Thursday, September 3, 2015

They're the tops

The Berlin Philharmonic and Riccardo Chailly top the latest poll on best orchestras and conductors, by the classical website Bachtrack.

In the voting for best orchestra, the top two – the Berliners and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam – far outpaced those in third to 10th place. Five of the 10 are German orchestras.

The voting for best conductor was tighter, with the top three – Chailly, Simon Rattle and Mariss Jansons – scoring close to one another, and the next three in an even narrower cluster. Eight are current or incoming chief conductors of one of the top-10 orchestras.

Top orchestras:
1. Berlin Philharmonic
2. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam
3. Vienna Philharmonic
4. Gewandhaus Orchestra, Leipzig
5. Chicago Symphony Orchestra
6. London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Staatskapelle (tie)
8. Dresden Staatskapelle
9. Boston Symphony Orchestra
10. Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

Top conductors:
1. Riccardo Chailly
2. Simon Rattle
3. Mariss Jansons
4. Andris Nelsons
5. Riccardo Muti
6. Daniel Barenboim
7. Kiril Petrenko
8. Esa-Pekka Salonen
9. Yannick Nezet-Seguin
10. Christian Thielemann

Sixteen critics, based in Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Peru, were polled.

“Three North American critics abstained from voting on the basis they felt that had not seen enough of the world’s top orchestras recently enough to cast their votes,” Mark Pullinger writes in an article outlining the survey:


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UPDATE 1: Chailly (No. 1) will relinquish the chief conductor’s post at the Gewandhaus (No. 4) next summer, four seasons ahead of schedule, to concentrate on artistic leadership of Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the summer Lucerne Festival. Michael Cooper of The New York Times reports on the move:

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UPDATE 2: Gewandhaus taps Nelsons (No. 4) to succeed Chailly. See Sept. 9 post, above.