Three major Dutch institutions, led by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, have formed an alliance to raise arts finance in the UK.

The group, known as Dutch Masters, already has 12 supporters. The other two members are Nederlands Dans Theater and the Mauritshuis.

Here’s the report (courtesy of composer Michel van der Aa).

I wish them luck.


Christian Thielemann and the Dresden Sattaskapelle will replace Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic at the Easter Festival from 2013, the Mayor of Salzburg has announced.

That’s terrific news for Salzburg and its resourceful director Peter Alward. It’s also a kick in the teeth for the Berliners, who were beaten out of sight by Thielemann and Dresden in the TV ratings at Christmas and have now yielded them an important stronghold.

It’s also not bad news either for slipped disc, which broke the Thielemann-Salzburg negotiations exclusively here on May 25.

The deal was made possible, Der Standard has just reported, by the Vienna State Opera releasing Thielemann from a Lohengrin he was due to conduct in the spring of 2014. Alward must have called in some heavy favours, but he comes out of this a big winner in the eyes of Salzburg’s audience and major sponsors. Thielemann is hugely popular in German speaking countries.

The great tenor has told the Associated Press that he has attended every World Cup since 1970 bar one and is therefore highly qualified to help clean up the governing body, FIFA.

However … you knew there was a but coming … he hasn’t been told enough about the job and is awaiting more information before he agrees to join Sepp Blatter’s phony cleanup. Very wise, too.

Here’s the interview. And here’s the striker at the 1990 World Cup in Rome, playing 4-3-3.

Paul Curran has quit as head of Norway’s National Opera.

The Scotsman has been under criticism for failing to commission local composers. Has any of them written a compelling opera or ballet? You tell me. Here’s the full story.

Das Orchester, the monthly magazine for German musicians and management, has come out with a fascinating issue on how players and orchestras in the 21st century balance the needs of performance and childcare.

The place to play, if you have kids, is Stuttgart, where the state theatre offers all staff members a daycare centre for kids, open 0700 to 2000, and happy to upload your infants for units of an hour at a time while the harassed parent runs off to see to his or her hair, nails, strings, shopping or new best friend.

Stuttgart is probably the world leader in the family field, but Nuremburg, Zwickau and some parts of Berlin are not far behind. Daniel Barenboim has apparently set up a music kindergarten for allcomers that keeps the little blighters rehearsing while the parents relax.

The Mahler Chamber Orchestra, where most players are young-marrieds, some to each other, limits their playing requirement to 50 percent of all concerts, thus allowing them quality time with the next generation.

All very enlightened. When will we see the same in other countries?

The magazine cover


    shows an expectant MCO violinist in a t-shirt proclaiming across her bump ‘There is a RockStar in here’.

    And here’s one I’ve found of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, touring with their children.  Ah, that’s the life…

    photo: Sydney Morning Herald

    The BBC National Orchestra of Wales are being required to play a concert with Roberto Minczuk, the conductor who has dismissed half the members of the Brazil Symphony Orchestra and has been boycotted in consequence by leading soloists.

    Like the players in Liverpool and Odense, the Welsh musicians are going about their business as true professionals. But before they sat down to play, they sent the following letter to their colleagues in Brazil.




    To the Musicians of the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira,


    Roberto Minczuk is this week appearing with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales as guest conductor.


    We, the Musicians’ Union members in the orchestra, have given a letter to him expressing our feelings on the way he has treated you and urging him and the OSB management to enter into negotiations with you and SINDMUSI.


    We write to you now to offer our support in this difficult time. The miles and oceans that separate us do not diminish the concern we have for you in this situation.


    We will continue to monitor events in Rio and hope that the efforts of our own Musicians’ Union, FIM, SINDMUSI and others in the international musical community will bring about a satisfactory resolution to this dispute.


    We must stress that the views we express are ours alone and should not be construed as in any way representing BBC policy.


    With best wishes,


    Ian Fisher

    Chairman of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales Players’ Committee



    The tenor of our times (maybe yesterday’s) has been asked to help the football governing body FIFA clean up its game after ‘allegations’, hotly contested by one delegate, that dozens of FIFA members were handsomely bribed to send the 2022 World Cup to slave-state Qatar.

    Domingo was invited to join the team by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is refusing to reopen the Qatar process, or to hold any investigation into the chunks of untraceable hot notes that passed among FIFA members before the decision was made. Sepp is splendidly sitting on the case.

    photo: PD with Chelsea goalless star Fernando Torres

    Blatter has also asked Henry Kissinger and Dutch football legend Johann Cruyff to join him on the whitewash panel. The former US Secretary of State, no amateur at whitewashing inconvenient histories (Cambodia, Tienanmen Square), is putting his soccer passion to one side and carefully considering whether to join this ludicrously dubious venture. Placido Domingo should do the same.

    Placido, this is not an offer of free World Cup tickets for life. It is an association that could tarnish you forever. Take good advice. Don’t do it.

    photo: Placido avoids scoring own goal (cbc canada, all rights reserved)