The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra renews conductor Edo de Waart for five years; he accepts a new post in Antwerp

April 9, 2010
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By Jacob Stockinger

One of The Ear’s loyal  sources has informed me that the internationally celebrated maestro Edo de Waart (below), the music director the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, has just had his contract extended for five years – until the end of the 2016-17 season.

Here’s a link to the story:

That doesn’t come as a surprise.

De Waart is a great conductor who programs both tried-and-true classics like Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and new music. Professionally, he has been on a roll – a very busy and even exhausting roll that required private jets to shuttle him among scheduled appearances.

In event more recent news, just yesterday the tireless and energetic 68-year-old de Waart, who turns 69 on June 1, has also accepted a new post with the Royal Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra in Antwerp, Belgium, starting in 2012, to add to his many duties.

Here’s link to the story:

Not only has de Waart done well by the Milwaukee group, drawing raves for his Mahler cycle, but he went out to the Metropolitan Opera – including the hi-def live broadcast — and substituted for James Levine in Richard Strauss’ opera “Der Rosenkavalier.”

It’s nice to know the Dutch-born de Waart will be around because he is now a Madison neighbor who lives in Middleton, from where he commutes to Milwaukee. St.Paul and Hong Kong (he leads the Hong Kong Philharmonic). But that will end when he starts the 2012-17 gig in Antwerp, about 100 miles away from his native Amsterdam. He will apparently  move his family there and enroll his children in an international school, according to news reports. And he said he intends to cut back on his many guest stints around the world — except at the Met.

And oh yes, he will again bring the Milwaukee Symphony to the Wisconsin Union Theater next fall — on Sunday, Nov. 21 — in a program that will feature Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto – it is the Barber centennial year — with the concertmaster Frank Almond as soloist. Almond, a past winner of the Paganini Competition, performed the Brahms Double Concerto here last September and was outstanding. He has also appeared with the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, where he turned in exceptional performances.

All in all, it seems like a win all around: for de Waart, for Milwaukee, for Madison and for Middleton (at least in the short run). I really like his views about the cultural and community importance of having a symphony orchestra, views he expressed in an interview in Hong Kong:

Maybe Edo is a conquering Valkyrie!

So as a bonus treat, here he is with his victory song of arrival:

Do you have an opinion about de Waart?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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