Are Australian orchestras ignoring homegrown conductors?

Delving into the "maestro myth": why are our best conductors overlooked?

Some of the world’s most eminent conducting stars are taking up positions with Australian orchestras. In the past three months, three new chief conductors have been announced for the Sydney Symphony (David Robertson, US), Melbourne Symphony (Sir Andrew Davis, UK) and West Australian Symphony (Asher Fisch, Israel).

While the orchestras spend millions on these international stars, why are no Australians considered for the top jobs?

In a feature for the July issue of Limelight, editor Francis Merson investigates the “Australian Maestro Myth”.

“The last Australian chief conductor of a major orchestra was Stuart Challender at the Sydney Symphony more than 20 years ago,” writes Merson. “Apart from Simone Young, who now focuses her attention overseas, there is no Australian conductor who regularly conducts serious repertoire in main series concerts.

“Meanwhile, the names of conductors for high-profile concerts read like the guest list of a United Nations summit – to which Australia was not invited.”

Is this a spectacular instance of cultural cringe, with Australian conductors simply being ignored by orchestras? Or are Aussie maestros simply not good enough to compete with the internationals?

Find out in the July issue of Limelight, on newsstands and available through our online store June 20.

Copyright © Limelight Magazine. All rights reserved

This article appeared in the July, 2012 issue of Limelight Magazine.

What are your thoughts on this article? Have your say and leave your comments below.
NOTE: You must be a registered member of Limelight to post a comment.
Click here to login | Click here to register
Please read our guidelines on commenting. Offending posts will be removed and your access may be suspended. Abusive or obscene language will not be tolerated. The comments below do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Limelight or its employees.
Are Australian orchestras ignoring homegrown conductors?
Australian-born conductor Daniel Smith
Current Issue
April 2014 issue on sale now!
Australian-born conductor Daniel Smith
What's On
Close Get the April 2014 issue of Limelight mailed to you for $8.50, including postage.

Buy now
Digital Version