As the concert world digests Gustavo Dudamel’s big career move, broken exclusively here, managers are reflecting on the covert pressures the conductor has faced since his agent and friend Mark Newbanks walked out of Askonas Holt four months ago.
During that time, Newbanks was on silent gardening leave and Holt were wheeling out the big guns of Simon Rattle and others to persuade the dude to stay with the big firm. For a young conductor to resist well-meant advice from the leaders of his profession takes a good deal of guts and self-confidence.
But that was not the only source of pressure. The Dude’s record label, Deutsche Grammophon, operates a talent agency of its own – run by defectors from IMG Artists. Over the past four months, Dudamel will have received hints and winks that his record career would be best served if he transferred his lucrative concert commissions to his record stable.
To his credit, he resisted all such blandishments and moved with a man he trusted to an agency he had probably never heard of before.
Van Walsum Management moved switfly today to capitalise on the Dudamel coup, announcing that it has signed up Kazushi Ono, chief conductor at Lyon Opera – captured from IMG Artists. Ono is becoming quite a player on European opera scene. The battle for batons is heating up nicely. Watch this space for more.