By Martin Kettle for the Guardian (UK)
It is a lifetime since the Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan was dubbed “the general music director of Europe” as he piloted his private jet between engagements in Berlin, Vienna, Salzburg, Milan and London in the 1950s and 60s. That was another world, and no conductor since Karajan’s time, thank goodness, has either sought or acquired such a classical music empire. But if, in its much changed and more devolved musical landscape, Europe does have anything like a general music director today, then there’s a case for saying that the job is about to belong to Philippe Jordan.
The 42-year-old Swiss, who learned his trade at the feet of his conductor father Armin Jordan in Zurich and then of Daniel Barenboim in Berlin, does not conduct much in the UK. That’s not because he is an Anglophobe – on the contrary, English was his first language at home and he has conducted at Glyndebourne and with the Philharmonia. The fact that Jordan’s name is not nearly as familiar here as it ought to be says more about British insularity than about Jordan’s talents. Perhaps significantly, the same unfamiliarity for British audiences also applies to the conductor of his generation to whom Jordan can most obviously be compared, the Russian-born Kirill Petrenko, who is about to succeed Simon Rattle in Berlin.
Source: Opera News from the UK Guardian