Dufour wins Berlin Philharmonic audition: Will he leave the CSO—again?

Thu May 15, 2014 at 12:13 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Mathieu Dufour. Photo: Todd Rosenberg
Mathieu Dufour. Photo: Todd Rosenberg

Mathieu Dufour, principal flute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, won the audition to become principal of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, it was reported this morning by Norman Lebrecht.

A CSO spokeswoman confirmed that Dufour had won the Berlin audition but said the orchestra is unaware what his plans are.

The French flutist, who has served as the CSO’s principal since 1999, has clearly been restless in recent years. In 2009 Dufour left Chicago to become principal with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, later returning to the CSO after one season in LA.

In March, Dufour performed the world premiere of Guillaume Connesson’s Pour sortie au jour with Charles Dutoit and the CSO. The flute concerto was commissioned for Dufour by the CSO.

It has been a time of great ferment for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s wind chairs. The orchestra announced just three days ago that principal bassoon David McGill has resigned to concentrate on teaching and other pursuits.  And, after a Dufour/LA Phil-like flirtation with the New York Philharmonic, clarinetist Stephen Williamson is returning to the CSO this fall. The orchestra is currently in the hunt for a new principal horn as well.

The New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert is seeing an even more volatile round of principal musical chairs, as noted yesterday by the New York Times.

The Philharmonic announced yesterday that they had nabbed two new first-chair players from across the Lincoln Center Plaza, both from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Chicago native Anthony McGill will replace Williamson as principal clarinet and Timothy Cobb will be the new principal bass. 

The New York Philharmonic is also currently seeking a new concertmaster, principal trumpet, and principal second violinist.

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2 Responses to “Dufour wins Berlin Philharmonic audition: Will he leave the CSO—again?”

  1. Posted May 15, 2014 at 9:17 pm by Dave

    In the past, those coveted principal positions were won and held onto until retirement. The revolving door lately is really unfortunate for audiences.

  2. Posted May 16, 2014 at 11:25 am by Gregory Nigosian

    You’d know better than I would, but is this really “churn”, or just an oddity of timing which makes it seem like excessive or troublesome openings and shifts?

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