Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Russian conductor proves to be a hard liner

Conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky (right) has withdrawn from a series of concerts with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta because the orchestra left him out of its liner notes, the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reports.

Rozhdestvensky, the former principal conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre, the BBC Symphony, and other orchestras, was scheduled to lead the Sinfonietta in four concerts in Amsterdam starting February 24 and on a tour to Utrecht and Frankurt. The program featured the work of Shostakovich, one of Rozhdestvensky's specialties.

According to NRC Handelsblad, Rozhdestvensky arrived in Amsterdam on February 20 and led a rehearsal before checking into his hotel; there, he found a package of gifts including the Sinfonietta's 2005 CD of Beethoven and Walton. The liner notes packaged with the CD apparently did not list Rozhdestvensky, who previously led the ensemble in 2003, among the past guest conductors of the orchestra.

The conductor "became enraged," orchestra manager Mark Vondenhoff told the paper, saying that he had been "hurt to the core" and that the snub "ruined his life." Vondenhoff and concertmaster Candida Thompson went to the hotel and apologized, but Rozhdestvensky and his wife, pianist Viktoria Postnikova, who was to appear as well, left immediately for Paris.

Ukrainian Roman Kofman, the artistic director of Bonn's Beethovenhalle Orchestra, replaced Rozhdestvensky on the program; Alexander Melnikov stepped in for Postnikova.

From PlayBill Arts

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