Breaking: Santa Claus gets an opera house
I hear the Malmo Opera in Sweden is getting a new music director, in place of Joseph Swensen. All hail the indomitable Leif Segretsam, also known as Father Christmas.
Is this the oldest working orchestral musician?
Meet Ruth Jeffrey. She’s 97 today and still playing cello in the Grand Rapids Symphonette (founded 1935). Read on here. She’s been doing that since she was 15. If you remember our debate some months back on longest serving musicians, I guess Ruth has got them licked.
Just in: death of a great record man
Andrew Kazdin, a stalwart of the CBS Records team when it was the Tiffany label, has died aged 77. Kazdin worked with Thomas Z Sheppard, Steven Epstein, Paul Myers and others as producer for Glenn Gould, Leonard Bernstein, George Szell and the rest of the glamour roster. Here’s Andrew at work, behind the glass wall. […]
Richter, the Politburo and the KGB poisoners: another chilling extract
From the Gavrilov memoirs: In 1981 Richter often lost his temper. It was the year when much that was inside of him died, when his feelings turned into habits. He was more conscious than ever of the agonizing sense of his own powerlessness before the Soviet machine, whose hostage he had become once he was […]
Pianist finds a body on his front steps
More from Andrei Gavrilov’s KGB memoirs: I was on my way back home from Mosfilm studios one day. I looked and see a crowd of people standing by the front door of the flats. There was a dead body beside the steps. My first thought was – is it a coincidence? Or is it a […]
Munich might finally give Mariss his concert hall
When Mariss Jansons became chief conductor at Bavarian Radio, it was on condition that the city build a new concert hall, the present facilities being acoustically appalling. That was in 2003. Yesterday, the city earmarked a site for the hall. It’s the disused congress centre of the Deutsches Museum, itself due for a Euro 400 […]
Russian pianist on his life with the KGB
The memoirs of Andrei Gavrilov started to appear in the Russian press today. Gavrilov, winner of the 1974 Tchaikovsky competition, was later overheard making critical remarks about Soviet leaders. His passport was confiscated in 1979, his telephone cut off and he was confined to a psychiatric hospital, then to house arrest. He was finally allowed […]
Concert disruption: woman evicted for shouting 'boring'
A minor incident, perhaps another sign of the times. During a symphony concert in Bainbridge, Washington, a woman was hustled out of the performing arts centre after she shouted ‘boring’. It appears her daughter was playing in the orchestra and she had some professional rivalry with the new conductor. Small town stuff. Details are scanty. […]
Philly: Players lose pension share in bankruptcy deal
You need more knowledge of US pension law than I possess to grasp the latest twist in the Philadelphia Orchestra bankruptcy escape. But one thing is clear: old players lose out. Read here. UPDATE: And here’s more, more depressing still.
Breaking: Italy finds new guts
The threat of an EU ban on authentic violin strings appears to be receding. Here’s the latest from our suppliers: Caldogno, November 29- 2011 Thanks from my heart to all of you! The Ministry of Health, Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, with praiseworthy promptness and courtesy has announced today a series of […]
Maestro won't conduct next month. He's expecting a baby.
That’s what Andris Nelsons has just told his orchestra, and more power to him. Let’s hear it for father’s rights. Mrs Nelsons is the Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais. They married in April. I guess’ she’ll be taking some time off as well. Here’s the Birmingham press release. Media notice – December concerts with Andris Nelsons […]