Fly me, I’m an orchestra
The Lufthansa Orchestra, composed of airline staff from many countries, will give a concert next month in Sofia airport, Bulgaria. There are 40 players and the programme is a mix of classical and jazz. We don’t think they’ll be given trouble carrying their instruments on board. Is any other airline musically inclined? We ought to […]
Maya Angelou: Music was my refuge
“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” The words of the poet Maya Angelou, who died today, aged 86. From 1963 to 1966, she taught music and dance at the University of Ghana.
Death of a noble conductor
We have been informed of the death, aged 84, of Francesco d’Avalos, descendant of centuries of Spanish-Italian nobility and a determined propagator of some of his country’s lesser-known glories. I first came across him as conductor, with the Philharmonia Orchestra, of luscious, little-known works by the quasi-Mahlerian Giuseppe Martucci. he also composed two operas, one […]
At last, a monument to Callas’s rival
It will be ten years this December since Renata Tebaldi died and most Callas fans will agree that she has been shamefully eclipsed. Next week, by way of amends, a museum will be opened in Tebaldi’s memory at Verdi’s birthplace, Bussetto. Zubin Mehta will give the opening concert in August with the Maggio Musical orchestra […]
Diva Joyce to Juilliard School: Here are my four home truths
Joyce DiDonato pulled no punches when delivering the commencement address yesterday. Here are her headlines: 1 You will never make it. 2 The work will never end. 3 It’s not about you…. and 4 The world needs you. Now read on. Click here.
Carla Bruni takes us round the carousel of French chanson
When I made a documentary for the BBC on Barbara, I tried to solicit the participation of the then-First Lady. Inconveniently, she was having a baby that week, after greeting world leaders, so I directed my attentions elsewhere. Now, no longer in the Elysée, Carla has volunteered to guide the BBC around some of the […]
Classical blog rises from the dead
Two months ago, EMI veteran put his Overgrown Path blog to bed. He was going to ‘stand back from blogging’. He was done with all that. We expressed regret. Now it looks like we’ve helped provoke him to return. So much the better.
How chic! David Bowie show to open new Paris Philharmonie
Say what you like about Paris, but you’re not a celebrity until Paris has embraced you. As part of the events around the opening of the new Paris concert hall in January, it was announced today that there is to be a David Bowie retrospective, imported from the V&A in London, where it made fewer […]
Former Chetham’s teacher is charged with sexual offence
The conductor Nicholas Smith, a former head of chorus at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, has been charged with indecent assault on a teenaged girl, a pupil at the school, between between 4 May 1976 and 3 June 1978. Smith, 65, who once conducted the Ulster Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic, lives in France. […]
Country opera hires London orchestra
The bucolic art form is growing in England. Glyndebourne, est. 1934, employs two London orchs, the LPO and the Age of Enlightenment. Garsington Opera, est. 1990, has, until now, employed a pick-up ensemble of mostly London-based musicians. Today it announces that from 2017 it will engage the Philharmonia Orchestra for one full production. Press release […]
New research: Opera in cinemas does not draw audiences to live performance
A fairly small sample polled by English Touring Opera and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama indicates that people who go to opera in their local multiplex are no more likely than before to buy tickets to the opera house. Only 234 people were asked, so the sample may be written off as statistically insignificant in global […]