Leonard Slatkin, the music director of the NSO since 1996, will depart at the end of the 2007-08 season. Page writes that with the Chicago Symphony searching for a new conductor and the New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra possibly following suit, the NSO is unlikely to land David Robertson, the much-admired music director of the St. Louis Symphony, as a replacement. Among top-tier conductors, he also rules out Simon Rattle, Riccardo Muti, and Michael Tilson Thomas.
Christoph von Dohnšnyi, who stepped down from the Cleveland Orchestra's podium in 2002, might be available, but at 76, he would probably only agree to conduct for a few weeks a year. "This is a bad idea," Page writes. "The NSO needs a real music director, a gifted and dedicated person who will give full attention to the orchestra."
Among more realistic possibilities, Page lists James Conlon, the incoming music director of Los Angeles Opera; Ivan Fischer, the NSO's incoming principal guest conductor; and St_phane Denve, the music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
The Minnesota Orchestra's Osmo V‹nska has been well received in his guest-conducting appearances in Washington, Page adds, but V‹nska is said to be content with his current position. Hugh Wolff and Rafael Fr‹beck de Burgos, also frequent guest conductors, are not yet in the running.
But "it is still early in the game," Page points out. "Nobody really knows who will be elected president in 2008; I don't think the prospects for music director of the NSO are much clearer."