Berlin Philharmonic can’t agree on new chief conductor

Orchestra members to vote again for one of the most prestigious roles in classical music within a year after 11 hours of talks end without agreement

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Berlin Philharmonic orchestra gathered to elect a new chief conductor and artistic director to succeed Sir Simon Rattle after he announced that he will leave the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra to become the chief conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.

The location of the ballot was kept a secret and musicians were banned from using mobile phones or electronic recording devices. The elections are often likened to a papal election without the white smoke.

After 11 hours and several rounds of voting, they were still unable to agree on a new conductor.

Orchestra board member Peter Riegelbauer said  "I must unfortunately tell you that we haven't reached any result." 

He added “We must continue this process and this election. That will have to take place within one year. We are very confident that we will come to a decision then.” 

The orchestra's 124 permanent musicians had been called to a church building in the south west of the German capital at around 0800 GMT to choose a successor.

The members were to propose candidates, vote on their favourite among about 30 world-class conductors, create a shortlist and choose a winner. 

Later on, the Philharmonic told journalists to meet at 1200 GMT at the Protestant Jesus Christ Church in Berlin to await the announcement. 

The announcement of the new chief conductor was postponed six times due to the inability of the members of the Philharmonic to agree on the new conductor

The Berlin Philharmonic was founded in 1882 and has had three chief conductors over the past six decades. 

TRTWorld and agencies