abbado concert

The Mayor of Milan has promised to plant 90,000 trees in the Maestro’s memory. His friend, the architect Renzo Piano, will plan the groves.

On Friday, Yovan Markovitch played in the closing concert in Paris of the celebrated Ysaye Quartet, which broke up after 30 years.

Today, we hear, he has rejoined the Danel Quartet in Brussels.

Things happen fast in the football transfer window.



Andrew Patner writes:

The sudden and wholly unexpected death yesterday of Chicago pianist and artistic and organizational force Deborah Sobol is a terrible tragedy for her family and for music and community in our city. Over her 40 years here, Debbie co-founded and led the Chicago Chamber Musicians for 20 years, launched, led, and has been tirelessly expanding Rush Hour Concerts at St James (Episcopal) Cathedral and its educational programs throughout the area, and was the local instigator and anchor of the France-inspired annual Make Music Chicago day.

deborah sobol

All of this while being a respected performer, sought-after teacher and studio director, and faculty member at Roosevelt University and other institutions. A source of joy, support, and inspiration to so many, and with her devoted husband, Dr. Rowland (Bing) Chang, a wise philanthropic figure and mother, it’s just impossible to imagine that she is gone in an instant. WFMT, with which she collaborated closely throughout her careers (plural), will broadcast a special program Friday following her memorial service. 

Here’s a link to her full, busy life story. And here’s Debbie on the people who came to the concerts she organised:

At one concert a few years ago, a young woman came up to me. She’d just learned that she’d failed the medical board exams, and she was so distraught that she’d run into the nearest open church, which happened to be St. James Cathedral (Rush Hour Concerts’ Summer Series home). She told me that the music brought her back to herself, to the reality that she could take the exam again, this time with more experience. She left calm, restored and encouraged.

Then there’s the homeless man who comes neatly dressed every week, puts 15 cents into our donation box, and sits next to one of Chicago’s philanthropic icons (free admission means no assigned seats), discussing “what we heard last week” and “what we’ll hear next Tuesday.” He leaves connected and dignified.

Wonderful 1930s brochures from Stalin’s Intourist organisation in Ross Wolfe’s blog, right here.


The instruments were taken during a lunchtime break-in on Friday, January 24, in Bremen-Oslebshausen. Violins, violas, cellos, gambas and bows were in the haul. The owner, a private collector, is offering 20,000 Euros as a reward for information leading to recovery of the property. The most distinctive item is a Viennese cello with an angel’s head.

The news has not yet been reported in German media. Contact Germany tel: 0173-9026166. More information below:

gamba stolen



Wir suchen ca. 100 antike Instrumente die am Freitag den 24.01.2014 in Bremen-Oslebshausen durch einen Einbruch um ca. 13:00 Uhr abhanden gekommen sind und zum Kauf angeboten werden könnten!!!! Außerdem suchen wir Hinweise auf die Täter! Der Fahrer eines hellen Lieferwagens parkte auf den Gehweg der Oslebshauser-Heerstr. Höhe Fuchsberg! Gesucht werden Zeugen wie Busfahrer, Fahrradfahrer, Fußgänger denen etwas aufgefallen ist!! Sowie Händler denen Geigen, Celli und andere Instrumente angeboten werden könnten. Kontakt: 0173-9026166

Für Hinweise die dazu führen das die Instrumente wieder auftauchen wird eine Belohnung von 20.000,00 € ausgesetzt!!!!!! Unter anderem eine Geige von Leopold Widhalm, altitalienische Geigen mit Zettel Guidantus Florenus, eine Bassgambe mit Puttenkopf, ein Wiener Cello mit Engelskopf, Eine Paul Bailly Geige mit originalzettel, eine Hill and Sons Geige und viele viele andere z.T auch Schülerinstrumente und Instrumente mit restaurationsbed.

Hier nun ein Link auf eine Website, auf der einige der gestohlenen Instrumente aufgelistet sind mit Fotos.!instruments/c1q2s



This is an astonishing project: recordings of the waterways that run beneath the great city, made available by a click on the map. Every sound is explained in a few words. Try it right here




Heinz Holliger, the Swiss composer, has lost his wife Ursula, at the age of 76.

An outstanding harpist, Ursula Holliger played on many recordings for Philips, DG, Claves and Novalis. She performed the European premiere of Elliott Carter’s harp concerto, Mosaic, and with her husband gave the world premiere of Harrison Birtwistle’s 26 Orpheus Elegies for Oboe and Harp with Countertenor at the 2004 Lucerne Festival.


Here are the highlights of the classical awards before the institutional PRs get at them.

The big winner was American composer Maria Schneider, who collected three Grammys for “Winter Morning Walks”. The set was recorded by Dawn Upshaw with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

maria schneider

The Minnesota Orchestra won the Grammy for best orchestral recording with Sibelius’ 1st and 4th symphonies, conducted by Osmo Vänskä on the BIS label. Credit to the musicians, none to the company that tried to starve them for 15 months. Now’s the time for the musicians to demand a rebranding to distance themselves from the lockout. Back to the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra? Great tradition.

Osmo Vänskä commented: “I am absolutely thrilled that this recording of Sibelius Symphonies 1 and 4 – works so close to my heart – has been honoured with a Grammy. I am immensely happy and proud to have been able to achieve this in partnership with my dear and devoted friends at BIS and with the wonderful musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra. It is the greatest honour to be given such an award by our peers – and my sincere thanks go to The Recording Academy for this wonderful recognition.”

Other classical wins: Thomas Ades for best opera recording with The Tempest at the Met.

Roomful of Teeth and Brady Wells won best chamber music performance.

Producer of the year, classical: David Frost

Best choral performance: “Pärt: Adam’s Lament,” Tõnu Kaljuste, conductor

Best classical instrumental solo: “Corigliano: Conjurer – Concerto For Percussionist and String Orchestra,” featuring Evelyn Glennie and the Albany Symphony Orchestra

Best classical compendium: “Hindemith: Violinkonzert; Symphonic Metamorphosis; Konzertmusik,” Christoph Eschenbach, conductor

Best score soundtrack for visual media: “Skyfall,” Thomas Newman, composer

The announcement says it all: ‘Lang Lang and the one, the only…. Metallica!’

Big splash of Tchaik b-flat, then into the band. Somewehre in the middle, the pianist was allowed another riff. Was anyone watching, listening to, Lang Lang?


screen-grab: Rolling Stone

A performance of Beethoven’s Eroica by the Scala orchestra and Daniel Barenboim will be streamed on the opera house’s website from 6pm Milan time today, 5pm London, noon New York. Since the website is hopelessly disorganised, you may be better off finding it live on Youtube.


Magdalena Kožená has announced on Czech television that she’s pregnant. The baby is due in June.

The couple have two sons, born in 2005 and 2008. Rattle, 59, has two grown-up sons from his first marriage to Elise Ross.


The Quator Ysaÿe is breaking up after 30 years.

Trained by members of the Amadeus (Martin Lovett) and the LaSalle (Walter Levin) quartets and named after the great Belgian composer Eugène Ysaÿe, the French group have been among the world’s leading string quartets, playing both core and contemporary repertoire. They recorded for Decca, Philips, Aeon and their own label. They gave their final concert was in Paris on Friday.

Viola player Miguel de Silva, a founding member, told Le Monde: ‘I am very proud of what we did,’ listing the great cycles and world premieres of their epoch: « Je suis très fier de ce que l’on a fait : on a joué les 69 quatuors de Haydn, tout Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, sans parler des créations que nous avons suscitées – Boucourechliev, Dusapin, Tanguy, Krawczyk, Escaich, Cerha… »

The group’s final line-up was: Yovan Markovitch, Miguel Da Silva, Guillaume Sutre and Luc-Marie Aguéra.