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Side Notes: Marin Alsop A Nova Regente em São Paulo

As reported on the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo's website and by Tim Smith in the Baltimore Sun's blog ("Clef Notes"), Marin Alsop is the new principal conductor in São Paulo. She will succeed interim director Yan Pascal Tortelier who was crucial in helping the orchestra (OSESP) through a difficult time following the over-night dismissal of long-time leader and orchestra-builder John Neschling... but without every achieving mutual happiness.

The OSESP, commonly agreed on as the best South American orchestra (one of its great assets being the sublime concert hall, the Sala São Paulo, pictured to the right), had long been looking for a suitable successor for Tortelier and at long last they have settled on Marin Alsop. An earlier and fairly advanced attempt to get Kristjan Järvi failed when the orchestra's administration did not want to cede any powers currently held by the Artistic Director (Arthur Nestrovski) to him. Marin Alsop, no newcomer to very fine, but somewhat off-the-beaten path orchestras, evidently did not desire, demand, or require any (artistic) control beyond what already comes with being principal conductor.

Marin Alsop will remain in her position at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and, as BSO CEO Paul Meecham, pointed out, "the wonderful thing is that, being in the Souther Hemisphere, [OSESP's] winter/spring season is totally complementary to the BSO's schedule." "Totally" might be going a bit far, but it will do much to ameliorate the 10-plus hour flights that would make jetting back and forth on a regular basis more or less impossible.

São Paulo, the OSESP, and their time with Tortelier will be the subject of a Classical WETA column in April: Musical Excursions: São Paulo


Anonymous said...

So what was exactly the reason why John Neschling was dismissed? His partnership with the orchestra was a strong one; in fact, he's the one who built it - although his predecessor, Eleazar de Carvalho, was no slouch either.

Was this another instance of the board wanting too much control?

jfl said...

Apparently Neschling made political mistakes; started attacking the hands that had fed him... was caught on camera (by a player) chewing out Governor Jose Serra. Shortly thereafter, he was gone. He had, at that point, become a little carried away in general (players from the orchestra told me: gotten illusions of grandeur), sloppy in his preparation... increasingly authoritarian... in short: untenable. The players now seem to wish for someone more like Neschling, but not Neschling himself. More details in the WETA article next month.

Anonymous said...

Well founded reports say that the orchestra's top choices this go round were Tilson Thomas, Osmo Vanska, and P. Jarvi. All turned it down. Management offered it to Alsop at that point without consulting the players fully. She had only conducted there one week in September, with a very mixed reaction from the musicians. The players are irked and not pleased.

jfl said...

What you say sounds very likely (except I'm pretty sure it was K.Jaervi, not P.Jaervi who was asked) and fits with whatever impressions I may have gathered when down there. My money was on C.P.Flor, actually... but that evidently didn't materialize.