an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise | Follow me:

Is Lorin Maazel the US ambassador to China?

He was there with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

He was back early this year with the Chicago Symphony, substituting for Riccardo Muti.

And he’ll be back next year with the headless Boston Symphony.

Chinese audiences must think he’s the only conductor in America.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. LM is not the only conductor in America but he is the best!

  2. Well, sure. I mean, if Dennis Rodman can be our ambassador to North Korea….

    • Oleg Sherstiucoff says:

      Nice,….as soon as Mr.Rodman left there SOMETHING started unraveling….oh,or there is something wrong with my memory?

  3. Rudolph Tang says:


  4. Oleg Sherstiucoff says:

    Oh,come on,he is usually just fine – for his league, the top league,which should be noted -providing the day was not rainy, in that case he is capable of producing a really horrendous interpretation regardless the composer intent – from time to time – definitely not as a rule. LOL.

  5. James Forrest says:

    Ingratitude is e’er Loge’s lot, as Wagner noted! Loren Maazel is usually just fine, and often more than that. I, too, recall a fair share of vulgar performances, back in his Cleveland days, but I also recall, to quote a first chair member of the orchestra during Maazel’s tenure, “a lot of fine playing”. Even early on, he made some remarkably fine recordings, in Germany as well as Cleveland, recordings still at the top of the heap. He also made his share of those not so good.

    But in his later years, really, I hear almost nothing but mastery or very close to it. Sometimes one senses less commitment than on other occasions, but he is no longer an “eccentric” interpreter, and I, for one, welcome his individualistic interpretative touches (as in the recent MET DON CARLO which he had to accomplish with a cast of widely varying capabilities), as compared to today’s norm which is faceless in the extreme. A few years back, public television presented within a few weeks, the first Dudamel Mahler 1st from L.A. (noted for the Dude’s output of perspiration) and a NYPhil telecast led by Maazel of the same work which for eloquence and superb orchestral playing could not have been exceeded by any orchestra in the world. And yet, in his 80s, for frequent performances such as this, Maazel gets almost no credit from the critical press.

  6. Peter Barch says:

    He is there now with the Munich Phil…maybe he just fell in love with the country that respects elderly more then we do in the US

  7. Michael Hurshell says:

    I have the highest respect for LM, which started when I heard him in Wien – where I attended wonderful performances of Aida, Lulu, Tannhäuser, Turandot etc., and heard great concerts with the Philh. – Mahler, Bruckner, early 2th cent. works, and much else. There are many orchestral musicians who love playing with him, incl. concert masters – because the orchaestra can always see what he wants at any given moment. And given the many (as J. Forrest notes above) “faceless” renderings one currently hears, I can only say: good for LM, may he continue for a long while.

  8. Istvan Horthy says:

    His recording of the complete Bruckner symphonies with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is an absolute winner – interpretation, orchestral playing (equal to the Vienna Philharmonic in this music) coupled with oustanding orchestral sound. I won’t hear a word against Maestro Maazel!

  9. John Kelly says:

    Well I have to say I don’t understand the anti-Maazel sentiment. I’ve been listening for many years to many conductors. Maazel came to the NYPO after the Masur years, when playing standards had risen and the sound of the orchestra had become much more blended and warm. Maazel took a world class ensemble and made it even better. There were times when I couldn’t believe my ears – this orchestra was playing like the Phillies under Muti, which was, in the 80s, the best band in the land by a country mile. Maazel is a magnificent technician and he knows how to get an orchestra to play not just well, but at its best.
    Having said the above, I, too, have found some of his interpretations “cold” – perhaps even “distinterested” – or eccentric in places (an awful Brahms 3rd with the VPO, just a schlep-through). On other hand, I’ve heard absolutely breathtaking Mahler Symphonies, fantastically clear textured Strauss and magnificent Rachmaninov. Not the most adventurous programming mind you, a fair knock on his tenure in NY, but, in spite of the best efforts of Alan Gilbert, the orchestra has already slipped a bit to my ears from the Maazel years. One thing is true for sure however, Maazel somehow doesn’t inspire affection in his audiences, not like say, Boult or Barbirolli.

    I don’t think many of us “listeners” have much comprehension of how difficult it is and how much real talent is needed to be a truly top class conductor. The physical stress, the travel, the challenges to family life, the need to be “on the top of your game” all the time (because 20% of the members of the orchestra think they can conduct just as well and have their own ways of letting you know that – some not so subtle as in – from the LSO – “You’re no f&8king good mate!” – or to Abbado after a poor Petrushka when he said “you were not very good last night” – the instant response – “what about YOU?” ). For more on what being a conductor is really like, I recommend Leonard Slatkin’s recent book “Conducting Business.” – and it has many hysterical anecdotes to make a rather sombre assessment of the life of a maestro fun reading.

an ArtsJournal blog