Fawlty Towers producer is dead (update)
John Howard Davies directed early episodes of Monty Python and the entire run of Fawlty Towers for the BBC. Reports of his death are coming in from entertainment industry colleagues. As a child, he was Oliver Twist in David Lean’s memorable film. As head of comedy at the BBC from 1977 to 1982, he was […]
A second great songwriter dies today
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is one Nick Ashford wrote for his ever-loving wife Valerie Simpson. He has died in New York, the same day as Jerry Leiber.
Conductor gives extra week for free to help foundering orchestra (update)
Yannick Nézet-Séguin is adding a week to his Philadelphia season and not charging for his services, my Montreal colleague Arthur Kapitanis reports. “It’s a wonderful sign of his commitment to the Philadelphia cause,” said Philadelphia Orchestra CEO Allison Vulgamore. Hmmmm…. I wonder. Given the states of Philly’s finances, a week’s maestro pay more or less won’t […]
Mahler dominates Beijing Festival
Gustav Mahler is centre stage at the 14th Beijing Music Festival, just announced. Details here. Press release below. 14th Beijing Music Festival (BMF) pays homage to Mahler Crossover dialogues that “deconstruct” the classical Mahler One of the major annual cultural highlights in the Chinese capital, the Beijing Music Festival (BMF) is dedicated to […]
Stand By Me songwriter is dead (update)
Jerry Leiber’s gone, overnight reports confirm. He’s seen below with partner Mike Stoller and some other guy. Among other hits, the pair wrote Hound Dog and Jailhouse Rock, Ruby Baby, Yakkety Yak and Charlie Brown.
The woman who rescued the Royal Ballet
Three times she was passed over for the top job, never considered, not even asked to apply. On the fourth occasion, they turned to Monica Mason in desperation. She pulled the company out of a downward spiral and, over ten years, restored it to the creative heights last attained when Fonteyn and Nyreyev were in […]
Hot violinist to play Apple store
Here’s a first – a classical violinist launching his new album at the point of delivery, one of London’s big Apple stores. He’s Charlie Siem, already known as the face (or body) of Alfred Dunhill attire. He’s playing Apple at 7pm Thursday.
Boy wonder becomes conductor for life
Daniel Harding was just 22 when he conducted the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in its breakthrough Don Giovanni at Aix-en-Provence. Now, a week before his 36th birthday, he has been named conductor laureate – for life. Sic transit harmonia mundi, they used to teach us at school. Here’s the press release. MAHLER CHAMBER ORCHESTRA – PRESS RELEASE […]
The last classical critic in Canada
Word reaches me from Toronto that John Terauds, the only fulltime classical music critic in English-speaking Canada, has been switched to the business desk of the Star. The paper has also shut down his music-world blog, SoundMind. A sign of impoverished times, perhaps, but also a significant step in the closing of Canada’s cultural mind. Here’s […]
Which opera was trending yesterday on UK Twitter?
No kidding, it was Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. Why? Because the Guardian ran a free live relay from Glyndebourne on its website and thousands who had never entered an opera house were moved to share their experience in less than 140 characters. Those who watched may well have enjoyed a view of […]
Is this the longest serving orchestral player?
I’ve had an email from Lake Placid, telling me that the bassonist who joined in 1947 has just hung up his instrument. Has anyone, anywhere, played longer? Here’s the mail: Mr. Lebrecht I am Music Director of the Lake Placid Sinfonietta (NY), which has been in operating since 1917 and is now a 6 week […]