Exclusive pics: Which world tennis champion went to a Beethoven concert last night?
It was his mother’s birthday, and he was in Rotterdam. They were playing the Beethoven violin concerto, a family favourite. Roger Federer was not going to miss it. Nor were the players going to miss him. Here he is, coming backstage with Rotterdam Philharmonic managing director Hans Waege (left) And here he is mingling with […]
Just in: Fake pianist has her life story filmed for the BBC
Ireland is abuzz with the latest BBC drama, filmed there on the cheap and with funding from the Irish Film Board (for anomalies, see below). It’s the story of the pianist Joyce Hatto whose husband issued a slew of recordings in her name. Joyce, who enjoyed a modest career, was suddenly extolled by critics as […]
Is this neurological disorder peculiar to professional musicians?
There’s a medical conference gathering in New York next month to consider the links between the neurological disorder known as dystonia and the lives of working musicians. It claims to be the first Musicians Dystonia Summit, and I have pasted details below. Among those whose careers were disrupted or ended by the condition are the […]
Philip Glass gets his pen snapped in two Down Under
If you write an opera and call it In the Penal Colony, there is a fairly reasonable chance it might get staged in Australia. They can get a bit shirty about local history, though. Here’s the selling image for the Aussie premiere. And here’s the press release: SYDNEY CHAMBER OPERA presents: IN THE PENAL COLONY […]
Vienna tours with female trumpet player
No, not the Philharmonic – that would be a revolution. It’s the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and they are in Spain with the stunning Mireia Farrés. On second thoughts, why can’t she play in the Vienna Philharmonic? Remind me. UPDATE: Mireia is principal trumpet of the Barcelona symphony Orchestra. Here she is, blowing the opening of Mahler […]
Everything in this troubled land is political
A group of Hungarians decided to deliver a 90th birthday serenade to former president Arpad Göncz, who led and liberalised the country for a decade (1990-2000) after the end of Communism. Uncontroversially, they chose to sing Va, pensiero, from Verdi’s Nabucco. It was instantly understood as a protest against the present rightwing regime and is […]
The conductor who gets a bit too Candide
We’ve seen enough conductors who can hardly be bothered to yawn at work. Here’s one who really loves his job. Introducing Joseph R. Olefirowicz playing to the orchestra camera in a Vienna Volksoper performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. Book that man. UPDATE: here
Child Schoenberg pianist prefers Wagner… and is learning Spanish
She’s Russian, but she lives in Costa Rica. Varvara Soyfer gives her first television interview.
High-flying Asian orchestra runs into heavy weather
We’ve been getting reports that the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra has laid off a concertmaster and eight other players. There are already 20 unfilled vacancies in the ranks. The problem doesn’t seem to be financial, as there’s plenty of oil sponsorship from Petronas to pay for high-profile recordings and cheap concert seats. There’s a residue of […]
Breaking: Bayreuth cleared of prosecution over ticket allocations
An investigation into the weird and far from wonderful ways that the Bayreuth Festival decides who’s in and who’s out has ruled that there’s nothing illegal going on. Report summary here. Such a relief. Much of the investigation focused on which media were invited and whether they got one seat or two. As for the […]