Julian Rachlin becomes chief conductor

Julian Rachlin becomes chief conductor


norman lebrecht

November 30, 2022

The Vilna-born, Vienna-based violinist has been named Chief Conductor of Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra in Norway.

The orchestra comprises 71 full-time musicians from 17 nations.

Julian, 47, says: ‘I’m honoured and deeply moved by the trust the orchestra has placed in me following my five seasons as their Principal Guest Conductor.’

Like many violinists in their forties, he has swapped the grind of daily bowing for the cut and thrust of baton work.


  • Simon Scott says:

    Julian Rachlin is far too good a violinist to need to jump ship particularly at this stage in his career.

    • Tamino says:

      Maybe he is a good violinist, but why doesn’t he show it then? Lately he plays like a 2nd rate conservatory student.

  • Achim Mentzel says:

    Gosh, couldn’t they find a real conductor instead of one of these wannabe tacticians who fulfil their lust for power through the baton? Haven’t we had enough of these total failures a la Znaider, Tjeknavorian, Kavakos and Braunstein?

    • Gautier says:

      You are forgetting Renaud C.

    • GEwart says:

      Life is all about failure. At least a few achieve success in death.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      What do think ‘real conductors’ start out as?

      • Petros Linardos says:

        They used to start as correpetitors and then worked their way up from lesser to greater opera houses. I believe Pappano and Thielemann are among the few current stars who still did it that way.

    • Nathaniel Rosen says:

      There are always more candidates eager to show their incompetence. They are smart, because there are always prodigious young instrumentalists nipping at their heels and bad conducting is easy and profitable.

    • Tamino says:

      It‘s not about power. But as long as mediocre conductors command higher weekly fees than good soloists, the soloists will be tempted to jump ship, with their agent‘s support.

      • Simon Scott says:

        @ Tamino,
        The position he has attained is in Norway. The taxman will steal a good dollop of his earnings. Not much incentive to stay I would say.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      I never understood why Andrew Manze dropped the violin, though I have heard wonderful recondings of his as a conductor.

    • alexis piantedoux says:

      do not forget M. Vengerov ….a fine instrumentalist that become fine conductor is an exception

      • Micaela Bonetti says:

        Eccome!, Mr Piantedoux!
        And how skilled in both artistic fields, plus, as masterclasses’ teacher as well!

  • Wahlberliner says:

    Vilnius, not Vilna, Mr Lebrecht.

  • Nathaniel Rosen says:

    “Cut and thrust” produces more money than “daily bowing” and is ever so much easier.

  • amazonian says:

    Well, well, what about percussionists swapping the daily grind of thumping and scraping for the ease of baton work (Rattle)?
    Or double bass players tired of carryng around that small boat load of polished wood and a big bow (Mehta) ?
    Or singers happy to rest their exhausted lungs and throats (Hannigan, Stutzmann)?
    Not forgetting young Arturo Toscanini, then a cellist, that one day in the 1880s, in Rio the Janeiro, led his touring orchestra, entirely from memory, through a full staging of Aida, after a spat with their maestro?
    People will have to learn to play one instrument, whatever, before jumping to the podium. And I’m not sure we can say that taking the responsability for the performance of one hundred musicians is much “easier” than concentrating only on one’s single instrument.