Aron Zelkowicz warns us of an outbreak of one-eyed portraits in the cello world. Lots more here. Other instruments are getting infected. What is going on?


alagna kurzak baby

Aleksandra Kurzak and Roberto Alagna became parents today of a baby girl, Malena.


Today’s annual statement of the German orchestral association (DOV) shows a continued pattern of gentle decline.

The number of orchs is 131, down from 168 in 1992.

The number of jobs is down 20 percent from 12,159 in 1992 to the present 9,825.

However, chamge can also mean progress. Some 30 percent of orch seats are now occupied by women. Even more encouraging, of young orchestral musicians aged 25 to 30 the proportion of women is now just over 50 percent.

The future is bright. The future is female.

(Don’t tell them in Vienna.)



Aleksandra Kurzak and Roberto Alagna have become parents of a baby girl, Malena.

Pics to follow (we hope).

alagna kurzak preg

Message from the tenor Roberto Alagna:

alagna werther


COMMUNIQUE : Appelé subitement par un heureux événement à venir dans les toutes prochaines heures, Roberto Alagna est indisponible pour la représentation de ce soir. Il sera remplacé sur la scène de l’Opéra Bastille par Luca Lombardo.


BREAKING NEWS: Suddenly called for the forthcoming birth of his child in the next few hours, Roberto Alagna will not be available to perform Werther tonight. Luca Lombardo will replace him on the stage of the Opera Bastille.


His partner Aleksandar Kurzak has gone into labour. We await happy news.


alagna kurzak preg

Time was stopped today by news of the death of Sarah Knapp Kidd, a dazzling Juilliard graduate whom fellow-students believed was on her way to great things. Originally from Bloomington, Indiana, she lived and died in Brooklyn. NY.

Sarah appears in this video on the rise of women conductors. Our sympathies to her family and her many friends.

The conductor Tito Munoz remembers Sarah:

I wasn’t close to her, just pleasant chit chatting here and there, but I observed her conducting several times… at Maestro Masur’s workshop where she held her poise and saw the best in his critique, however controversial he might have been, and in a performance with the Juilliard lab orchestra in a very gripping performance of Britten’s Peter Grimes Sea Interludes. She was very talented and very dedicated. Good things were waiting for her. It’s terrible she was cut short, and so abruptly. I hope she serves as an inspiration to other young women who may be thinking about a future in conducting.

sarah knapp kidd



It’s the….




New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jacques Lacombe. But they won’t be in the Bowl. Renée will be singing to a recorded track.

Do we like that?


Renée could phone it in, too.

Monika Grütters begins as she means to continue: talking up the arts, not (like British ministers) telling them what not to do.

Press release:





The new German minister of culture and media, Monika Grütters, visits the German music-industry at Midem on her first trip abroad as minister

Over 60 German companies presenting for the global music-market

Cannes – Over 60 German music-companies are presenting themselves from February 1st to February 4 th at the MIDEM in Cannes, one of the most important music-trade fairs worldwide. There will be prominent support: Monika Grütters, the new minister for culture and media will inaugurate on Sunday February 2nd, 5pm the German joint stand in the Palais des Festivals. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy is also partner of the joint stand at MIDEM; already for the 25th time.

The president of the German Publishers’ Association (DMV), Dagmar Sikorski and Dr. Harald Heker, Chairman of the Board of the German collection society GEMA will join the minister at the inauguration of the joint stand. The managing director of the German Music Publishers’ Association (DMV), Dr. Heinz Stroh, stated: “Because of the support of the ministry of Economics especially the smaller and middle-sized companies get here at Midem the chance to present their product to the global music-market and to make contacts that otherwise would only be possible with an enormous financial expense.” Stroh pointed out that Midem still is one of the most important places to make contacts for the licensing business that brings together all genres. After 15 years of contraction on the global music-market an increase is visible again because of the digital product. German is number four on the international music-market.

One of the highlights of Midem will be the competition “Midem Lab” where start-ups on the music-market will compete. From Germany Capsule fm, Nagual Sounds and Starlize are qualified and will present themselves to potential investors and international market participants.

In workshops and on conferences representatives of the German music market will discuss about the future perspectives of the music-market. Among them are: Dr. Florian Drücke (managing director of the association of the German music industry BVMI), Ronny Krieger (label manager, Monkeytown Records), Horst Weidenmüller (founder and CEO, !K7 Records), Bettina Dorn (Director Brand Partnership Central Europe, Warner Music Group) and Michael Kramer, founder and managing director of BrundX.

The DMV “Deutscher Musikverleger-Verband e.V.” is an association representing the interests of music publishers throughout the German Federal Republic. Representing over 400 music publishers, the association acts for about 90% of music publishers active in Germany. In the past business-year (2013) the DMV member-companies reached total revenues of 590 million euro (2012: 588 million euro).

Apart from the so called “paper-business”, the printing and distribution of sheet music, (about 10 % of the total revenues of the music publishing companies) further revenue-sources for the publishers direct are rights and licenses for advertising, music in films etc. . The main share of turnover is made from the income from those rights that GEMA is taking care of for the national and international authors and publishers.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham have been putting their minds around one of the great mysteries of the universe. They set up the following study:

‘In two separate case studies, two internationally recognized string quartets repeatedly performed a short excerpt from the fourth movement of Haydn’s quartet Op. 74 no. 1, with intentional, but unrehearsed, expressive variations in timing.’

And what do you think they discovered? Leadership varies from one quartet to another, one moment to the next.

Full report here from a BBC science reporter.

Bristol Ensemble Quartet

Juan Angel Vela del Campo of El Pais is first with a review of Charles Wuorinen’s new opera, Brokeback Mountain. He calls it ‘a hymn of freedom…. tightly structured… flawless.’

Read here (in Spanish).


The Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basle has paid an unspecified amount for the manuscripts and documents of Jonathan Harvey, who died in December 2012. The Sacher archive is the largest repository of 20th century composer materials. It is funded by the Hoffman-Laroche pharmacological fortune.

Jonathan Harvey-credit Maurice Foxall

photo: Maurice Foxall

‘Just wrapped up the first 2 days as conductor of Andrea’s recording of Manon Lescaut in Valencia,’ writes the ex-tenor.


domingo bocelli

The soprano, Ana Maria Martinez, does not get in the pictures.