By Robert D. Thomas
Southern California News Group
Just when it seemed as if the orchestral music director carousel had spun to a stop comes word that the retirement of two leaders will crank up the engine again.
David Robertson, (right) the Santa Monica native who has led the St. Louis Symphony since 2005, has announced that he will step down from that post at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 season. In a STORY in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robertson said, “I think my sell-by date has come and I think it’s important not to overstay one’s welcome.”
Robertson continues as music director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia. He lives in New York City his wife, pianist Orli Shaham, and their 9-year-old twin sons, Nathan and Alex. SLSO officials must have breathed a sigh in relief last spring when the New York Philharmonic chose Jaap van Zweden as that orchestra’s next music director. A premature sigh, as it turned out.
A frequent collaborator with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Robertson will return to conduct the Phil on April 20, 22 and 23 in a program that will include music by Ives and Dvorak, as wall as the west coast premiere of Christopher Rouse’s Organ Concerto, with Paul Jacobs as soloist. INFO
Meanwhile, Haaretz, Israel’s oldest newspaper, is reporting HERE that Zubin Mehta will retire from his position as Music Director-for-life of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in October 2018. The decision will end a 55-year formal relationship between the now-80-year-old Mehta and the ensemble to which he was appointed music director in 1969 and lifetime music director in 1981.
Mehta was music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1962 to 1978 and will return to lead the Phil at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Jan. 13, 14 and 15 in a program of Richard Strauss’ tone poem Ein Heldenleben and the west coast premiere of the Sitar Concerto No. 2 Raga Mala by Ravi Shankar, with Shankar’s daughter, Ankoushka, as soloist. INFO
One conductor coming to the end of a transition, Bramwell Tovey (right), returns to Disney Hall to lead the L.A. Phil in a typically cheeky program on January 5, 7 and 8. The program includes Sir William Walton’s Façadce Suite, No. 2, Sibelius’ Violin Concerto (with Ray Chen as soloist) and the second act of Tchaikovsky’s ballet Sleeping Beauty. INFO
Tovey has been music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra since 2000. In the fall of 2018, the VSO’s centenary year, he will become the orchestra’s Music Director Emeritus. He also served as Principal Guest Conductor of the LAPO at Hollywood Bowl for several years.
Tovey is a noted composer. In 2014 his trumpet concerto, Songs of the Paradise Saloon, was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Alison Balsom as soloist. The work ended up in Tovey’s opera, The Inventor, which commissioned by Calgary Opera and premiered in January 2011.
(c) Copyright 2016, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.