'I am Viagra to classical music and aspirin to pop,'
Nigel Kennedy? So 20th century… David Garrett? He’s got nothing on this guy. Hahn-Bin can play. He’s from Korea and he spent 10 years studying with Itzhak Perlman. But he also performs. He objects, he says, to people paying $100 to take a nap. So his concerts are a bit more …. visual. See what […]
A small, forgotten orchestral war
While the Philadelphia Orchestra enters Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the Syracuse Symphony goes out of business and the Brazil Symphony Orchestra is put on ice, spare a thought for the orchestral musicians at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, whose strike was supported last month by no less than Placido Domingo. Half the players have been […]
Better maestro news: Mariss renews
There were broad grins all over Munich on Friday. Mariss Jansons signed a new contract with the Bavarian Radio rochestra, taking him up to 2015. Given that Mariss is also committed to the Concertgebouw and in perpetually parlous health, there were fears he might drop one band or the other. Munich got him to sign […]
So what is it with Jews and violins?
There is a widely held perception, which I address in the May issue of The Strad magazine, that the violin is somehow a ‘Jewish’ instrument. It is true of course that many great violinists were Jewish – Mischa, Jascha, Toscha Sascha. Also true that in certain important violin traditions – the French, for instance – […]
Music's golden couple splits
It has been the talk of musical London for the past few days and the Daily Mail has just got hold of it with its usual spin of lawyered innuendo. Ed Gardner, music director of English National Opera, and his trumpeter partner Alison Balsom have split up. They have a one year-old son. All very sad. […]
Philadelphia – it's the worst outcome
The board of the Philadelphia Orchestra has voted to take the company into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, presumably to protect itself against spiralling losses. The current season is $5 million down on a $46 million budget. Philadelphia is the first of the Big Five and the largest US orchestra ever to go into meltdown. Concerts will […]
Is this the beginning of an orchestral spring?
It began with a strike in Detroit, followed by a collapse at Syracuse. Now Philadelphia is within 24 hours of debating, if not declaring, bankruptcy. For the first time, a Big Five orchestra could go out of business. Whatever happens tomorrow at the creditors meeting, I sense that we are in the throes of a […]
The busiest conductor that ever lived
I had one of my periodic lunches yesterday with Sir Neville Marriner, of which not a word may pass my lips. Today, April 15, is Neville’s birthday. He’s 87. Being Neville, he was just off a plane from somewhere and onto a train, always on the go, back from conducting the Academy of St Martins […]
Two revved-up Brits in the Van Cliburns
There are two UK contestants in the coming Cliburns for amateurs One is named as Andrea de Tomas, a lawyer from London. Quick search shows up at City banking and finance firm Bonelli Erede Pappalardo, with one public recital at St John’s Smith Square. The other contender, seriously exciting, is Dominic Piers Smith, team leader […]
Last peep from the pussycats den
I was quietly minding my own media empire at the IAMA conference, which ends today, when a youngish man with curly brown hair came and sat next to me, waiting politely until I had finished a live paragraph on my notebook. I recognised his name-tag from recent email exchanges, but that was it. He said […]
Going live at the BBC Proms
The BBC Proms were greeted with the biggest-ever burst of tweets and blogs today – not just because the world’s gone mad on social media but because the content this year feels exceptionally buzzy and live. There’s a comedy night, for instance, and a performance of what might claim to be a bigger symphony than […]