Breaking: Rotterdam Phil signs maestro, 22

Breaking: Rotterdam Phil signs maestro, 22


norman lebrecht

September 13, 2022

The Rotterdam Philharmonic has swooped for the young Finnish sensation Tarmo Peltokoski, naming him permanent guest conductor from 2023.

Tarmo, 22, is music director of the Latvian National Orchestra. He makes friends easily.

Rotterdam’s music director is Lahav Shani, who is 33.

George Wiegel, general director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra: ‘Tarmo Peltokoski is an up and coming talent and has a lot to offer at his young age. Together with Lahav Shani, he fits in very well with our enormously driven orchestra. Immediately on the first acquaintance, the fire flared up between him and our orchestra. For us, and also for him, it was clear from that moment on that we would very much like to enter into a long-term collaboration.’


  • lamed says:

    Boundaries, Yuja. And affirmative consent. (He seemed surprised, just saying.)

  • Herbie says:

    How much does anyone know at 22?

    • Lars says:

      Willem Mengelberg was 24 years old when he became chief conductor of the Concertgebouworkest

      • Sven says:

        And Mengelberg didn’t know much at 24 either. There are really no shortcuts for life experience. Granted, there are a few geniuses like Kissin who can “approximate” and pull off some pretty convincing playing at an incredibly young age. But a conductor? A 22 year old conductor hasn’t experienced enough of life’s joys/tragedies. What level of intensity can he recreate in music when he’s the human equivalent of a non-threatening flower? How much has he suffered? Has he ever experienced true starvation as a musician? I have…not fun…not recommended. And this is why many musicians will work their little networks, giving each other pats on the back on social media because they don’t want to starve. That brings us to a real problem though because it should be about musical ability and not how well someone is able to play the system. The only thing wrong with classical music in 2022 is that we forgot to push down the flush lever.

    • Morgan says:

      True. Einstein was an older 26 when he published on relativity.

      • lamed says:

        Einstein was not such a good violinist, by all accounts, he couldn’t — here’s the kicker — keep time. It’s true.

        Relativity is good for physics, not so good for music.

    • David Jacobsen says:

      He knows he’s probably going to get a blowjob this evening.

    • Diane B says:

      It is certainly easier to conduct a great orchestra than a beginner’s one because in that case you have to know way more what you want musically as a result to hear from it. And let’s not forget that conducting is about capacity of complexe “cueing” and “musicality” comes and is being judged after. And “good” interpretation can be memorized by listening from very young age. So may be these young, bold, brainy talent are luckier then others when they start with experienced orchestras…

  • J Barcelo says:

    We’ve had sensational pianists, violinists, and other instrumentalists who are this young and younger, so why not a 22 year old conductor? Although “maestro” might be premature. Bruno Walter, George Szell and others had major careers when they were very young, too. It will be interesting to see in ten or twenty years if Tarmo is a flash in the pan or the real deal. Good luck!

    • Novagerio says:

      Senyor Barceló is absolutely 100% right. Some of us have experienced Horowitz (in Hamburg 1987), Arrau, Serkin, Menahem Pressler, Richter, Gilels, and the younger lions Argerich, Ashkenazy, Pollini, all Live, and not mentioning the greatest senior conductors (too long a list).
      The point is, Juya is a sensational young talent, and she will hopefully gain more in depth and insight through the years. But she’s still 35 only, and here she’s sitting with a “Maestro”, a “MAESTRO” who’s thirteen years younger than her !!

      This stinks more of brilliant market mechanism than art.
      I think most music lovers – including these young people, deserve more than this sort of publicity gimmicks. Just saying.

  • Fsm says:

    Is that Yuja swooping in as well at the news? 22 and way ahead of time

  • Anton Bruckner says:

    Klaus Makela’s younger brother?

  • amazonian says:

    A few misplaced comparisons, I guess. A young virtuoso alone at the stage with his instrument has only himself and his demons to tame.
    A young conductor has 100+ mostly older and more experienced musicians to lead and cajole into playing his vision of any particular pece of music.
    Not an easy task.
    No need to stress that all those musicians are quite opinionated; some will be on a bad day, weary and tired, while others will have a dim view of any maestro’s talent and competence to lead their orchestra into making better music than they would be able to make by themselves.
    It’s a kind of miracle that orchestras and newspapers manage to play music and go to print (or screen) day after day, on a regular schedule. Both are quite improbable organisms.

  • Kyle A Wiedmeyer says:

    A true privilege of being a young European conductor: your international career has that much more of a chance to skyrocket before many of your contemporaries are even out of school

  • Anon says:

    Young Maestro Peltokoski is actually Finnish/Filipino. His father is Finnish & his mother is from the Philippines.

  • W. L. Weller, Jr. says:

    I think it’s much easier to become a conductor of a fine orchestra such as the Rotterdam Philharmonic than it is to become a player in it.