CSO Music Director. (Parenthetically, I got to Chicago in time to read some of Cassidy’s pieces in “Chicago” Magazine, and had the extraordinary privilege of playing under Kubilek a couple of times. Cassidy had about as much business passing judgement on Kubilek as the composer of “My Baby Does the Hanky Panky” has evaluating the St. Matthew Passion.)
      But I digress. Apparently somebody went to old Colonel McCormick, who still ran the Trib, alarmed at all the negative mail.
      McCormick supposedly said, “Let me get this straight. We are getting hundreds of letters about…the CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC? Give her a raise.”

  • Evan Tucker says:

    Jurowski is ultimately great. He’s a little frosty but he makes up in transparency what he lacks in warmth. He can and does prepare literally anything and give a first class performance. It would be magnificent to have him leading a great America orchestra. Gardner has a repertoire just as large but he’s…. well he’s not Jurowski. But Jurowski is kind of wasted in America where there will be some limitations on his repertoire and his not particularly demonstrative personality will not be well-received by stupid donors.

    Hrusa’s a ‘deep’ like Giulini or Klemperer, they rarely do well here… His particular gifts would be wasted in America.

    Thielemann would be picketed to the point of mid-concert protests, he wouldn’t last six months…

    Alsop was in my hometown for 15 years, and she’s better than anybody gives her credit for, but Ravinia is exactly where she belongs and where she can do all the big ideas she runs as well as anyone in the profession. In six years America’s most prestige obsessed orchestra would run her out of town on railroad tracks.

    Honeck needs to stay in Pittsburgh where he can put the capstone on a legendary orchestral partnership.

    Shani and Makkela have barely conducted yet! Nobody even knows if they can do more than 25 pieces well!

    Sondergard would be an interesting pick and one has to figure he will be snapped up by some American orchestra soon, but WHY IS NOBODY MENTIONING PAAVO JARVI?!?!?!?

    Jarvi lives in Cincinnati! He’s the ideal candidate for 100 reasons and he’s ready for a huge appointment. He has a huge repertoire, does all of it well, but he can court donors and is clearly a workaholic. He’s exactly what a major American orchestra needs.

  • MacroV says:

    I like them all, but none yet seems to me to be the Grand Old Man that the CSO usually demands.

  • Conductitect says:

    Still surprised that EPS is nowhere in all this speculation – he’s been one of the most consistent CSO guests. Nearly everything I’ve ever heard Thielemann do is a rigid snooze fest.

  • Taka Gander says:

    Why aren’t they hiring an American?

  • RichinCA says:

    As mentioned previously in response to an earlier article on this subject, Hrusa guest-conducted the New York Phillharmonic last November to favorable reviews, one saying he brought joy back to the concerts that week. My earlier comment included a link to the New York Times review too.

  • Thomas M. says:

    I hope Gardner is smart enough to take the Royal Opera post, and Jurowski (son of the recently deceased Mikhail Jurowski) to stay in Munich and Berlin. Better to deal with European cultural red tape and be free to program what you want than to kowtow to commercial interests and reactionary foundations that want you only to conduct Tchaikowsky, Mahler and Bruckner.

  • Don Ciccio says:

    One big name that is missing is Pappano, who did conduct the CSO, though not recently.

    A former music director of Covent Garden did miracles in the past in Chicago. Just saying… (though my first choice would still be Honeck).

    • Fernandel says:

      Pappano is a not great but good opera conductor. Honeck is a better symphony conductor but, soon 64, should stop mimicking Carlos Kleiber.