Human Rights Foundation condemns 'disheartening and shameful' violinist
The HRF has issued a statement attacking those actors and musicians who performed for the Putin-appointed Chechen president on his 35th birthday. The Foundation points out that President Ramzan Kadyrov is responsible for many alleged ‘disappearances’. Vanessa-Mae was singled out, along with Hilary Swank and Jean-Claude Van Damme for their participation. The Colombian singer Shakira was […]
Something rotten in the state of Denmark
The New York Times today reports that Nicholas Huebbe has signed on for another five years as artistic director of Royal Danish Ballet. It does not mention that the Ballet is mired in a massive cocaine scandal centred on Huebbe and his circle. The matter has been public knowledge for months and is being swept […]
Icebreaker: musicians invite maestro to their sauna
I reported a few weeks back that musicians of the Finnish Radio Orchestra have their own private sauna in Helsinki’s new concert hall. Well, I’ve just heard that they broke club rules and allowed a maestro in to shed his tails and share their space after a particularly enjoyable session. The first conductor in the […]
Sad tidings: orchestra manager dead at 66
I have just heard from a colleague in Pittsburgh that Gideon Toeplitz, who ran the symphony orchestra from 1987 to 2003, has died in his sleep while visiting family in Israel. He was 66 and suffered from diabetes. Gideon’s great achievement was to bring Mariss Jansons to Pittsburgh in 1997 after a deep-chill dose of […]
Nightmare on Fima Street
Yefim Bronfman is having a bad month. First he cancelled Oregon with a middle-ear infection. Now he’s out of Los Angeles with – more serious – a broken finger. He may be out for a while. Wish him better.
Letter from Paul McCartney: 'Please would you like to join my group…'
Christie’s Kensington are putting on sale a handwritten letter from Macca, dated August 12, 1960, asking an unknown drummer to join this group of his called the Beatles that’s about to go off and play some gigs in Hamburg. It seems drums was always the trickiest position to fill, until Brian Epstein came up with […]
The corpses began to stink – and the rehearsal went on
I was chatting last night at DCMM-2011 to Karim Wasfi, conductor, director general and cello soloist of the Iraq National Symphony Orchestra. He regenerated the orchestra under government auspices in 2004 and played on through car bombs and other horrors, telling the players that they were the nation’s hope of normality. Musicians often came late, […]
Two anniversaries of the week
Not many outside the French-speaking world will notice but Georges Brassens would have been 90 on October 22 – had he not died 30 years ago on October 29. Brassens was the roughest, rudest, funniest of the French chansonniers. His song about the gorilla who breaks out of the zoo and rapes a vicious judge […]
Mahler's Symphony of 1,000 returns home
Mariss Jansons conducted a performance in Munich, where Mahler premiered the work in September 2010. Here‘s a review. Somehow, the original looks more exciting. photo: Lebrecht Music & Arts
Placido Domingo: I so love my rich Gulf hosts
‘What a great country and experience !’ writes Domingo of his new best friends in Oman. Would he sing the same tune if they were African and poor? Here‘s a report of his day in Arabic.
The violinist who fiddled for a warlord's birthday
Among the tawdry stars lining up in Grozny to entertain the bloodstained president of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, on his 35th birthday ten days ago was the fallen angel of classical crossover, Vanessa-Mae. Kadyrov has told the Moscow Times that the lavish celebrations were funded by personal friends and supporters. Previously, he called it a gift […]