Tuesday, January 22, 2013

And he's off...

So Valery Gergiev is going. According to Norman, he'll finish with the LSO in 2016 and is strongly tipped to be heading for the well-moneyed Munich Philharmonic.  [UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 23 JAN, 5PM: it's confirmed. Munich Phil has got VG, with a five-year contract: 2015-20.]

Do you have any idea how much public subsidy that city puts into its arts? It's enough to make Keynes weep. The opera house alone gets well over E100m every year. The orchestra of the Bayerische Rundfunk is one of the finest I have ever heard in all my years of hanging out with orchestras, easily as good as Berlin, possibly better than Vienna. The townsfolk of Munich love their culture and regard classical music and opera as an accepted part of daily life, which is where it should be. The Munich Philharmonic can afford the best - and it makes sure it gets the best. Oh, and Germany just increased its arts budget. If the biggest musical stars in the world head for where the money is, we shouldn't be remotely surprised.

As for the LSO - well, looks like this timing won't work for Rattle, so a range of other brilliant and probably younger maestri will be lining up for the UK's top job. I can think of three or four seriously good candidates without trying too hard, of whom two are Russian, one is English and one is - ah, but that would give it away. (Meanwhile Solti is now waiting for two phone calls. He says there's no reason that he couldn't do both Berlin and London, being that sort of cat.)

The person at the top of my wish-list is a little different. I don't know if he'd be in the running, since I'm not sure he's conducted the LSO before. But we can dream, can't we, and I urge anyone who has the chance to get to the Manchester Camerata, the Verbier Chamber Orchestra or the Budapest Festival Orchestra (where he's Ivan Fischer's second-in-command) to grab a concert with this amazing, inspirational man.