By Robert D. Thomas
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily
In what is either a prudent or remarkably forward-looking
decision, the Los Angeles Philharmonic has named Lionel Bringuier as its Resident
Conductor, an appointment extending through the 2012-2013 season. He’s the
first person to hold this title in the Phil’s nearly century-long history.
The 24-year-old Bringuier joined the Phil four years ago as its
youngest-ever assistant conductor. Tonight he concludes his two-year stint as
associate conductor when he leads the orchestra in a Hollywood Bowl program of
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, with Yuja
Wang as soloist (INFO).
Exactly what this new appointment means is unclear, i.e., is
this merely a continuation of Bringuier’s associate conductor role with a new
title and, presumably, a raise or does it portend a more significant long-term
relationship? At a minimum, it gives the Phil a major talent as a backup to
Music Director Gustavo Dudamel. On the other hand, conductors holding this title
in other orchestras often lead several weeks of concerts each year. Orchestral
musicians love this because they enjoy working with conductors on more than a
one-week or even two-week a year basis and, based on results, the Phil
musicians respond beautifully to Bringuier’s podium style.
Tonight is Bringuier’s only scheduled concert at the Bowl
this summer and he’s not on the schedule for the upcoming Walt Disney Concert
Hall season — although, since soloists, conductors and programs are always
subject to change — he might make an unscheduled appearance. Given the timing
of the announcement, we won’t know what the long-term ramifications will be until
future seasons are unveiled.
Nonetheless, the appointment continues a relationship between
Bringuier and the Philharmonic that has blossomed wonderfully in the four
years. HERE’S my review of his concert last February at Disney Hall; it’s
typical of what the young conductor has accomplished during his four years with
Bringuier’s most famous moment came in May 2010 when he took
over mid-concert from an injured Gustavo Dudamel and led an inspired account of
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (here’s a LINK to Mark Swed’s Los Angeles Times review of that night
and one written by Timothy Mangan of the Orange County Register is HERE). BTW:
I was scheduled to review the next morning’s performance; by then, Gustavo was
back on the podium.
At a minimum, today’s appointment gives Bringuier a chance
to continue growing professionally while he continues in his role as music
director of the Orquesta Sinfnica de Castilla y Len in Valladolid, Spain,
where he conducted 10 weeks during the past season. The two-year term also
gives him the freedom to see what unfolds in the near future.
Today’s media release said all the predictably correct
things. Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, who recently announced his own contract
extension with the organization through the 2018/19 centennial season of the
orchestra, said, “It’s a very exciting time for our Los Angeles Philharmonic
family, and to have Lionel continue with us in his new role makes me very
happy. He is a wonderful colleague and creative partner.”
LAPO President and CEO Deborah Borda added, “We first met
Lionel when he was 19, and we knew we’d come across a very special musician.
He’s developed into an extraordinary artist, and is now in demand all over the
world. In recognition of this, we are delighted that he will continue with us
in this specially created new position of Resident Conductor.”
Bringuier stated, “The Los Angeles Philharmonic has allowed
me to grow and develop as a musician and it’s a pleasure to extend that
relationship in a place that I consider home. I’m also honored to continue to
be able to work with Gustavo, and be able to learn from him.”
Now let’s see what the future will bring.
(c) Copyright 2011, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.