Kamala Sankaram composed and sang the lead role in the world premiere of an opera about a revenge gang-rape in Pakistan. Powerful and focussed, says New York Classical Review, whose critic is first on the scene. Read here.



Menahem Pressler was snowbound in Bloomington Indiana, with Indianapolis airport closed, when he had rehearsals the following day in Berlin with Semyon Bychkov and the Berlin Philharmonic.

What to do? He hired a 4-wheel drive jeep and asked a devoted student to drive him to Chicago. After a seven-hour drive, he found Homeland Security blocking the main roads in to Chicago.

Undeterred he took a side road without knowing where it would lead. He reached the airport and was delayed there for two hours by the plane’s de-icing. At Munich airport, his connecting flight to Berlin had gone and he had to wait hours more for the next connection to Berlin.

He arrived sleepless for rehearsals, played an immaculate Mozart Piano Concerto in G major K453 at the concert, received a standing ovation and encored with a Chopin Nocturne.

There is only one Menahem.



menahem pressler, semyon bychkov

ariel sharon, leonard cohen

Leland Smith, who died on December 17 at his home in Palo Alto, California, aged 88, was one of the first to write composing programs for computers. A student of Milhaud and Sessions, he played bassoon with New York City Ballet, Chicago Lyric Opera, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Symphony before becoming professor at Stanford. The university pays tribute here.


Leland Smith with computer music displayed on CRT monitor.05/19/1976

Stepping in late to a production tailor-made for Anna Netrebko, our NYCR critic reckons the Canadian soprano was spot-on. The more so since she was singing opposite Netrebko’s ex.

chuchman met

Photo: Ken Howard

a warm, buttery soprano that could be caressing or cajoling and her expressive, flexible phrasing complemented a delightful physical vivacity that makes her a valuable artist to fill the Met’s light lyric Fach.

Read on here.

We are informed that the Canada Border Services have impounded a violin and three bows belonging to Yosuke Kawasaki, a Japanese-American violinist who has served since 2007 as concertmaster of the National Arts Center orchestra in Ottawa.

Yosuke is accused of failing to declare them and is facing a C$120,000 fine.

Start the outrage now.


UPDATE on upcoming Court hearing here.

Report today in Gazeta (Google translated):

The country’s largest producer of turkey meat ” Evrodon ” meat has begun shipping to retailers. Co-owners of the company are conducted by Valery Gergiev, artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre , and businessman Vadim Benaiah .

Since the new year the company opened a large-scale delivery of chilled meat in retail grocery chains in 12 regions of the country. This is the first attempt to bring produced on an industrial scale meat of this species of bird on the Russian market . Turkey will be sold in Rostov- on-Don, Moscow, Moscow , St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region and other regions of the country . Manufacturer has already signed a contract to supply wholesale and retail supermarkets and shops in the premium segment . Cost of 1 kg of turkey meat in the stores will be about 200 rubles.


The Orchestra Mozart has announced that it is suspending operations as of today, January 11.

The orchestra, founded in Bologna in 2004 by Claudio Abbado, said it could not continue in the face of financial difficulties. Abbado, who is in deteriorating health, has not conducted since September and any new private sponsorship it could raise was conditional on his involvement.

The nine members of staff left the building yesterday, taking with them all personal effects.

The orchestra has not cancelled a date in Oman at the end of the month with the pianist Maurizio Pollini, it is not clear how this can go ahead.


I met the late Israeli leader, who died today, on three or four occasions and have little to add to his political biography. I was, however, surprised to discover that this military man and farmer had a daily need for the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. He would play some each morning for several minutes before starting work.

Draw no conclusions from this, except as a testament to the penetrative power of great music.


See more here on Sharon’s musical affinities.

There is a September fly crawling across his score and a housekeeper shouting in the background. Salvador Dali could have made this film.

poulenc hands

Philip Nodel has sent us this grim 1981 documentary on how the state controlled creativity and what foreign music it considered acceptable.

Watch, even if you don’t understand a word of Russian. Fabulous music making and blood-chilling comments by the commissar, Tikhon Khrennikov.