In preparation for the succession of then Chief Conductor Gilbert Varga, who was scheduled to complete his term by December 2018, the city government initiated the search and selection for a successor in May 2018. The selection committee of prominent music experts, officials from the Department of Cultural Affairs, and representatives of TSO met three times before unanimously choosing Eliahu Inbal to head the orchestra from August 2019 through July 2022.
Inbal brings impressive international credentials. Widely regarded as one of the leading Gustav Mahler interpreters of our day, his first undertaking will be to perform the complete works of Mahler with TSO.
Inbal believes that exploring and performing Mahler’s works are an excellent way for the orchestra and its new conductor to get to know one another. “Mahler’s strengths are that his works have delicate parts, akin to Schubert and Schumann, while others harness strong energy reminiscent of Berlioz, Shostakovich, and Wagner. It takes high levels of musicality, technique, and rhythm for musicians to bring Mahler’s compositions to life. So, Mahler is great material for a conductor to lead a new orchestra,” notes Inbal.
Unable to attend the press conference in Taiwan due to his itinerary performances, Inbal did greet music lovers and reporters in Taiwan by way of a recorded video message, sharing that he always feels deeply impressed by the tremendous dedication and hard work of Taiwanese musicians. With regard to TSO, his ambition is to unleash the orchestra’s full potential.
Based on his wealth of experience as principal conductor of leading orchestras around the world, Inbal told the audience confidently: “I cannot speak of TSO’s past or present, but I can tell you about its future! We are all looking forward to exciting cooperation to grow and develop TSO!”
The orchestra’s first performance under Inbal’s baton, scheduled for October 2019, will be Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major, one of the largest-scale choral works in the classical concert repertoire and known as the “Symphony of a Thousand.” This symphony will serve as the grand opening of an ambitious musical journey with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra under his tenure that will include Mahler, Bruckner, and Shostakovich concerts.
At the age of 26, Inbal won first prize in the Guido Cantelli Conducting Competition, which ignited his international career. He has served as principal conductor to the hr-Synphonieorchester in Frankfurt, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Orchestra Nazionale della RAI in Turin, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, and concurrently the Česká filharmonie in Prague and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. He is still the Conductor Laureate of the orchestra in Frankfurt.
Over the course of these appointments, Inbal has garnered critical and popular acclaim for his interpretations of Mahler, Bruckner and Shostakovich, winning numerous awards and accolades, including an officership in the French Order of Arts and Letters, the Golden Medal for Merit from the City of Vienna, the Goethe Badge of Honour from the City of Frankfurt, and the Federal Cross of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany.