Mikhail Baryshnikov, the dancer, actor and choreographer, has been pictured in a rainbow scarf to show solidarity with gay minorities in Russia.

Baryshnikov is appearing at the Berkeley Rep in “Man in a Case”, based on short stories by Anton Chekhov. After the Sunday matinee, he posed with Gay Without Borders activists Michael Merrigan and Michael Petrelis, and Robbie Sweeny who operates the Facebook page Boycott4Russia.

Barynshnikov (1)

This film predates the child abuse scandals at private English music schools. It’s a bit precious but not without sense.

mu video keep children safe

Although he’s too frail to attend or to conduct, Pierre Boulez will be honoured this Thursday for conducting the Cleveland Orchestra for over half a century. Details here.


Here’s a blow by blow from producer Rob Mathes:

The NFL would not credit The New Jersey Symphony anywhere in the program nor myself as arranger and orchestrator. It is their policy to not allow anyone to use the trademark. The Symphony and I are allowed to talk about it and promote our work ad infinitum because what we did is factual but no acknowledgment for the Symphony seemed silly to me. Who cares about the arranger/orchestrator? I’ll be fine but New Jersey’s own??? The Super Bowl’s home this year and that home’s orchestra?? Who would it have hurt to mention them?? Come on!!!

To give more credit where credit is due, David Lai, Renée’s wonderful manager, and Renée herself completely masterminded the idea of using the Symphony. James Roe, the magnificent Oboist, who is now CEO of the NJ Symphony, and Susan Stucker, the COO, made it happen amidst the Symphony’s crazy schedule. On Friday, January 24th, I took up the baton on the stage of NJPAC and we went to work right after they had a recording session for Strauss’s Alpine Symphony. Talk about a juxtaposition!! Obviously having a Symphony on the 50 yard line in January would be impossible so Isaiah Abolin, world class engineer, recorded a number of run throughs and we picked the best one. That is what you heard tonight along with a group of Men and Woman from the Combined Military Choirs, Army, Navy and Marines. The reviews online have been magnificent but, as with anything that exposed, there have been a few naysayers. I dare say it is a tough job to do that song well and with the dignity and grace it needs yet not do it straight off the sheet music. I have heard so many stodgy arrangements of it and others that gild the lily in the extreme. There are some classic and beautiful ones though. If forced to choose I’d take stodgy over histrionic. I often love the solemn and stirring performances done by Baritone singers, sometimes from the Military. That is almost the default best option as opposed to an American Idol free-for-all on such a rich hymn.

renee fleming super bowl

For those interested it is written as a waltz. In other words it is in 3. “Oh oh say can you see by the 1-2-3-1-2-3”. It is ever so occasionally expanded to be in 4, though rarely. Renée wanted the beginning to really suggest an openness and purity and she wanted to float above it. Putting the first two stanzas in 4/4 time gave her that room she wanted. I went to the traditional 3/4 time after “Rocket’s Red Glare”—gave “proof through the night” etc etc. Into 3 we went for a traditional barn storming close. What an absolute trip to hear it in the midst of all that madness. Giant Bud Light cans and bombs and women on horses and rockets. You name it. Renée gave it her all and just hit it out of the park I think.

 Laszlo Kovacs was dismissed last week as artistic director and conductor of the North Hungarian Symphony Orchestra in Miskolc. He has held the job for 30 years and his contract was only renewed last August.
It appears that an incoming new manager decided that Kovacs did conform to the political realities. Report here in Hungarian.
Kovács László_művészeti igazgató

A panel of 44 music critics and journalists picked the best classical concerts held in Japan from December 1, 2012 to November 30, 2013.

The winner is pictured below.

Here’s the list:

1. 16 points / City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons
2. 15 points / Nissei Theater – Reimann’s “Lear”
3. 14 points / Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons
4. 13 points / Radu Lupu (piano)
5. 12 points / Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Simon Rattle
6. 11 points / Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Christian Thielemann
7. 10 points / Teatro alla Scala – “Falstaff”
8. 9 points / Orchestra of the 18th Century conducted by Frans Brüggen
8. 9 points / Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra – 841st subscription concert (Orchard Hall) conducted by Mung-Whung Chung
10. 8 points / Magdalena Kozena (mezzo-soprano) & Private Musike
11. 7 points / London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink
11. 7 points / Murray Perahia (piano)
13. 6 points / Mitsuko Uchida (piano)
13. 6 points / Orchestre de Paris conducted by Paavo Järvi
15. 5 points / Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen
15. 5 points / Tokyo Spring Music Festival – „Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg“
15. 5 points / Ensemble InterContemporain
15. 5 points / Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto –
“L’enfant et les sortilèges,”  “L’heure espagnole”
15. 5 points / Teatro alla Scala – “Rigoletto”
15. 5 points / Japan Philharmonic Orchestra 653rd subscription concert
conducted by Pietari Inkinen
15. 5 points / John Williams (guitar)
15. 5 points / Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek
15. 5 points / Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen conducted by Paavo Järvi – “Fidelio”
15. 5 points / Krystian Zimerman (piano)
Andris Nelsons conducts Beethoven 7

Yesterday, we acclaimed the welcome return of the Westminster recorded catalogue after a generation gathering dust in the vaults.

Today, we have been reminded of some of its less glorious visual moments. Supply your own captions.

westmister gagThe producer refused to comment.


westminster feet

Dvorak is not for dancing.


westminster grapes

Sour notes.

westminster feet westminster grapes westminsterjpg-500x500

A conductor is born.

westminster devil

Rare appearance by head of A&R.

Covers from here. H/t: Derek Warby.

We have been informed of the death of Igor Uryash, a well-known soloist, accompanist and teacher at the Rimsky-Korasakov Conservatoire in St Petersburg. He was just 48. According to Izvestia, he may have died of exposure.

UPDATE: A friend told Ria-Novosti: ‘I got a call from his telephone, saying Igor is near the entrance. When I arrived, he was no longer breathing. Igor’s body is now at his home, examined by doctors. There was no violent sign of death’.



Joan Mondale, wife of the former senator and US vice-president Walter Mondale, has died at the age of 83.

A potter and artist, Joan was named honorary chair of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities under the Cater administration, lobbying tirelessly for improved conditions and funding for professional artists. Her efforts earned her the pet name, ‘Joan of Art’, a celebrity shared by few Washington spouses.

May she rest in peace.

joan mondale