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Transfer news: Houston’s new maestro takes second job

Andres Orozco-Estrada, 36, the Colombian surprise choice at Houston Symphony Orchestra, is to replace Paavo Järvi next year at the radio orchestra in Frankfurt. Järvi is overstretched between two other jobs in Paris and Tokyo.

Andres is upgrading his Europe portfolio from the Tonkünstler-Orchester in Austria. Frankfurt has the best online profile of any radio orch. The news is not supposed to be announced before a press conference next Tuesday, but you know how it is…


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  1. The prodigal son has lost his chance to become the new boss of the Houston Symphony Orchestra to the firebrand Maestro Orozco-Estrada. Perhaps this prodigal son will try his luck for Tonkünstler Orchester to replace Andres, the outgoing podium star…..?

  2. This is great news for Frankfurt. Järvi has not been good for the orchestra and the decline through his neglect, particularly in the tutti strings, from the Hugh Wolff years has been obvious. Wolf better understood the role of a modern radio orchestra, to be communicative and part of the community. He was adventurous in his repertoire choices, encouraged a sensible use of historically-informed performance practice, and approached the orchestra as a colleague, first of all through the use of German in rehearsals.

  3. Alexander Hall says:

    It’s difficult to understand the reference to the Frankfurt Radio Symphony as having the best “online profile”. Streets ahead of the competition is the Bavarian Radio Symphony and then come the two orchestras in Hamburg (NDR) and Cologne (WDR). Frankfurt hasn’t really been in the international picture since the days of Eliahu Inbal and his Bruckner and Mahler cycles and recordings.

  4. Chris Johnson says:

    Natalya, Prodigal Son? Perhaps a bit less drama would be more effective in making your case for him.

    • “Too bad the prodigal son could not return home as he would have tripled their annual budget in his 1st year AND made great music…..” I am sure you can figure out who this prodigal son is…….

      • No, I really can’t, Natalya…and I was a member of the Houston Symphony for 14 years.

        Did I miss out meeting the “prodigal son?”

      • Harris from Houston says:

        What is this silly “prodigal son” nonsense? Anybody who knows who is who and who does what can figure out that Natalya is not a woman and is most probably the so-called ‘prodigal son’ originally from Houston, just trying to make cheap publicity for himself out of desperation and without any real career perspective. The Houston Symphony knows all about it as well and they aren’t impressed and don’t want or need auto promoters, lacking all human skills and true talent, only strong self marketing and promotion abilities. Sorry for the blunt honesty here, but not everybody is a fool to this particular case.

        • christophe says:

          Harris, [redacted] Orozco-Estrada is a great choice for Houston and Frankfurt, but your comments are totally off-base regarding the conductor who Natalya and Martin refer to. He is a great musician and person, and many orchestras engage him around the world. He has his fans and I think more people should give him credit for the good work he not only did when he was in Houston, but elsewhere around the world. There are too many violent and unfair comments made about him, for reasons I fail to understand, and people should be more positive and less aggressive. If you have a problem with him, then step out from your anonymous hiding place and tell it to him directly. I think you’ll find he is a respectful person, when treated with respect. You and a few others unfortunately do not demonstrate the ability to be respectful. Nor do I think he would have any interest to return to his hometown anyway. Why should he when there are people like you whose old, biased habits die hard. I can assure you Natalya is not him, nor am I, but, as a musician having played under him, I have informed him via his website of your discrimination and online slander. [redacted]

  5. Andrew Powell says:

    @Norman: What are you referring to with the phrase “best online profile of any radio orchestra”?

  6. I quite liked Paavo’s work in Frankfurt although I must agree that his presence (and interest?) dwindelled down in the last year or so, therefore in the end it will good news to have a young up-and-comer to breathe some fresh breath into the orchestra

    • What I have seen and heard has been excellent. He also raised the HR’s profile far higher than his predecessors.

      • Simon Morgan says:

        Järvi, as Norman rightly says, has done some really excellent work in Frankfurt and done much to raise the profile of the hr-Sinfonieorchester (as it is now called). Just look at the number of –very well received — recordings on major labels that he has put out with the orchestra over the past few years.
        Hugh Wolff never achieved that.
        Under Järvi playing standards have improved immensely, too, and the orchestra can truly be described as one of the very best radio orchestras in Germany at present.
        The orchestra clearly like him, too, otherwise they would hardly have asked him to remain their “conductor laureate” after he steps down at the end of the current season.

  7. Chris, as I understand it, the news is that he is taking another job
    Besides the position with the HSO right? Natalya comment sounds like he won’t be any more with us, so I am a bit confused.

    • Liz- it was always our expectation and Andres’ desire that he would have a European orchestra in addition to Houston. This is fairly common practice and won’t effect his commitment of time in Houston, which will be slightly more than our current MD’s contract.

  8. Thanks Brinton, that’s exactly what I thought, but some comments got me a bit confused. I am looking forward to hear you guys under his baton ;-)

  9. I believe Natalya’s comments refer to John Axelrod who was born in Houston and has been doing quite well in Europe. I am curious to know if or how often the Houston Symphony has ever invited him back to conduct them. It is unfortunate that American conductors still have less trouble finding good work in Europe than they ever have a chance of being recognized in their native cities. John is not the only case in point…

    • There’s no conspiracy. Plenty of American conductors are Music Directors of big American orchestras. Plenty of others, including the younger generation (James Gaffigan, Andrew Grams, etc), are regular guests with big American orchestras.

      It would be really nice if we could have a single post about the Houston Symphony which isn’t hijacked by the cadre of “prodigal son” devotees.

  10. Simon Morgan says:

    It’s now been officially confirmed.
    Here’s a link to the statement released today (Monday):

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