Breaking news: It has been announced yesterday that Valery Gergiev will succeed the incumbent Lorin Maazel in 2015 as the new music director of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. Gergiev’s initial contract with the MPhil will extend to 2020. Further details can be viewed here.
We thought that this was quite unexpected news as Maazel’s leadership started only very recently in around 2011, replacing an early-departing Christian Thielemann and conducting most of the major concerts between his departure and the start of Maazel’s official tenure in 2012. Reportedly Maazel’s initial Munich contract was 3 years, so why the Town Council of Munich didn’t extend his contract and invited Gergiev to replace him so urgently has yet to be confirmed. And why Gergiev would be lured from his beloved London Symphony Orchestra is anyone’s guess.
Looking back at the list of music directors of the Munich Philharmonic, it seems that they tended to hold shorter tenures than those in most other major orchestras. Indeed, the conductor who held their longest tenure with the MPhil (17 years only) is our beloved Sergiu Celibidache, whose philosophy helped shape their fabled Munich sound which is, unfortunately, long gone now. Indeed Celibidache would have continued conducting the orchestra were his death not to intervene.
Meanwhile, the London Symphony Orchestra has announced that Gergiev will retain the position of Principal Conductor of the LSO until the end of 2015. So here comes a question worth thinking about: Who do you hope will replace Gergiev in 2015 in the prestigious post of the principal conductor of the LSO?