VOICES Notes and news on Classical releases
07 JUN 07 ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS
Those Cincinnatians are certainly enjoying Paavo Järvi. Earlier this month, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra announced that they were renewing their Estonian-born music director's contract through the 2010-11 season. So far, so good - and pretty routine, right? After all, he's been with the orchestra with this title since 2001, and things have been going well, by all accounts.
So well, in fact, that the CSO's board and Järvi threw a rather unusual clause into the new contract: after the 2010-11 season, their deal becomes "evergreen." By mutual agreement, Järvi and the orchestra can renew their agreement year-to-year. It's an arrangement that has clear benefits for Järvi. As the industry website Musical America incisively observed: "By moving into 'evergreen' -- much as Esa-Pekka Salonen did at his last renewal arrangement with Los Angeles -- he is clearly keeping his options open."
Even so, the news was reported with much jubilation from CSO management. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, CSO board chairman Rick Reynold exulted, "The room was buzzing. I don't think I've ever seen the board collectively so happy. They were high-fiving."
The CSO management and players must be wiping their brows in relief: great reviews from performances in Cincy and around the country have been pouring in, and there seems to have been at least some palpable fear that Järvi would take off for other pastures -- perhaps one in Chicago, for example. So, for the time being at least, the great game of musical chairs being played by American orchestras and conductors continues without two participants: Järvi and the CSO