Chicago Symphony principal flutist takes a job in LA—while keeping his CSO post

Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 2:21 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Mathieu Dufour, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s esteemed principal flutist, is California bound.

The French musician, principal flute since 1999, is taking up the same position with the Los Angeles Philharmonic next month while still keeping his CSO job—at least for now. Dufour’s first concert in LA will be the inaugural event of the orchestra’s incoming music director Gustavo Dudamel on October 3.

Dufour, currently on tour with the Chicago Symphony in Germany, said in a statement released by the Philharmonic, “Working with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the LA Phil during last season’s tour in Asia was an exhilarating experience. . . .  I am extremely excited to become a part of this innovative organization, especially as the musicians begin a new journey with Gustavo Dudamel.  I anticipate many amazing musical moments with this exceptional orchestra.”

Philharmonic president Deborah Borda added  “Few performers today approach the remarkable artistry of Mathieu Dufour. As we embark on an exciting new era with Gustavo Dudamel, we are particularly delighted to welcome him to the Los Angeles Philharmonic family.”

While the Philharmonic’s statements sound pretty definitive, a CSO  spokeswoman said that Dufour remains under contract with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and is only taking a leave of absence for the 2009-2010 season. The French flutist will continue to be a part-time presence with the CSO this coming season, playing in programs led by Riccardo Muti, Bernard Haitink and Pierre Boulez.

Even with the surprise timing of the LA Philharmonic’s announcement Friday, the Chicago Symphony was clearly anticipating this move, with “guest principal flutists” taking Dufour’s chair in some CSO programs this summer at Ravinia.

Dufour came to the Chicago Symphony after three years as principal flute solo of the Paris National Opera from 1996-1999. Prior to that, he served in the same position at the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse.

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3 Responses to “Chicago Symphony principal flutist takes a job in LA—while keeping his CSO post”

  1. Posted Sep 11, 2009 at 3:27 pm by stickles

    This is certainly very disappointing news for this CSO lover. Dufour and Chen are my favorite soloists in the orchestra. It is sad to see once a great woodwind section loose half of its principles in just two years. Is there any chance that we get Morales on board for principle clarinet or find a new principle flute this year?

  2. Posted Sep 13, 2009 at 9:19 am by lpd773

    Any possibility CSO can still keep or share him? Is this just to help with Dudamel’s inaugural season? There hasn’t been an official acknowledgment that he is “leaving”, although it is assumed in the press. He has been one of the key “voices” in CSO’s distinctive sound. Would be a loss for Chicago.

  3. Posted Sep 15, 2009 at 10:30 am by larryj

    As a CSO representative explained it to me, Dufour has an open-ended contract without any official expiration date. Therefore he is is a free agent who can stay or leave as he pleases. The CSO will not say that Dufour is leaving at the end of his part-time CSO arrangement for 2009-2010, but the LA Philharmonic people I talked to are adamant that Dufour is permanently leaving Chicago for LA, likely at the end of this season.
    Lawrence A. Johnson

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