Today's Classical Music Video

Monday, July 21, 2014

David Zinman Retires from the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich



On July 11, 2014 David Zinman conducted his last concert as music director of the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich. He has headed the orchestra for 19 years and together they have made dozens of highly-acclaimed recordings including all the Schubert, Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms and Mahler symphonies. Not to mention nearly all the orchestral works of Richard Strauss.

Zinman is now 78 years old and says that due to medical problems he intends to slow down. There will be some guest conducting but no more permanent positions.

Zinman is one of the most successful and underappreciated American conductors of his generation. In his early years it was hard to get work in America but he landed the job of conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. It was a fine orchestra and gave him the start he needed in the profession. Later came positions back home, first with the Rochester Philharmonic (1974-1985) and then with the Baltimore Symphony (1985-1998). He put the Baltimore Symphony on the map with numerous excellent recordings, and their broadcasts were among the best to be heard anywhere on radio. The repertoire was always interesting and the lively introductions by Zinman himself with announcer Lisa Simeone were models of how this sort of thing should be done.

David Zinman became known for his wry sense of humour but also for his insight into the music he conducted.

After a decade in Baltimore Zinman moved to Europe to head the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich. Critics couldn't believe how well the orchestra played under Zinman and how impressive they were together in their recordings. Zinman maintained an American connection as head of the Aspen Festival but it was in Zurich that he achieved many of his musical goals.

The attached video is a souvenir of the years Zinman spent working on Mahler in Zurich. It is mostly in German but I am sure you will get the idea. It is all about Zinman's search for the ideal cowbell player in Mahler's Symphony No. 6.

For more on this outstanding conductor visit his website at www.davidzinman.org.

Paul E. Robinson

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