Birmingham Symphony Orchestra names Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla as musical director

Appointment of the 29-year-old conductor will make the CBSO the only UK orchestra to be led by a woman

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The Independent Culture

If music be the food of love, play on…

But only on the say-so of Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla – the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has named her as its new musical director. 

A sound decision?

Ms Grazinyte-Tyla, 29, is currently assistant conductor at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Her appointment will make the CBSO the only UK orchestra to be led by a woman. Deborah Borda, the president and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has praised her “joyous, elegant musicality” and “serious intellect.”

Where did she learn her craft?

The Lithuania-born musician studied in countries including Germany, Italy ands Switzerland. She has worked with the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Berlin’s Komische Oper. In 2012 she won the Salzburg festival young conductors award.

When will we see her wielding her baton?

The Lithuanian musician, who is replacing Andris Nelsons, will take up her role as the CBSO's chief conductor in September this year.  She made her debut with the orchestra last summer and returned last month for a one-off event.

She must have hit the right note…

Stephen Maddock, chief executive of the CBSO, said: “There was an instant chemistry between Mirga and our musicians, and the excitement in Symphony Hall at her concerts both on stage and in the audience was palpable.” He added: “Mirga is thrilling audiences wherever she goes – we can’t wait to start making music with her.”

What do the players think?

Violinist Moritz Pfister said the appointment was “great news”. Ms Grazinyte-Tyla “has a very natural authority,” he said.

And the feeling’s mutual?

The appointment was “a huge gift”. Ms Grazinyte-Tyla told the BBC. “I felt so at ease working with the CBSO, and I can’t wait to get started. Every single musician in the orchestra is an artist with great individuality and sense of responsibility. They are driven to be one of the world’s leading orchestras,” she continued. “I believe we will be a great team, and look forward to making music together,” the conductor added.