The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra is about to appoint a music director. Well-informed sources have whispered the name to Slipped Disc.
It’s going to be Han-na Chang, the Korean cellist, who has been upgrading her career as music chief conductor of the Bavarian Youth Orchestra, She has also been taking lessons from that past master of orchestral management, Lorin Maazel, who conducted Qatar’s opening concert (a bad night: I was there) and has kept a weather eye on its progress ever since.
The orchestra, made up mostly of European musicians, aims to reach international rank. Competition is hotting up locally, with a new orch in neighbouring UAE, so the choice of music director is crucial.
Chang is a world-class cellist, with several EMI releases, and a big personality. She studied with Rostropovich and Misha Maisky and has a rather nice way of getting her own way.
As a woman to leading an orchestra in the Arab world, she could give a whole new twist to the Arab Spring. And what she does in the role with her dress code will give the orchestra more global publicity than a fleet of Hollywood PRs.
Just watch those fireworks go up when they read this in South Korea.
And here she is conducting: