Just in: Michael Tilson Thomas successor is named

Just in: Michael Tilson Thomas successor is named


norman lebrecht

September 30, 2022

Message received:

The Board of Trustees of the New World Symphony (NWS) announces the appointment of Stéphane Denève as its new Artistic Director. Mr. Denève begins his commitment in the 2022/23 season and will be the second Artistic Director in the 35-year history of the organization. He will succeed co-founder Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) who will continue his leadership of NWS as Artistic Director Laureate.

Not an obvious choice.


  • Leonīds Vigners says:

    Nor a good one

    • OverYNS says:

      Could not say it better myself. I hope those kids can teach him how to conduct a professional orchestra! Hate to be so ugly, but…

  • trumpetherald says:

    Great choice!!!Fabulous conductor,infectious,enthusiastic,inspiring,warm and funny person.

  • MacroV says:

    Not obvious, but seems like a good one. A conductor of his stature willing to take it on is admirable, since it basically takes the place of leading another orchestra or opera house and I assume for far less pay (and time on stage).

    But you’re plugged into the next generation of top orchestral talent.

    • Anon! A Moose! says:

      “A conductor of his stature willing to take it on is admirable”

      I’m not sure it’s a sacrifice. I’d bet quite a bit a ton of conductors both great and lousy were salivating over the fact that it’s an excellent NON-UNION orchestra, kept perpetually young and naive, and you can kinda just treat them however you want and it’s ok because it’s “educational”.

      I’m pleasantly surprised by the choice.

    • Guest 123 says:

      If you look at the 990 from 2020 it appears MTT was paid around $680k. That’s a sizable sum…

  • Evan Tucker says:

    Not an obvious choice but a wonderful one.

  • M2N2K says:

    Maybe not obvious, but it is a fine choice.

  • ira says:


  • John says:

    Terrible choice.

  • J Barcelo says:

    I’m actually surprised: a white, European male. SF is known for its cutting-edge wokeness. They didn’t choose a woman, a Black or Latino, a disabled or member of the LGBTQ community. Nope, they went with the old standard: white, male, European who just happens to be a very fine conductor.

    • Imbrod says:

      NWS is a training orchestra located in Miami, Florida. What does San Francisco have to do with it–even if the orchestra was founded by MTT?

      • MWnyc says:

        And the San Francisco Symphony chose a male European conductor as music director, and most people who cared seemed pretty happy about it.

      • Ludwig's Van says:

        The NWS was founded at a time when MTT couldn’t get arrested (which incidentally he once was, for drug possession, at NYC’s Kennedy Airport in 1977). The arrest triggered MTT’s sudden “resignation” from the Buffalo Philharmonic, after which he guest-conducted for 11 years – during which period numerous American orchestras changed MD’s – but they all passed over MTT. CBS Masterworks lobbied tirelessly on behalf of MTT for every MD opening (particularly in Los Angeles & Pittsburgh) with no luck whatever (despite the lure of a recording contract), so the NWS served as a vehicle to resurrect MTT’s career.

  • Hal Sacks says:

    What about St. Louis?He was just appointed music director there. Sure he can do both.

  • Singeril says:

    EXCELLENT choice. His exuberance and passion for the repertoire is infectious. He will set a a wonderful example for the young musicians…respect the repertoire and share the joy. Bravo, NWS.

  • Thomas M. says:

    Excellent choice. Denève is a fine conductor.

  • Stephen Lipton says:

    Stephane is an excellent choice….musical, vibrant, personable and tolerant…was a great conductor to work with when he was MD at RSNO…MTT and NWS have made an excellent choice

  • stephen says:

    As someone who attends the St. louis Symphony, i hope he leaves for Miami quickly. We’ve had quite a few better MD’s and his repertoire is limited, and his humor is ?.

  • Will says:

    Massively underwhelming…

  • Piston1 says:

    The most underwhelming news I’ve heard all day. When one thinks of the Americans who could have been offered the post……so much for a “New World” Symphony. It’s just the same old thing: one more second-rung white European getting a choice American job, all under the veneer of DEI and MeToo.