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The youngest conductor on record?

My album of the week on Sinfinimusic is the first release on record for Lionel Bringuier, who was named music director of the Zurich Tonhalle at just 26 years old after a lengthy apprenticeship with Salonen and Dudamel in Los Angeles.

At the time this concert was filmed, Lionel was just 23. Has there been a younger maestro debut on record?




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  1. Rosana Martins says:

    Nelson Freire likes performing with Lionel Bringuier and the concert in London was not their first together. Their previous concerts were in France and in Spain, when Bringuier was only 22 years old.

  2. Mark Stratford says:

    >>has there been a younger maestro debut on record ?

    yes – Rattle’s Rite of Spring recording with NYO in 1977 when he was 22

    • True, but amateur orch.

      • Didn’t realise being on PAYE was now a measure of musical quality.

        • I agree.

          I have heard the NYO quite a few times.

          They play as though their lives depend on it, which is more than I can say for some so called professional orchestras!

          It is great to hear a young orchestra play something for the first time rather to hear a bunch of professionals play the work for the 50th time & probably thinking – not this bloody piece again!

  3. Pierre-Yves Lascar says:

    A DVD release, not a real studio recording.

  4. Mark Stratford says:

    I think Lorin Maazel recorded something in the early 50s (that is his early 20s),
    De Falla or Firebird ?

    Of course he was a veteran conductor at that age.

    BTW: good to see he’s at this year’s proms (Bruckner VIII)

    • Lorin Maazel conducted the Interlochen National Music Camp (World Youth Symphony Orchestra) at the age of nine, then with that experience in hand went on to conduct Toscanini’s NBC Symphony at the age of 11, and a year later – at the age of 12 – went on tour conducting the major American Orchestras. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Interlochen Radio Station (WIAA in Interlochen, MI) probably has the 1939 tapes in their archives.

  5. Ghillie Forrest says:

    Yannick Nezet-Seguin was doing all sortsof professional conducting from age 19.

  6. John Kelly says:

    Pierino Gamba?

  7. Norman. I recorded Mahler 5th at 21! Henry Wood Hall, 1985. Here is a link. You might recognise many players in the orchestra. Including Evelyn Glennie on percussion. :)

    • well done! who’s the trumpet? and was it released on record?

      • Trumpet was Bob Farley, great player. It was only release as a promotional CD and Videotape at the time. Still stands up though!! :) :)

        • Norman, BTW All the musicians in the video recording of Mahler 5th performed for free on foot of a promise of a rockin party, with buckets of free drink in Hampstead Garden Suburb afterwards. Which there was! And indeed almost 30 years later still spoken about!! :):)

          • Don’t u need planning permission for a party in HGS?

          • We certainly didn’t have any permission. Might account for the three vanloads of police that arrived at one point during the evening!! That party became quite legendary in orchestral musicians circles at the time. About as much as I can say on a public forum!! :):)

        • Graf Nugent says:

          I was at the RCM Junior Department with Bob Farley!

        • Graf Nugent says:

          As does your hair! A fitting tribute to Farah Fawcett Majors.

          • Graf Nugent says:

            Hair still standing, that is. The comments don’t align the way you’d like them to, sometimes.

  8. John Canarina says:

    Thomas Schippers conducted the premiere of Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” on television,
    Christmas eve 1951, at age 21, and recorded it for RCA soon after.

  9. The big difference between Lorin Maazel and most of the young conductors nowadays, Lorin has real talent. These young ‘conductors’ are too busy checking their twitter on mac books than formulating ideas about scores.

    • Ghillie Forrest says:

      I think Nezet-Seguin might be considered to have talent.

      And what about Gustavo? Bet he was at it early — he had LA by the time he was about 25 and he had hardly just begun. But perhaps he doesn’t have “real talent.”

  10. José Bergher says:
  11. The youngest conductor on record?

    The answer:
    Finnish conductor Mikko Franck (b. 1979) recorded in 1999 and released in 2000 a disc of Sibelius Lemminkäinen Legends on Ondine label. At the time of the recording (and releasing) he was only 20 years of age.

    When he was 21 he released already his second Sibelius disc on Ondine with En Saga. His third Ondine recording (of Tchaikosky 6th symphony) gave him a GRAMMY nomination – at the age of 23.

    Topic closed ?

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