Berlin Philharmonic fails to elect new conductor, to try again 'within a year'

11th May 2015, Comments 0 comments

The prestigious Berlin Philharmonic said Monday its members had failed to elect their next chief conductor after more than 11 hours of closed-door discussions and would try again "within a year".

"I must unfortunately tell you that we haven't reached any result," board member Peter Riegelbauer told reporters, adding there had been several rounds of voting.

"We must continue the process, that will happen within a year," he added.

The orchestra's 124 permanent musicians had gathered in a church in a leafy southwestern district of Berlin at around 0800 GMT for a secret ballot to choose their next maestro to replace Britain's Sir Simon Rattle in 2018.

Members are sworn to secrecy and are even required to leave their mobile phones and any recording devices outside for the conclave vote, often likened to a papal election, minus the white smoke.

News of an appointment had initially been slated for 1200 GMT, then for two hours later, before being delayed several times through the evening, as musicians huddled inside the red-brick church, a space which the orchestra has repeatedly used for performances and recordings since World War II.

Among the names being talked about as possible successors had been Berlin native Christian Thielemann, 56, now at the Staatskapelle Dresden, Latvian Andris Nelsons, 37, who heads the Boston and Birmingham symphony orchestras, and Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel, 34, who is nicknamed "the Dude" and now conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The vote by the Berlin Philharmonic, -- founded in 1882 and seen by many as the best orchestra in the world -- is unique, as elsewhere conductors are chosen by boards and trustees, or sometimes politicians.

© 2015 AFP

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