The contract of Tugan Sokhiev, conductor and musical director of the Orchester du Capitole, will expire in the summer of 2022 and no replacement procedure has yet been initiated by Toulouse-Métropole. The transition promises to be delicate.
Everything had been planned so that the departure of Tugan Sokhiev from the head of the Orchestra of the Capitol was smooth. After 16 years between Toulouse and Moscow (where he also directs the Bolshoi Orchestra), the conductor logically wanted to face other challenges. And then, the process seized up. Here are the reasons.
This contract that we do not renew
The pandemic does not facilitate the recruitment of his success, Tugan Sokhie had signed for an additional one-year contract (2021-2022 season) at the head of the Capitol. Contract which was to be doubled for twelve more months, in order to go until June 2023. To date, nothing has been concluded between Toulouse-Métropole and the Russian leader. The situation is further complicated by the retirement, not planned so soon, of Thierry d’Argoubet, director general of the Capitole orchestra, as of December 31. The Sokhiev-d’Argoubet “duo” worked wonderfully. His abrupt interruption could weigh in the choice of the first to continue or not his adventure with the Capitol, even occasionally.
Franco-Russians carried at arm’s length
Imagined by Tugan Sokhiev and Thierry d’Argoubet, with the active support of Marie Déqué, then municipal councilor in charge of music, and Laurent Bayle, general manager of the Cité de la musique and president of the Philharmonie de Paris, les Musicales franco -Russians had been a big success during their first edition, in the spring of 2019. The rest had been much more complicated because of the pandemic. However, Tugan Sokhiev was very keen on this rapprochement between two cultures, beyond reciprocal points of friction and geopolitical tensions. A professional and emotional investment not really paid off in return, the City and the Metropolis, in the person of Francis Grass, assistant for culture, remaining little event in what was still a major, national and international. The elected official confirmed it: “There are many valuable music festivals in Toulouse and the orchestra, which defends the Russian repertoire all year round, is in great demand. It does not govern its participation in Franco-Russians. Bad news that may affect Tugan Sokhiev.
A ghost auditorium
Long planned on the site of the Saint-Michel prison, will the auditorium to replace the grain market as the Capitol’s concert hall (and much more) see the light of day? The question arises more than ever given the crisis caused by the Covid. Because such an infrastructure is costed around 150 million euros. “The Metropolis cannot finance it alone,” explains Francis Grass. A round table, in particular with the State and the Region, is essential. »Very involved in the project, Tugan Sokhiev considers it as one of the essential reasons for his future attachment to Toulouse. Last June, he so calm usually, had pushed a blow of anger, demanding a high level room, in Toulouse, “so that the excellence of the Orchester du Capitole is finally highlighted”. And drive the point home: “I’m sick of it! La Halle aux grains, it feels good, yes, but it’s just cute, adorable, no more. “Francis Grass answers him by inviting him to be patient:” Will the auditorium see the light of day within 5 years? No. ”Another bitter pill that Tugan Sokhiev won’t want to swallow.
Find the rare bird
The musicians of the Capitol Orchestra had fallen in love with Tugan Sokhiev from their first concerts under his direction. They expect the same to choose today to find his successor because they are involved in the choice of this rare bird. Which must bring together many technical and artistic qualities: combining inspiration, knowledge, culture, curiosity, music policy, public service vision, pedagogy, etc. For the moment, some young chefs like Cornelius Meister, Maxim Emelyanychev or Thomas Guggeis have shown many qualities without pocketing the bet. Research will therefore continue. Faced with the changes which are precipitating, the musicians demanded a meeting with the administration of the Capitol and the elected officials concerned. And are preparing to spend one, or even two seasons without a reigning chef, which had already taken place after the departure of Michel Plasson, in 2003.