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Who Will Replace Alan Gilbert at the New York Philharmonic? [DARK HORSE EDITION]

By K. Young k.young@classicalite.com on Jun 10, 2015 09:05 PM EDT

As Classicalite and pretty much every other classical outlet in Christendom reported earlier this year, the New York Philharmonic's intrepid MD, Alan Gilbert, will step down from both job and podium in 2017. However, with questions concerning the orchestra's home, David Geffen's Playhouse (i.e. Avery Fisher Hall), and its exorbitant costs of renovation, the question is not who will replace Gilbert.

A better query...who still wants the NYPO job?

Despite the Phil's longtime reputation as a conductor's graveyard for mistreating maestros, it remains an incredible string band, playing brilliantly--when it wishes to do so, that is. Alas, the whole DGC Hall Avery Fisher Hall thing may not provide further allure for job applicants.

Remember, Classicalites, Cleveland's head coach George Szell once called Avery Fisher Hall an "acoustic failure." Even after its renovations in 1963, he took it a step further when he opined: "Imagine a woman...lame, a hunchback, cross-eyed and with two warts. They've removed the warts."

Candid, indeed, Mr. Szell.

As Forward duly notes, there are many talented and capable hands up to the task. Rather than rehash some of the more obvious and even a few long-shot candidates--Simon Rattle, Marin Alsop, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Pablo Heras-Casado, all of which you can vote for in our homepage poll--let's have but a cursory gander at some truly dark horses.

Because, yeah, why not?

Peter Oundijan--the Canadian violinist is currently with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, so prying him away would be difficult. But not impossible, per se.

Another candidate for the position, but nearly impossible to get, is principal guest conductor of London's Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Murray Perahia. Perahia studied conducting at Mannes College in Gotham and is a veteran pianist who learned the stick from a most notable mentor, Chicago's Georg Solti.

Hungarian-Jewish pianist Andras Schiff, who at 61 might be a little too old to follow someone with the zest of maestro Gilbert, has worked closely with conductors such as the late Sándor Végh, acquiring his own merrily exuberant approach to the podium art. Of course, the New York Philharmonic is mos def a higher-pressure gig, with more visible responsibility than any of the aforementioned ensembles.

In the end, or at least until Gilbert took over, the New York Philharmonic has a history of hiring overpaid ancients who only produce conventional series of concerts with no spontaneity--much like the New York Yankees.

I mean, Pierre Boulez is 90 years old. Has anyone given him a call back?

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TagsAlan Gilbert, New York Philharmonic, Peter Oundjian, Murray Perahia, Andras Schiff

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