Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds
Andrew Grams, who started out as assistant conductor with the Cleveland Orch, is the new music director of the Elgin Symphony, in suburban Chicago. He’s 35.
The Elgin Symphony’s previous music director, Robert Hanson, was a remarkable musician who brought the Elgin Symphony to significant heights. We worked together several times, and when it had been announced of his departure, I thought, ‘who could fill his shoes?’ I am sure Maestro Grams will take the ESO to new heights in the 21st century, and congratulate him and the orchestra for this new partnership.
Agreed on both counts. Robert Hanson’s son George is also an excellent conductor.
I can’t imagine that Maestro Grams would appreciate being called as a “gofer.” I assure you that there are hundreds of young conductors who would love to be the Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra.
Here are some of the other “gofers” who worked as Assistant Conductor for the CO: Jaja Ling, Yoel Levi, Michael Stern, Alan Gilbert, etc., etc., and last but certainly not least, the eminent Robert Shaw. At least the leadline didn’t spell it with “ph.”
Here are some former Bayreuth ‘gofers’: Horst Stein, Christian Thielemann, David Syrus, Ed Spanjaard, Gabor Ötvös, Cornelius Meister…not to mention the originals: Felix Mottl etc. Don’t knock it…
Don’t forget Jimmy Gaffigan, who seems to be doing okay these days as well. Andrew is a terrific conductor with a bright future.
Of course. There was once a fabulous PBS documentary which showed George Szell teaching James Levine how to conduct the beginning of Strauss Don Juan. Jimmy now has his own gofers. (The towels, the towels…)
Andrew Grams has lots of talent and a personality to match. It will be interesting see where this appointment leads. Congrats Maître André.
Author, novelist, broadcaster, cultural commentator.
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