Which orchestra manager is paid most?
In the US, that’s easy. The figures are in the public domain and widely discussed. $1.4 million is the current top rate, apparently. Britain and other European nations are more secretive about these things. But they can be found. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra filed its annual accounts today and a copy was promptly sent my […]
Music school to close – and that's final
The University of East Anglia, renowned for its English literature department, decided earlier this year to shut its school of music. There was considerable protest, along with representations from the likes of National Theatre chief Nick Hytner and Brian Eno. In vain. The university has now endorsed its original decision. Read more here.
Dutch orchestra hits #1 with anti-cuts protest song
One of the Dutch orchestras threatened with exinction by 50% government cuts has rallied some of the country’s best-known pop singers to support its survival with a protest track. Amazingly, the song has just gone to number 1 in the singles charts. Read all about it here and watch the video here.
Two orchestras go to war over dead donor's millions
Kurt Nassau was a gems expert in New Jersey. He invented patents and bought and sold precious stones. He was, as they say, comfortable. When he drew up his will, he stipulated that his entire fortune was to be left to his favourite orchestra – you know the one, the symphony, what’s it called. So […]
Would you believe it? CAT scanner used to replicate perfect Stradivarius
The Radiological Society of North America has been told that one of its key diagnostic tools, the high-tech CAT scanner, has been successfully used in the design of that elusive object, a premium Strad, the equivalent of which is worth $6 million and more. Apparently, Minnesota radiologist Steven Sirr slipped his practice violin into the […]
Big tenor quits second marriage
The Spanish papers are full of José Carreras again, writes our Social Correspondent, but for all the wrong reasons. The least of the Three Tenors has split up from his second wife, air hostess Jutta Maria Jäger, ‘by mutual consent’. Read all about it in El Pais.
The night Ken Russell almost turned into Dracula
The conductor Paul Mann shares his experience of the reckless talent that was Ken Russell: So sad to read about Ken Russell. He was a hero of mine. Often that shock of white hair was to be seen on the front row of the concert hall in Poole for Bournemouth SO Concerts, including for an […]
Ken Russell and Mahler: fragments of conversation
Ken Russell, who died yesterday, cheerfully disavowed the constraints of authenticity when making his epic film, Mahler. He was not bothered by whether Alma was telling the truth in her memoir of Gustav. ‘She tells a good story,’ he decided. Nor was he troubled by location. ‘I shot it in six weeks, half in the […]
The world's best composer in 2011 is… a conductor
The Grawemeyer Award, the richest prize for contemporary composition, is greatly coveted by all who put notes to paper. Apart from the prestige, there’s $100,000 in an envelope, which is more than most living composers see from their work in a decade. This year’s winner has just been announced. It is Esa-Pekka Salonen for his […]
More sad news: Italian maestro dies
My singer friends inform me that Ubaldo Gardini, one of the great voice and Italian language coaches of the past half century, died yesterday in hospital in Ferrara. Here’s a tribute by Sir Colin Davis, who called him ‘maestro’. Mark Elder, in an interview, once named Gardini as the man from whom he had learned […]
Breaking: Ken Russell is dead
A member of the family has just informed me that the film director Ken Russell died yesterday afternoon, peacefully in his sleep. He was 84. Ken made his name with a series of films and fantasies about great composers: Elgar, Delius, Mahler, Liszt and more. He went on to make feature films – Women in […]