Andrew Litton Named Artistic Advisor to Colorado Orchestra

Monday, June 25, 2012 - 03:09 PM

Is it the beginning of the end for podium autocrats?

Actually, it's been decades since conductors ruled with an iron baton, but the Colorado Symphony Orchestra is taking an unusual approach to hiring its next maestro. Instead of hiring a full-time music director, the orchestra announced Monday that Andrew Litton will become its next "artistic adviser."

In this capacity, Litton, a New York City native, will program the orchestra's major concerts and conduct at least two programs during its regular season. His three-year contract starts Sept. 1.

Litton replaces Jeffrey Kahane, who announced his resignation four years ago. The Denver Post reports that Litton will take the artistic adviser title because his busy schedule prohibits him from the commitments of a formal music directorship.

Artistic advisers are typically chosen on an interim basis although cost-conscious orchestras have taken to experimenting with different leadership models involving more flexible commitments. 

Litton has been the music director of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway since 2003 and served as music director of the Dallas Symphony from 1994 to 2006. The Denver appointment is unusual but not a total surprise: earlier this month, the orchestra inadvertently released information about Litton's hiring in an e-mail invitation.

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Comments [1]

andrew litton from New York

You're right that the day of the podium autocrat is long gone. There is no doubt that these past tyrants of the podium produced some searing and unforgettable performances. However, my impression is that the general level of musicianship among orchestras of all budgets is far higher today under the regime of collegiality than it was under autocracy. Conservatories deserve credit, too.

A correction on your blog about my Colorado Symphony appointment: I'm conducting 4 weeks (not 2) in the first season and a minimum of 6 weeks in each of the following two seasons (each season has a total of 16 classical subscription weeks). I believe you'll be hearing good music news from the Rockies. For a start, we're one of the very few orchestras closing the current season in the black.

Walter Daum is right. I attended both ECS Midtown (where my kindergarten teacher suggested I start piano lessons) and Fieldston (where I started my career as Music Director of the student Fieldston Musical Comedy Society). I owe a lot to the Schools.

Jun. 27 2012 06:18 PM

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