Chichon extends his contract with the OFGC until 2025

From left to right, Karel Mark Chichon, Antonio Morales and Manuel Benítez, this Wednesday at the presentation held at the OFGC headquarters. / ARCADIO SUAREZ

The North American debuts as the main guest conductor for a forthcoming season that will have 18 subscription concerts at the Alfredo Kraus

The
pandemic, media and even judicial blizzard that the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra (OFGC) has gone through in recent years has not diminished its relationship with its current principal and artistic director, the
British Karel Mark Chichon, but it has been strengthened and grown. To such an extent that this Wednesday, during the presentation of the next season, the extension of his contract with the island formation was announced
for two more years than stipulated so far, so he will remain in his position until 2025.

The other great novelty that was announced at the same event, held in the Gabriel Rodó room of the OFGC headquarters, is the appointment of the North American veteran
Leonard Slatkin (Los Angeles, September 1, 1944) as main guest director for the next three seasons.

Slatkin made his debut a few months ago leading the Gran Canaria band during their season ticket, while on tour in Europe. «
I know you have received offers from other orchestras during his recent tour and that he has accepted ours is an example of the
level of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Gran Canaria. Without that level, he would not have accepted," Chichon proudly assured.

two weeks a year

The agreement implies that Slatkin will be on the island
"two weeks a year", although in the next one there will only be one, in October, when he directs the evening of the 21st, because the haste with which his signing was closed has not allowed him to fit a second appointment into his agenda. "He will be in office for
the next three years, just like me. We are two
very different directors and I think it will be very important for him to contribute his ways, ”clarified the Briton.

Karel Mark Chichon assured that since his arrival at the OFGC in 2017 he has been immersed in a project that «
has filled my musical life and has become an artistic priority in many ways”, for which he feels “very proud and happy”.

In front of problems

This has been possible, Chichon stressed, due to many factors. "Every orchestra is a
human entity. I am very fond of this orchestra and I know that it is fond of me. Like any other orchestra in the world, it has its good days and its bad days. But if there is something that characterizes any personal and artistic relationship, it is
how people behave when there is a problem. Without a doubt, I think that all of us, without exception, have been an example of how to face those problems and come out better », he highlighted.

With these three more years, the head and artistic director of the OFGC considers that
"closes a circle", since «I will finish many things that I have not been able to finish, to leave the orchestra in the state in which I have always thought it had to be». "I still think that
we can have an even better orchestra and leave it more stable and more independent in its path in the future, when I am no longer there”, added who in 2025, except for a turn of events, will close his cycle at the head of the OFGC.

The 2022/23 season

Meanwhile, the next season opens with a
concert version of the opera 'Aida', by Verdi, in which the mezzo-soprano and world star
Elina Garcia -wife of Karel Mark Chichon- will debut in the role of Amneris, along with
Latonia Moorea regular soprano at the New York Metropolitan and
Seok Jong Baek, who is currently triumphing in London with a 'Samson and Delilah' alongside Garanca herself.

other soloists highlights within the 18 concerts scheduled between September and July 2023 are: the cellist
Steven Isserlisthe bassoon Guilhaume Santana, the violinist
Sergej Krylovthe clarinettist Martin Fröst, the viola player Amihai Grosz and the pianists
Rudolf Buchbinder and Olga Kernamong others.

Canarian presence

Along with Chichon and Slatkin, they will lead the OFGC from veterans like
Trevor Pinnock and Vassily Sinaisky even young 'batons' like Josep Gil, Ben Glassberg, Krzysztof Urbanski,
Joshua WeilersteinVasily Petrenko and the Gran Canarian
Rafael Sanchez Arana.

The young island director, Chichon's assistant, is one of the 9 Canarian artists, including several female composers, who will have a leading role during the next season of the OFGC. "S
i have talent, Canarian artists will always have a place in this house», emphasized Chichon.

Patience and integrity

"If you have patience, things end up falling into place." This is how Karel Mark Chichon responded yesterday when he was questioned about the
sentences in first and second instance that dismissed the lawsuit for workplace harassment filed by the former head of Production of the OFGC, Isabel Turienzoagainst the Fundación Orquesta Filarmónica and against him.

He acknowledged that 2021 "was difficult", but stressed that the OFGC has left
"reinforced" and that in each concert held "in the middle of a storm" it was played very well.

For him
July 1 is fixedafter several postponements, the trial also for a claim of workplace harassment and for his dismissal by the former manager
Christian Roig Puigagainst Chichon, the OFGC Foundation and which was expanded to include Antonio Morales, president of the Cabildo and of this same Foundation.

Morales, during the presentation this Wednesday, valued "the restraint and serenity" of the OFGC musicians when
«from the outside they tried to condition» this orchestraalluding to the failed media and political campaign carried out in 2020 and 2021. He also highlighted the fact that Chichon "did not wrinkle and knew how to stand up" during those months.

The British recognized that one of the great problems that orchestras around the world are currently facing is the drop in spectators as a result of the pandemic. To combat it, he advanced that the OFGC is working so that spectators attend
"open rehearsals" from the same stage.

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