Dufour to leave CSO for Berlin Philharmonic

Wed Oct 01, 2014 at 4:14 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Mathieu Dufour
Mathieu Dufour

To the surprise of no one, Mathieu Dufour has resigned as principal flute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in order to take up the same position with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the CSO announced Wednesday. His resignation is effective November 4.

When it was announced in May that Dufour had won the audition for principal flute with the celebrated Berlin ensemble, it was widely considered a foregone conclusion that he would accept.

Unusually for such press announcements, no canned positive statements were released by the CSO from Dufour or music director Riccardo Muti.

Dufour was appointed CSO principal flute at age 25 in 1999 by then-music director Daniel Barenboim. He has soloed numerous times in his decade and half as principal flute in Chicago, most recently last March in the world premiere of Guillaume Connesson’s Pour sortie au jour, a flute concerto commissioned by the CSO for Dufour.

The French musician will take up his new position in Berlin in 2015.

Posted in News

7 Responses to “Dufour to leave CSO for Berlin Philharmonic”

  1. Posted Oct 01, 2014 at 6:27 pm by Cianne

    Very sad news. I thought I read somewhere that he had agreed to stay with the CSO for the entirety of the 2014-15 season.

  2. Posted Oct 01, 2014 at 10:21 pm by Dave

    He’s an absolutely phenomenal musician who will be difficult to replace. At the same time, it’s probably better in the long run that he has resigned (and not wasted everyone’s time with another leave of absence). His back and forth routine has been a bit of an insult to a great orchestra and its audience, which is probably why the CSO passed on issuing a syrupy press release.

  3. Posted Oct 02, 2014 at 12:59 am by Peter Borich

    He looked like he was suffering from extreme gastrointestinal distress at Tuesday night ‘s concert. He certainly was not happy to be there. Great, great musician, but his wanderlust grew tiresome.

  4. Posted Oct 02, 2014 at 10:32 am by Anne-Marie

    Indeed he is a great musician, much appreciated by Chicago audiences, but I heartily agree with both Dave’s and Peter’s comments that it is better to let go of someone whose heart is no longer with this great orchestra and who, for reasons personal and/or professional, feels the desire to explore other avenues. There are several key positions to be replaced at the CSO and let’s all hope they find the best available!

  5. Posted Oct 03, 2014 at 4:37 pm by Paul Cohan

    Who can begrudge him . . .How many chances does one get to be principal flute of the Berlin Philharmonic? Just one more of the great hires by Daniel Barenboim . . . but no one in the CSO is irreplaceable, except perhaps the man who will pick Dufour’s successor.

  6. Posted Oct 03, 2014 at 11:06 pm by Jana

    Not everyone is suited to a 40-year tenure, probably just a few. Dufour and McGill devoted a major part of their lives to Chicago. For most musicians it’s a good thing to change every generation or so. There are many superbly talented musicians whose technical levels are nearly equivalent, but whose personalities are different. Do we really want to hear the same guy play the same music for 40 years, or do we benefit from fresh perspectives? Every recent appointment has been outstanding.

  7. Posted Oct 05, 2014 at 6:27 pm by jim joseph

    as a long time subscriber to the cso- it is very suprising to see dufour going elsewhere. the chicago symphony orchestra, with muti as music director is at a level where every other orchestra is playing for 2nd place. the musicians, especially the first chairs are compensated as well as any other orchestra in the world.
    muti will shore up the winds and the orchestra will go on- sad that they will never have the name recognition along the lines of the vienna or the berlin orchestras- it was the same problem 30-40 years ago when solti was running the show- we chicagoans are lucky and proud to have this great orchestra

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