The Philadelphia Orchestra will stream its Sunday concert from Shanghai…. opening a whole new world of possibilities. It’s the first time any concert has ever been live-streamed out of China. Press release follows:

philadelphia china

The Philadelphia Orchestra to Live-Stream China Concert Worldwide


May 25 Concert is China’s First-Ever International Symphonic Webcast and Marks Another First in the Philadelphia Orchestra-China Relationship


Viewers Can Share Portion of the Concert through Social Media


(Philadelphia, May 22, 2014)—As a special tour gift for its fans across the globe, The Philadelphia Orchestra will be streaming its concert Sunday, May 25, from the Shanghai Grand Theatre during its 2014 Tour of Asia & China Residency. The concert, which takes place at 7:30 PM in China and will be streamed at 7:30 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST), is the first symphonic webcast from China to an international audience. The Orchestra will perform Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 (“Jupiter”) and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1.


The concert will be broadcast on the internet and mobile devices by a-Peer Synergy Shanghai Culture & Technology Co., via their newly developed digital platform, To watch the concert for free, viewers must pre-register at They will also be able to share up to three minutes of a selection of the concert through social media.


The first symphonic webcast from China to an international audience is yet another “first” in the storied relationship between the country and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Since 1973, when President Richard M. Nixon asked the Orchestra to be the first U.S. orchestra to perform in China, the ensemble has enjoyed a unique and special relationship with China and its people. Twenty years after its first arrival in China, the Orchestra returned in 1993, 1996, 2001, 2008, and 2010, when it helped to open the World Expo in Shanghai, prior to its residencies in 2012 and 2013. The Philadelphia Orchestra’s visit to Changsha marks the first U.S. orchestra to perform in that city and its performance in the Shenzhen Concert Hall will be the first by an American orchestra.


The Orchestra’s 2014 Tour of Asia & China Residency marks Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural tour with The Philadelphia Orchestra and covers major cities in mainland China including Beijing, Shanghai, and Changsha. In addition, the Orchestra also makes a return trip to Macao for the second consecutive year before continuing on to concerts in Tokyo, Japan. The Orchestra concludes its 2014 Tour of Asia with a concert in Taipei, Taiwan, on June 6. The concerts in Chinahonor the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States.


Nézet-Séguin, who became the eighth music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra in the 2012-13 season, has taken the ensemble to new musical heights through concerts in Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C. The New York Times has called him “phenomenal,” adding that under his baton, “the ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogenous richness, has never sounded better.” He is music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain, as well as principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic. He has made wildly successful appearances with the world’s most revered ensembles, and is recognized throughout Europe and North America as a musical leader of the highest caliber.

Kevin Smith, former head of Minnesota Opera, will step in as interim president when Michael Henson clears out in the summer. The post is short-term while the orch searches for a permanent leader. Smith headed the Minn Opera for 25 years, retiring in 2011. He’ll know most of the local donors and enough of the musicians to keep the ship on an even keel until the long, hard work of rebuilding can begin.

musicians for minn

Not bad at all in the difficult circumstances, says New York Classical Review, always first on the scene. Click here.


benedetti (1)

The St Louis Symphony has opened the transfer season with a flush of midfielders.

Jonathan Chu, ex-Boston and Philadelphia, will be the new assistant principal viola (he is married to principal viola, Beth Guterman Chu).

jonathan chu

The other two are Xi Zhang, from Hubei Province in China, and Chris Tantillo, a regular with SLSO since 2006.

St Louis now has seven married couple in the orchestra. Is that a record?


A Birmingham Post report by veteran music critic Christopher Morley suggests that all is not well at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Music director Andris Nelsons is leaving and there is no replacement in sight.


Andris Nelsons conducting


There are 14 vacant seats in the orchestra, some of them long unoccupied. Two trumpet players have left, along with a harpist and ‘the greatest tympanist in the country’ (according to Simon Rattle, himself a specialist timp).

Morale is poor, says Morley, adrenaline low.

There is also the possibility – unmentioned – that chief executive Stephen Maddocks may be lured back to the BBC.

Gloom all round. Read Morley here.


The following pianists have reached the final of the 14th Rubinstein competition in Israel:

Anthony Baryshevskii  (Ukraine)

Steven Lin  (USA)

Kolafeliche Leonardo  (Italy)

Seong Jin Cho  (South Korea)

Andrew Osokins  (Latvia)

Maria Mazo  (Russia)


At least two public favourites were eliminated and there were protests when jury chairman, Arie Vardi (pictured), announced the list. He responded: ‘I am very glad that you are so actively involved in the process.’

arie vardi

Don’t bother to search for results on the competition’s website. It’s useless.


Freak storms in London today pinged the newest landmark tower.

The Belgrade Philharmonic, clearing up after the worst floods in a century, is appealing to musicians and the music industry to join its appeal for Serbia’s homeless and dispossessed.

The musicians write:

serbia flood




Dear friends, colleagues and people of good will,


Serbia is facing the worst floods in more than a century.


The severe flooding has prompted the evacuation of at least 24,300 people. It’s the worst flooding Serbia has seen since the country began keeping records 120 years ago. Many cities and villages in western Serbia are completely under water. Тhe situation is critical and  the authorities declared a state of emergency. Volunteers, soldiers and rescue workers have stacked sandbags in towns near rivers throughout the country. It is not just the human cost of flooded homes that is a worry there is an environmental concern as well. Sewage and industrial pollution may be washed back into the rivers when the waters fall.


Having in mind successful and above all friendly cooperation you devoloped with Belgrade Philharmonic, as well as with Serbian people, we most kindly invite you to send your contributions and support efforts which our country is making to reduce the consequences of the tragic floods. For this purpose the Serbian government opened foreign currency account for aid to victims of floods:



The refusal by soprano Karita Mattila to sing with conductor Valery Gergiev for supporting the annexation of Crimea has drawn an appalling response from an MEP candidate of the anti-EU Independence Party, a man by the name of Jon Hellevig.

In a post on Mattila’s Facebook page on Sunday, Hellevig wrote that the singer misunderstood the policies of Vladimir Putin, was a Nazi at heart and deserved to be raped. There was an outcry in Finnish media.

The post was taken down after legal pressure. Mr Hellevig was subsequently expelled from the party.

karita mattila

The Hollywood star is stepping down after ten years as artistic director. His successor will be Matthew Warchus.



h/t: The Stage


This is truly mind-bending

The Seaboard Grand, a rubbery keyboard that allows you to bend sound any way which way you like, launches tonight at Abbey Road with £7.6 million in venture capital. It’s a genuine British invention.

Now, where can I lay hands on one?

I need it now.
seaboard grand

press release:

Revolutionary music hardware firm ROLI raises $12.8m from leading investment houses to scale production
May 22nd, 2014 (London, United Kingdom)

London music start-up ROLI, whose award-winning product, the Seaboard GRAND, met with unexpectedly strong demand creating waiting lists of up to a year, is now poised to scale production and expand globally.

ROLI today announces a $12.8m (£7.6m) Series A, one of the largest ever for a music hardware company, to fuel increased production and significant growth of its leadership and product engineering teams. The financing is led by Balderton Capital (investors in LoveFilm and Kobalt Music Group), alongside FirstMark Capital (investors in Pinterest and Shopify), Index Ventures (investors in Sonos and SoundCloud), as well as strategic investor Universal Music (the world’s leading music company). As part of the financing, Daniel Waterhouse from Balderton and Amish Jani from FirstMark join the board of directors.

ROLI’s flagship product, the Seaboard GRAND, is a radical reimagining of the keyboard that enables musicians to make music in ways that were never before possible. It has earned rave reviews, hailed as “the piano of the future” (CNN) and called “influential, innovative,” and “ingenious” (The Telegraph). The Seaboard GRAND has also won multiple awards, including the SXSW Music Accelerator in 2013, and more recently the product category of the Design Museum’s 2014 Design of the Year Award, beating leading international hardware companies such as Nest and GoPro. With orders from 34 countries, the Seaboard GRAND is now shipping and available for sale

ROLI founder and CEO, Roland Lamb, said, “This capital will enable us to scale production capacity to meet growing demand, build our team, and accelerate our product roadmap. The Seaboard is just the first in a line of breakthrough music hardware and software products, and the investment will speed development of core platform products like our sound engine Equator. Ultimately, ROLI’s mission is to create new interfaces that expand the bandwidth of interaction between people and technology, and this financing is a major step towards realising that goal.”

Lamb followed an untraditional path to spearheading a high-growth technology company. He studied Classical Chinese and Sanskrit Philosophy at Harvard, lived in a Zen monastery in Japan, and worked as a gigging jazz pianist. He invented the Seaboard in 2009 while studying design under Ron Arad at the Royal College of Art, and developed a working prototype in his spare room before receiving the first angel funding for ROLI in 2012.

The ROLI team has grown from three people two years ago to 33 today. Lamb said, “We’re looking for inventors, designers, and entrepreneurs who are passionate about changing how we interface with technology to come join our unique working culture and help us forge the future of interaction. And we’re thrilled to begin working with superlative partners on both sides of the Atlantic – Balderton and Index here in London, and FirstMark in New York. Our partners bring a depth of expertise that will be invaluable as we disrupt the music industry and expand our marketplace and presence especially into the US.”

Daniel Waterhouse of Balderton said, “Roland and the team have developed a truly innovative and inspirational first generation of products, combining design, technology and a re-imagining of the user interface for creating music. ROLI is further evidence of the unique fusion of skills that can be found building a new generation of technology companies in London. We’re delighted to be backing such a ground-breaking company.”

ROLI will celebrate this milestone with an exclusive event on the 22nd of May to showcase the Seaboard GRAND at Abbey Road Studios, one of the most innovative studios in recording history, and now a part of Universal Music. Universal Music Group’s Head of Corporate Development Jeremy Erlich said, “Roland and his team have built an incredible product that opens up new possibilities for music creators. We’re very excited to be invested in ROLI alongside some wonderful partners in Balderton, FirstMark and Index and to be announcing this in the iconic Abbey Road Studios.” The evening will take place in Studio 2, where artists such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd have recorded, and will feature the first-ever performance of a Seaboard ensemble.

About ROLI

ROLI is a design-led music technology start-up based in Dalston, London. ROLI makes hardware and software products designed to increase the bandwidth of interaction between people and technology.

ROLI’s first product, the Seaboard GRAND, is a radically new musical instrument that reimagines the piano keyboard as a soft, continuous surface. The Seaboard’s polyphonic pitch bend, vibrato and per-note dynamic changes are all available at the user’s fingertips, marrying the intuitiveness of a traditional instrument with the versatility of digital technology. ROLI has brought together years of innovation in several disciplines to realise this powerful concept as an award-winning product. Learn more

We reported earlier that there were no US or UK finalists in the Reine Elisabeth singing competition in Brussels. There are no Australians, Canadians or Africans, either. No Russians. No East Europeans.

What kind of ‘international’ competition is that?

Are we to believe that the greatest concentration of singing talent is now to be found in South Korea and… er, Belgium?

Apparently no Americans applied and only one Brit put in, deterred by the high cost and the likelihood of a warped verdict.

A observer tells us: It is very obvious that the jury has made some funny decisions. From the beginning there were singers with really bad pitch coming through, singers who had trouble getting to the end of their arias, but were pretty young women. Some of the competitors pumped the press with PR-driven interviews so that the audience applauded them frenetically even before they sang.

It cannot be coincidence that of 12 finalists three are Belgians , and two more study in Brussels.

Small-town stuff, then. Not really an international competition.

reine elisabeth