Photo: Ken Howard/Met Opera
The Los Angeles Times today reports
that flutist Mathieu Dufour has reneged on his reported plans to leave the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the principal flutist spot with the Los Angeles Philharmonic he had assumed earlier this season. Having fulfilled the obligations of a trial period with the orchestra here in L.A., Dufour has elected to leave in favor of continuing his relationship with the CSO according to the reports. Dufour has received wild praise in the press and I among many other L.A. Philharmonic fans have noticed his superb contributions to shows this season and last since his appointment by Esa-Pekka Salonen in 2008. While the L.A. Times article goes on to offer a myriad of potential reasons why Dufour has backed out of the position after his trial period ended, it also points to disparaging remarks he made about his time with the L.A. Philharmonic so far this year that appeared in yesterday’s Chicago Sun-Times
So take your pick. Did Dufour back out as he is quoted as saying because he discovered suddenly that our local orchestra has “no tradition of sound and no tradition of working together as a dedicated ensemble”? Or was it the reported pending shoulder surgery or love of all things Midwestern? Certainly while all these are possibilities, it seems odd that these issues weren’t clear earlier in the process of hiring a new principal flutist. Which leads me to wonder what else could possibly be different in the orchestra of 2008 that he signed on to for a probationary period compared to the orchestra of 2009? Could it be that the love fest with new music director Gustavo Dudamel is not all it’s cracked up to be as the organization’s PR machine would have you believe? Back in September, the L.A. Times told us
the Dudamel had actively interacted with Dufour and "spoke with him very extensively" on prior visits to Chicago. But it appears that if there had been any selling of the L.A. Philharmonic position going on at the time, it hasn't panned out that way now. Maybe the Salonen L.A. Philharmonic was a little more tempting than the reality of the haphazard playing we’ve had here since his departure. I would imagine it would be very different joining an organization that has a reputation as a leader in the contemporary music world from one that has a lot of ¡electrico! but lots and lots of work to do on their sound. Or maybe not.
Labels: LA Philharmonic 09/10