Concertgebouw chief quits after just two years

Concertgebouw chief quits after just two years


norman lebrecht

February 03, 2023

just as we thought the orchestra was stabilising, it seems the swing doors are still working.

toyda, Artistic Director Ulrike Niehoff said she will leave the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at the end of this season.

She said: ‘I am proud of what we have achieved together during my time as Artistic Director of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The orchestra is in glowing form and in Klaus Mäkelä has its next Chief Conductor to lead it into an extraordinarily promising future. Nevertheless, I have decided to continue my career elsewhere and will communicate on this at a later stage. I am very grateful for the productive collaboration with our Governing Board, my colleagues in the Managing Board, all staff members and, especially, all the musicians of this wonderful orchestra.’


  • CA says:

    It is sad to say but I would not count on an administrative career with an orchestra or anything having to do with the arts. It is simply too risky in today’s economy and in a society that places priorities on so many things ahead of culture which enriches our lives but is increasingly seen as unnecessary. What kind of a world are we creating?

  • K says:

    I know nothing concerning this person or departure. What i DO know is if one (Klaus) signs up, enthusiastic about a leadership team, and such an important person leaves.. it can be very unsettling. Best result is he is entirely involved in the hiring of the new AD….hope it works that way.

  • trumpetherald says:

    The orchestra is very stable. It’s absolutely world class, as ever.

  • John says:

    Speaks volumes.

  • Curious says:

    Staatskapelle Dresden calling?

  • caranome says:

    The usual PR pap: I’m so proud of our achievements, everything is wonderful here, I couldn’t be happier, only great things will continue to happen, but I’m leaving…

  • Thomas says:

    Niehoff’s approach: “an artistic vision that unites the orchestra’s legacy with its commitment to diversity and inclusion”
    Niehoff’s achievements: “a series of outstanding successes”
    Niehoff and her fellow board members: “proud and grateful of our productive collaboration”
    Niehoff’s RCO: “a wonderful orchestra in glowing form”
    Niehoff’s prognosis: “everything looks extraordinarily promising”

    Niehoff’s reasons for leaving: “I’m not ready to talk”

    What a peculiar strategy. Niehoff is leaving, people will wonder why, so let’s provide a great fanfare of self-congratulation and aggressively beg the question that we’re not going to answer.

    Why announce now and explain later? Can’t explain or don’t want to? Pushed out or pulled away?

    I think the RCO is great, even though I never cared for the syrupy tone of voice they seem to prefer in all their communications. But there’s a difference between sounding a bit too jubilant for my taste and this ludicrous attempt to hide the elephant in the room in a blizzard of superlatives.

    Can we also get a few players from the orchestra to share their thoughts about this? Anonymity guaranteed if that helps to talk frankly.

  • Bulgakov says:

    Press releases announcing a departure after such a short time are never transparent. But it’s not so difficult to read between the lines, is it? It’s more about what is not stated. If someone leaves such a prestigious position after just two years, you can usually assume that there was some conflict at play. It’s worth remembering that the Concertgebouworkest, for all its great history and rightful standing as one of the greatest orchestras in the world, has for decades had a rather bad reputation as a toxic institution. Rattle refuses to return, it took years for Chailly to be convinced to come back to guest conduct, and in 2014 Haitink cut ties with them – not because of the players, but in protest against the board and administration. There’s a lot of rot there, and it’s probably not a place that is going to change any time soon. This could well have been a factor in Niehoff’s decision to leave, I reckon.

  • Manu says:

    It was a scandal in the first place such a mediocre and unexperienced person would be placed in front of artistic department of this historical orchestra. Says all about mediocre “Burokraten” level of artistic management today in many musical institutions. The younger generation lacks passion, respect and love for the great music and proof managerial skills but no real artistic criteria.
    Would be also nice one day to spot on the Austrian lobby in music management, many linked at one point to the Konzerthaus Wien:
    Annette Mangold (Berliner Philharmoniker)
    Stephan Gehmacher (Luxemburg) Ulrike Niehoff (Concertgebouworkest) Nikolaus Pont (BRSO) Johannes Neubert (Orchestre Nationale France) Christoph Lieben (Elbphilharmonie) Matthias Schulz (Staatsoper Berlin).

    • Bulgakov says:

      Wow, you sound like a really happy person! What an axe you seem to be grinding…And your post reveals you to be a conspiracy-minded crackpot. ‘Austrian lobby’? You should also get your facts right. Both Niehoff and Johannes Neubert are German, not Austrian. Niehoff worked for the Wiener Symphoniker, not the Konzerthaus, and no one could seriously claim she is inexperienced with a glance at her biography.

      • Manu says:

        Thank you for calling me unhappy just for the sakes of a comment. Ms Niehoff and Mr Neubert do not have Austrian nationality but have developed all their carrier at Austrian institutions, and I wrote “many” not “all” of them were linked to the Konzerthaus. (The Wiener Symphoniker has its own series there, by the way). Maybe you want to read right other people’s statements before reacting with insults. Thank you for your attention.

  • Henrik says:

    So glad this extreme feminist and cultural marxist with extreme leftist views is gone. Time for a man with good common sense ideas!