2020 MUSICAL AMERICA DIRECTORY 43
Year in music
as principal conductor for a five-year term, beginning
with the 2021-22 season. He succeeds Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Rouvali is currently principal guest conductor. The or-
chestra’s managing director, Helen Sprott, elected to
step down after two years in the job. During her short
time with the Philharmonia she was credited with
launching the Negaunee Conducting Program at the
The Vienna Philharmonic announced the launch of a
training academy for a dozen students aged 12 to 26. At
the other end of the age scale, the orchestra voted to give
honorary membership to Bernard Haitink, who turned 90
in March and announced his retirement from the podium
after several onstage falls. Deciding against a planned
sabbatical year, the conductor indicated that his last
concert would be at the Lucerne Festival in September.
Nicholas Collon was named the first non-Finnish
chief conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony, starting
fall 2021. The Royal Concertgebouw launched a youth
orchestra, Concertgebouworkest Young, which debuted in
Amsterdam and Brussels in late August.
The organ at Notre Dame Cathedral survived the fire
that badly damaged the Paris landmark, though extensive
repair work was necessary. The Vienna Philharmonic said
it would donate the proceeds of a concert in Berlin to the
reconstruction of the building.
Plans were released for London’s proposed multi-
million-pound Centre for Music by the chosen archi-
tects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the team responsible for
opening up Lincoln Center. Simon Rattle’s dream venue,
a new home for the London Symphony Orchestra, is
planned for the site currently occupied by the Museum
The southwest London suburb of Wimbledon, home of
lawn tennis, also an-nounced plans for a new venue, a 1,250-
seat concert hall to be designed by Frank Gehry, who lost out
to Diller Scofidio + Renfro for the LSO hall. The Wimbledon
hall was costed at $84 million tops, some way short of the
Centre for Music’s $386 million.
Edinburgh was also planning a new venue, local coun-
cilors narrowly approving construction of the city’s first new
concert hall in 100 years. The $59 million Dunard Centre
is to become home to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and
selected Edinburgh Festival performances.
The new $346 million Xiqu Centre in Hong Kong was
the subject of controversy shortly after opening, the top
executive of the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong
stating that only a few companies would be able to afford
to perform there.
In Rome, Monsignor Massimo Palombella, appointed
director of the Sistine Chapel Choir by the Pope in 2010,
accusations of sexual assault, to conduct Berlioz’s The
Damnation of Faust at the Paris Philharmonie, stating that
he was the only conductor with the necessary skills available
at short notice after the scheduled conductor pulled out
for medical reasons. The decision was roundly condemned
by retired French soprano Anne-Sophie Schmidt, one of
Dutoit’s accusers, who said she lamented the “powerful
and catastrophic message” it sends to victims of assault.
Dutoit denies wrongdoing and has faced no charge.
Daniel Barenboim came under fire in Berlin for his
London’s Philharmonia Orchestra swapped one Finn
“temperamental” directing style, one former member of
the Staatsoper stating that he had taken anti-depressants
to be able to play again following what he saw as 16 years
of harassment by the conductor. Barenboim hit back,
questioning the timing of the claims, saying, “Why did the
accusations not emerge previously, but only now? In my
view, it’s linked to a campaign to prevent me from staying
on in Berlin.”
British orchestras became increasingly concerned
about the likely results of the Brexit saga. Adding to the
woes of losing as much as 30 percent of Arts Council
England funding, the political uncertainty meant losing
European dates, not knowing what future work permits
might look like or what impact future customs arrange-
ments might have on the movement of instruments, and
what additional costs might come about from the loss
of access to the European health insurance card. The
situation could put some well-known orchestras at risk,
Parliament was told.
for another, naming 33-year-old Santtu-Matias Rouvali
Finnish conductor Santtu-Matias rouvali, 33, will succeed his fellow
countryman Esa-Pekka Salonen at the helm of Britain’s Philharmonia
Orchestra in 2021-22. Photo: © AUDI AG.