Challenges of choosing a conductor in the 21st century

Posted on: March 6, 2015

“The New York Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestras in Washington, DC are about to grapple with taste in repertoire, age, nationality, race, gender, fundraising skills, and musicianship as they look for successors to Alan Gilbert and Christoph Eschenbach,” write Brian Wise and Naomi Lewin on Wednesday (3/4) at New York radio station WQXR’s website. The article links to a podcast discussion of the chief considerations in choosing music director, among New York Times classical music critic Zachary Woolfe, NPR Music classical music writer Anastasia Tsioulcas, and IMG Artists senior vice president Nick Matthias. “For Matthias, ‘chemistry must be evident right from the word go.’ … Woolfe emphasizes the importance of fundraising and outreach skills…. Some observers have suggested that New York or Washington would benefit from a woman or minority conductor in order to better reflect their diverse communities. Tsioulcas notes that while women conductors have made particular strides among regional orchestras, ‘I’m not sure that anyone—aside from a couple very established [women] conductors—is established enough to pivot into such a prominent role as the New York Philharmonic. We may still be a decade or more away from that, I’m sorry to say.’ ”

Posted March 6, 2015


Pictured: Arturo Toscanini