Jirí Belohlávek returns to an orchestra renowned for demanding consistency. Few conductors remain for long, the exceptions being Karel Ancerl and Vaclav Neumann. JB took over from Neumann. They sacked Ashkenazy after his short tenure making Mackerras a caretaker. Zdenek Macal walked out over a tiff with critics. The orchestra has relied a lot on Principal Guest Conductors like Mackerras and Honeck and visitors like Colin Davis. The CPO were left feeling rather sheepish when JB founded his own orchestra, The Prague Philharmonia (who are currently looked after by Jakub Hrusa) and who quickly became as good as they were. Jirí Belohlávek can leave the BBCSO satisfied in the knowledge that he has built it into an orchestra that can often rival The Philharmonia or Halle. His predecessors (Andrew Davis and Leonard Slatkin) and were adventurous programmers but not builders of any distictive orchestral sound.
It is excellent news that Sakari Oramo is to take over as Chief Conductor of the BBCSO and good to hear that JB is to remain with them as Conductor Laureate . Everywhere Oramo has worked orchestral standards have been maintained and raised. Having a good head helps attract the best guest conductors. The BBC will be keen to keep visitors like Semyon Bychkov.
And for mr Beef
Dave Hockings is the man you need in the BBCSO (and RCM, London Sinfonietta )
(I'll stop this now ............. )
Sakari Oramo is top of my list of conductors whom I have yet to see live, as he doesn't make a huge number of appearances on this side of the pond that I can tell. But even at that musical and intellectual distance, I can see that his appointment the BBC SO is great news all around. I have 2 of his John Foulds CDs with the CBSO, and will have to give them another listen. At the risk of giving myself too much credit, when I saw his name on the Barbican schedule for the 2011-2012 season, I couldn't help but wonder if RW had SO in mind as a "dark horse" candidate for the BBC SO chief conductorship. With that Prague Monitor article from December 2010, RW and his minions obviously had about 2 years warning to start looking. They were very careful not to announce at the time JB's departure (unlike Norman the "moran", but I digress) officially. Fortunately, this announcement also means that the orchestra won't be in limbo, without any sort of figurehead leader, like between Slatkin and JB.
Having then heard on iPlayer the October 2011 BBC SO concert with Oramo, I thought that the BBC SO could do a lot worse than hire him, on the basis of one "date". Regarding why SO hadn't conducted a London orchestra until that BBC SO date, the Helsingen Sanomat article has this explanation:
http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Sak.../1329103494007"From 1998 to 2008 Oramo served as the Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. At that time, the terms of his contract prevented him from conducting the London orchestras."
Given the relative speed of this appointment, it would be a little tough to imagine that for the 2013 Proms season, Oramo would get either the First Night or the Last Night. But maybe some artist shuffling will occur in that context. If I had to guess, however, I would guess that Oramo may not get the Last Night until 2014. I would think that it would be higher priority to see that he gets the 2013 First Night, given a choice between the two dates.
He's also very fine violinist & performed as conductor/soloist once or twice a season whilst with the CBSO (Mozart & the like)