Music: At Last, Some Fresh Faces

Great age is no longer a must on the symphony scene

The popular image of the orchestra conductor is that of a grand seigneur: imperious, authoritarian and, more often than not, old. Concert music, goes the conventional wisdom, is something so emotionally and spiritually complex that no one who has not reached at least his 60th year can possibly plumb its depths. What Beethoven, who died at 56, Mozart, who died at 35, or Schubert, who died at 31, would have thought of this manifestly ridiculous proposition hardly needs asking.

For too long, the myth that great age is required for great musicmaking has been accepted uncritically by audiences, performers and boards...

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