Are the roles and expectations for music directors at orchestras changing? In the 12/26 New Yorker, Alex Ross contrasts the careers of emerging conductors who are stars on the international circuit with those of music directors who focus on their primary orchestras and build longer-term relationships with musicians, communities, and cities. Ross states that Xian Zhang, music director of the New Jersey Symphony, “strikes me as the likelier future of the art. We don’t need more itinerant maestros who draw big salaries in multiple cities, carrying their putative genius in their hand luggage. We need more directorships along the lines of Marin Alsop’s, at the Baltimore Symphony, or Osmo Vänskä’s, at the Minnesota Orchestra—ones in which a conductor focusses on a single city and puts down roots. This is how American orchestral culture unfolded before jet travel.”
Read “Courageous Leadership,” League President and CEO Simon Woods’ recent Symphony article about the evolving roles of conductors and music directors.