A Cultural Comment on the New Yorker website.
A further thought: when the remarkable Carlos Moseley was in charge, in the sixties and seventies, the Philharmonic pursued a consistent vision. Bernstein and Boulez were very different personalities, but they both believed in modernizing the orchestra, and took steps to achieve that goal. Since then, the Philharmonic's choices have been more reactive than purposeful. When Boulez was perceived as too cool and controlling, they picked the effusive Zubin Mehta. When Mehta was perceived as lacking in discipline, they chose the taskmaster Kurt Masur. When Masur was seen as too domineering, they went for Lorin Maazel, a minimalist in rehearsal. When Maazel was seen as too unadventurous, they chose Alan Gilbert. When Gilbert was thought to be limited in his approach to mainstream repertory, they chose van Zweden. And so on: this is an orchestra going around in circles, lacking clear direction.