Rhinegold Photo credit: K. Miura

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Nathalie Stutzmann takes RTÉ principal guest conductor post

2:27, 11th January 2017

The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra has named Nathalie Stutzmann as principal guest conductor. The announcement comes just days before she gives her second performance with the ensemble.

Stutzmann will hold the position from September 2017 to May 2019, conducting a minimum of five concerts each season. Her first performance in the role will take place on 29 September.

Currently in the first year of a three-year role as associate artist of the Sao Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, Stutzmann is also associate artist of the Orchestre National de Bordeaux for the 2016/17 season. She maintains a parallel career as a contralto, and holds an exclusive contract with Warner Classics/Erato as both singer and conductor.

Stutzmann conducted the ensemble for the first time in a programme of Wagner and Mahler in February 2016. ‘From the outset, it was apparent that an easy and natural chemistry had developed between Nathalie and the musicians,’ said Aodán Ó Dubhghaill, head of RTÉ’s orchestras, quartet and choirs. ‘It was also clear that the public intuitively sensed and responded in the warmest terms to the music-making and to Nathalie’s natural charisma.’

He continued: ‘Nathalie brings the qualities one expects of a great singer to her work as a conductor, coaxing beautiful phrasing from musicians and conveying an unerring sense of musical line. This appointment marks the start of a significant artistic partnership and we are excited at the prospect of sharing the resulting music-making with the widest possible audience.”

Speaking of her first experience of the orchestra, Stutzmann said she felt ‘an immediate connection with the musicians’, adding: ‘Only a few minutes into our first rehearsal it became clear that here was an ensemble of musicians with a rare combination of generosity of spirit, human warmth and real character: an orchestra made of flesh and blood!

‘I enjoy working with people who recognise music for what it is – one of life’s most extraordinary gifts – and who are willing to commit mind and body to the challenge of revealing it to our audience, to the search for that extra colour, that extra poetry, that extra sensory layer. That is what I am always looking for, and I found it here.’

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