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Transfer news: Paris orch snaps Finn stick

Mikko Franck is to be the next chief conductor of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, succeeding Myung Whun Chung in September 2015.

Franck, 34, became music director of the Belgian National Orchestra in 2002 and has put in several hard years at the Finnish  National Opera, a truly gritty job. He’s ready now for maintown recognition. Paris has never yet – to my knowledge – had a Finn chef d’orchestra.

Could be an entente cordiale.


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  1. The French National Radio has announced that Mikko Franck signs this morning for three years, starting in 2015. Until then, Myung-Whun Chung’s contract is extended.
    Lionel Bringuier’s name had sometimes been mentioned (or perhaps was it just wishful thinking), but it was highly unlikely since Zurich had caught him last October.
    Franck made his début with the orchestra as soon as November, 2003 (he was then only 24), and with the other French Radio orchestra (National) just two months after.
    In Paris, he recently stepped in for Chung in a remarkable concert version of “Tristan” (October) and then for Boulez with the Orchestre de Paris (December), but it is a pity that he had himself to cancel some of his concerts during the previous seasons.
    It is obvious that there is, at present, an “Entente cordiale” between the conductor and the orchestra. Long may it last…

  2. Francisco says:

    Susanna Mälkki at Ensemble Intercontemporain…

  3. Novagerio says:

    Surely Norman knows about Susanna Mälkki?? -;) Anyway, it’s certainly good news for both Mikko Franck and the ORTF band!!!

  4. I heard Mikko Franck doing The Magic Flute in the Finnish National Opera back in 1998, after little more than 18 months in the conductors’ class of the Sibelius-Akatemia. He must have been 19 at the time, but there was no immaturity or wobble shown. Very big talent.

  5. Graf Nugent says:

    I never cease to be amazed at the talent this country produces. Unbelievable.

    • Well, there is 5,5 million Finns, so there should be some talent among us. Just hope that Mikko won’t do his notorious vanishing acts any more…

    • I’ve spoken to people who know the country and they all say it has an excellent education system.

    • Among other factors, Finland has a state funding system that gives it the highest per capitata ratio of professional orchestras in the world – twice the rate of even Germany. No wonder their conductors now dominate the world stage. You get what you pay for. Note the lack of top American condcutors. You don’t get what you don’t pay for..

  6. BarberOf Seville says:

    Mikko Franck may be talented, but he is known not to be reliable and many orchestras, including my own, have been subjected to his caprices, including cancelling at short notice, being late for rehearsals, not being very polite or respectful to the musicians and others and well known to hit the bottle far too much, even by Finnish standards and that says a lot!

  7. Fabio Fabrici says:
  8. My experience with M. Franck is as thus (viewing from the gallery behind the orchestra; I got the players’ view of the evening’s events):

    Chicago Symphony
    Ill-fitting suit that resulting in spending the entire evening hitching up his trousers.
    Other half was spent wiping his long hair out of his face.
    AND, oh yes (perhaps an injury) but he conducted from a chair, which he obviously did not always need as he often stood as what seemed to be all of the wrong places.
    Thank goodness it was the Chicago Symphony; they didn’t need him…

    • Did the Chicago Symphony players cover for him in the performance? They’ve been known on occasion to play badly for conductors they think are poorly prepared.

      • They seemed to play at their usual high level, perhaps due to the fact that the featured soloist was their own principal clarinet, Larry Combs, performing the Copland concerto. Quite frankly, I found myself so disengaged from the performance (because of the conductor) that I might not have noticed flaws in the concert. And, for the record–judging from discussions at the intermission–I was not alone in my assessment.

  9. harold braun says:

    Mikko Franck suffers from avian bone syndrome.Maybe this serves as an explanation while he often conducts seated and has cancelled performances.And he has long been suffering from severe asthma which weakened his heart condition and he almost died as a teenager,Nevertheless he is a very fine conductor,very mature for his age,maybe in part because of this serious life threatening experiences.

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