Baton break: Vienna Philharmonic principal is named chief conductor in France

Baton break: Vienna Philharmonic principal is named chief conductor in France


norman lebrecht

July 19, 2022

The principal second violinist of the Vienna Philharmonic, Christoph Koncz, was today appointed chief conductor of the Orchestre symphonique de Mulhouse in France.

Koncz, who played the child prodigy in the film The Red Violin, was appointed principal of the Vienna Phil in 2008, aged 20.

He will now probably have to give up his day job and return the Strad that is on loan to him from Austria’s national bank.

He is agented by HarrisonParrott in London.


  • Günther Kraus says:

    Outstanding musician, soloist, violinist. Congratulations on a wonderful appointment.

  • Gustavo says:

    I like to remember Thomas Koncz as GMD in Konstanz back in the 90s.

    Good old days.

  • simon says:

    Never heard of that film….

  • Axl says:

    Or maybe not! There’s 3 principals (actually 2 at this moment because Tibor Kovac moved to tutti second violins) and 3 associate principals in their second violin section so he can do other jobs.
    And being a chief conductor doesn’t mean that you are every week/season in your orchestra

    • Gustavo says:

      Many Philharmoniker pick up part-time jobs, e.g. honorary professorships, or they give master classes.

    • Marie says:

      Does someone know why Tibor Kovac moved to tutti violins ? I noticed the fact and was surprised by it.

      • Axl says:

        Usually orchestra musician’s contract has on opinion that if you are principal or associate principal – you can move “down” in your section with the same salary of principal/associate principal when:

        – No 1. You have turned 50
        – No 2. You have served that particular orchestra at least 15-20 years
        – No 3. There’s open position in your section by retirement or player has left to another job

        Of course that might be a bit different in each orchestra / country but that’s my country’s example. But that’s so common especially here in Europe.

        One good example is Tamás Velenczei who played principal trumpet in Berlin Phil between 2000-2018 and when then 2nd trumpet retired, he was moving that vacant 2nd chair.

        So I’m guessing that Mr. Kovac felt that now it might be good time to take section position / lighter job, when there was at least 2-3 retirement in his section.

  • Harlan says:

    Or perhaps he’s just tired of playing second fiddle.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    Oh, dear boy, please don’t. Stay in the orchestra.

    • Tamino says:

      more money in conducting. that’s why so many try. From great instrumentalists turning into horrible conductors, Ottensamer, Kavakos, Znaider, many more…

      Just don’t do it please!