In praise of the orchestral pianist
Gareth Davies, principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra, has written a beautiful portrait of his colleague, John Alley, who has reached retirement age. Do not miss the video clip where John downs a pint while playing a Shostakovich cadenza at the BBC Proms. Click here. pictured: John Alley, flanked by Andrew Marriner and Moray […]
A Bach legend remembers her day of liberation, 70 years ago
The great harpsichord player Zuzana Ruzickova turned 88 this week. She lives in Prague and continues to offer guidance to a new generation of performers. Tomorrow, she celebrates the 70th anniversary of her liberation from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp – a hell worse than Auschwitz, as she descries it. She is talking to Frank Vogl, […]
A Sibelius descendant decides to change his tune
Lauri Porra is bassist in the Finnish heavy metal band, Stratovarius (2.5 million worldwide sales). His grandma’s father was Jean Sibelius (spot the likeness?) So for the Sibelius 150 year, Lauri has given up the metal and written a concerto for electric bass and symphony orchestra. You can watch it here. Worth it, to see a Sibelius plucking […]
What’s the best place for an orchestral player to live?
When we ran the question of best country past opera singers a few months back, the consensus seemed to be that Germany offered the most opportunities, the best living conditions and the greatest satisfaction. It’s tougher for orchestral players. Scandinavia and the Netherlands offer great family lifestyle but below-average pay. Britain has lots of work but not […]
Will Bach go with Reich? It’s about time…
DG are about to release their first harpsichord album in three decades. Mahan Esfahani convinced Steve Reich that his Piano Phase would work just as well on an instrument of Bach’s time, and even better with a Bach companion piece. The result? Well, here’s a forestaste.
Would you buy an unknown composer from acronymous performers?
It is the ineluctable fate of unknown music by unfamiliar artists on quaint-named labels with brown-on-black covers to fly unopened to the nearest bin. So it’s something of a miracle that you are reading about this release, and something of an act of contrition that I am designating it Album of the Week. Click here […]
Breaking: Chicago to lose an orchestra
Just in from our associates at Chicago Classical Review: Chamber orchestra Ars Viva’s season-closing concert next month will be its final performance. Music director Alan Heatherington made the announcement at Sunday’s Ars Viva concert at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. Gayle Heatherington, Ars Viva excutive director, said Monday morning that […]
Germans pick five future conductors: all male
Our observer at the German Music Council’s search for conductors of the future came away dejected. There were 24 candidates. Only one woman made it into the second day, and she was soon discarded. Unlike past rounds that produced such winners as Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and Shi-Yeon Sung, both of whom found posts at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, […]
Social and personal: Ms Jenkins is with child
No sooner does her lookalike appear on an ENO Carmen poster, than Katherine Jenkins announced on social media that she is pregnant. Guess that means we won’t be seeing her Carmen any time soon.
Has ENO cast Katherine Jenkins as Carmen?
This is (we think*) Justina Gringyte who will sing Carmen at English National Opera from May 20. And here’s the unalloyed Jenkins who once talked of singing opera but never did. At first glance, we thought ENO had finally talked her into it. h/t: Yehuda Shapiro * Memo from the Department of Dirty Tricks: […]
Eva Wagner, at 70, is ready to step down
The senior sister at Bayreuth, who turns 70 tomorrow, will be stepping down this summer with few signs of regret. Although she has kept her own counsel about losing the joint directorship with her half-sister Katharina, sources close to Eva have been letting it be known that her departure is gentle and consensual. She will […]