Will Nielsen make the ratings in 2015?
There are two symphonic cycles in progress, one from the New York Philharmonic, the other from the Royal Stockholm Phil. Easy choice? By no means. Check my Sinfini album of the week here.
Finns publish drinking guide to their woozy national composer
We knew Jean Sibelius liked his booze. An official guide to the composer’s life tells us – in six languages – exactly where he knocked it back. Free download here.
Sibelius returns to the Midwest
After a two-year break for certain local difficulties, Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesotans will resume recording the Sibelius symphonies for BIS. Press release below. MINNEAPOLIS, MN (January 12, 2015)—Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra will resume recording for a Sibelius Symphonies cycle with BIS Records later this season in order to complete […]
Valery Gergiev loses a major patron
Russian media have announced the death of Countess Yoko Nagae Ceschina, a Japanese harpist who married a wealthy Italian businessman and spent much of his $190 million inheritance on classical music projects. She provided the funding for the New York Philharmonic’s spectacularly ill-advised visit to North Korea in 2008 and she became one of Gergiev’s […]
Just in: Towering Russian singer has died
We’re getting reports of the death of Elena Obraztsova. The great mezzo-soprano was 76. She was having medical treatment in Germany. Born in Leningrad during the siege, Elena came to attention in a 1963 Boris Godunov at the Bolshoi. She performed and recorded extensively abroad with Karajan and Abbado, for whom she opened the 1977 La […]
Tiger Mom sells home to push teenaged violinist
Much in this report is profoundly disturbing, not least the mother’s ill-advised decision to send Ryan Howland, 15, to a competition he stands no chance of winning. Watch below. Or read here.
Kyung Wha Chung switches agent
Th violinist, who spoiled her London comeback with a verbal attack on a coughing child, has signed on to ICA for general management. She began her career with Terry Harrison (at HarrisonParrott) but has been in retirement for several years with various physical issues. Stephen Wright, who owns ICA, will have his work cut out to […]
A singer with a cold: Do I go to rehearsal?
Message from one of our artist friends in a major opera house: Rehearsal day one, with a stinker of a cold. I want to be a good colleague and respect that they might fear I’m still contagious, which I’m certainly not, and if I just sit quietly at the back and join in the bits […]
To be a Jew of France
I have written an account of my family’s engagement with France as an op-ed in today’s Daily Telegraph. You can read it here. My perception is that the transaction by which French Jews embraced the Republic in exchange for liberty, equality and fraternity has reached the point of breakdown. A slightly longer (and more music-referenced) […]
A chanson for Charlie Hebdo
Hinse Mutter, double bass player and composer in Rotterdam, gathered local musicians of several nationalities to record a song he had written on the words of Stéphane Charbonnier, cartoonist and editor: ‘je préfère mourir debout que vivre à genoux’ (I’d rather die standing than live on my knees).
The orchestra of the future is 52% female
Fiona Maddocks has spotted significant trends today in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, with 163 players. The NYO bucks the trend: 52% of the new line-up is female, including the leader (Stephanie Childress, 15). Section principals are equally divided between boys and girls. The orchestra was founded by a woman, Ruth Railton. […]