Observations: Still hitting the high notes, by Jessica Duchen

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The Independent Culture

When Jonathan Nott was first offered the post of principal conductor of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, he little dreamed that 11 years later he would celebrate an extraordinary landmark in his career. Last week, Nott and the BSO marked their 500th concert with a gala evening of Schubert and Mahler – and the event was webcast live, the first time this distinguished conductor-orchestra team has ventured into internet streaming.

Nott hails originally from Solihull and studied music at Cambridge, but it is Bamberg that has really taken him to its heart. This year, he was given the Bavarian Order of Merit and on the day of that concert he was presented with the Ring of Honour, the city of Bamberg's highest award. To cap it all, his contract with the BSO has been extended to 2016.

Not all conductor-orchestra relationships turn out as rosy as this, so what does he think is the magic ingredient? "We've allowed each other a constant desire to build and renew our work, never to become stagnant or complacent," he suggests.