Zoe Keating, the most followed cellist on Twitter, withdrew from performance two weeks ago to look after her husband, who has fallen seriously ill.

Things are not going well. Here’s what Zoe has posted in the last hour:


On May 13 an MRI found 20 tumors in my husbands brain. On May 15 he could barely breathe and was in a lot of pain. A CT scan that day revealed he had a softball-sized tumor in his lung, tumors in his other lung, his liver and possibly his bones. On our way home from the imaging center our primary care doc called and told us to turn around and get to the hospital right away. My husband was admitted and they promptly removed more than a pint of fluid from his lungs, which helped him breathe better. We were there for 6 days while they performed a bratheotomy, did more scans, gave him drugs to stop his brain from swelling and administered emergency chemo.

Today I got a letter from Anthem Blue Cross regarding his hospital stay:

“Coverage for the requested service is denied because the service does not meet the criteria for “medical necessity” under your description of benefits. To assist our Medical Director in making this decision, we have put a process in place to send all information about the service to a clinical reviewer with appropriate credentials. Based on their opinion, we have determined that covered for the requested service is denied. Our Medical Reviewer Layma Jarjour MD has determined we cannot approve your hospital stay for cancer. We do not have enough facts to show that it was medically necessary. ”

Anthem is owned by WellPoint. Did you know CEO Joseph Swedish earned almost $17 million during his first year on the job. Now you know how they can afford to pay him.


If you have advice for Zoe in this dire predicament, please post them on her Facebook page.

UPDATE: Media coverage has just started to roll here.


driverless car

… an orchestra?

Think about it.






The Royal Northern Sinfonia, based in Newcastle-Gateshead, have worked for the past 12 years with the violinist Thomas Zehetmair as music director. He kept them together but hardly raised their profile or their ambition.

So now they’ve replaced him with a pianist.

Lars Vogt is the new music director.

Read here.

lars vogt


We regret to report the death of Malcolm MacDonald, a polymath of musical knowledge who wrote so copiously that one name was not enough. He also appeared beneath the byline Calum MacDonald.

Malcolm wrote or edited some 15 books and was editor of Tempo magazine. His fields of expertise were legion, embracing Brahms, Schoenberg, Havergal Brian, Panufnik, the Scottish composer John Foulds, Alan Bush, Shostakovich, Bernard Stevens, Roberto Gerhard and Luigi Dallapiccola.

Malcolm had been suffering from cancer. He was 66. Our sympathies to his family; we have lost a veritable storehouse of wisdom and a passionate enthusiast for recondite corners of the art.



Prostitutes, porn stars and others engaged in the London sex trade have written The Sex Workers’ Opera, to be staged in Hackney next week. The impetus was a series of community workshops assisted by the Royal Opera House.

Co-director Siobhan Knox told the Hackney Gazette: ‘It’s not the first time an opera has been about a sex worker, but they tend to be one-sided, moralising tales… In the media we only hear about the happy hookers … or the poor trafficked worker who’s been forced into doing the job. What we are interested in are… those for whom it is just a job which can provide a flexible income.’

sex workers opera

Hot on the heels of the Lufthansa Orchestra comes news of an opera being created by Munich Airport staff, with both flight and ground crew on the stage. It’s called The New Ocean and it opens this weekend in a downtown theatre.

Click here for video and more info. We love the security official who hurls herself into a role.

new ocean

Heathrow next? JFK? In your dreams…


The cops in Tver thought they had struck lucky when a violin found in a suspected burglar’s appointment has a slip of paper in the case with the legend ‘Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno 1721′.

But close examination at the Glinka national museum in Moscow dated the wood to Germany, late 19th century. The results was posted on a Russian legal website and Interpol has been notified. Anyone recognise it?

strad russia

Ramon Tebar, 35, has been named artistic director of Opera Naples. The Spaniard was formerly music director of Florida Grand Opera.

ramon tebar



Southwest Florida Symphony has appointed Nir Kabaretti, 46, as its music director.

Just in case you want to escape the sunshine and hear some music.

UPDATE: Make that three. Click here.

The Lufthansa Orchestra, composed of airline staff from many countries, will give a concert next month in Sofia airport, Bulgaria.

There are 40 players and the programme is a mix of classical and jazz.

We don’t think they’ll be given trouble carrying their instruments on board.

lufthansa orch

Is any other airline musically inclined? We ought to be the first to know…

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”

The words of the poet Maya Angelou, who died today, aged 86.


From 1963 to 1966, she taught music and dance at the University of Ghana.

We have been informed of the death, aged 84, of Francesco d’Avalos, descendant of centuries of Spanish-Italian nobility and a determined propagator of some of his country’s lesser-known glories.

I first came across him as conductor, with the Philharmonia Orchestra, of luscious, little-known works by the quasi-Mahlerian Giuseppe Martucci. he also composed two operas, one about his ancestor Maria d’Avalos, wife of the wife-murdering composer Gesualdo.

Francesco died on Monday in the palazzo where he was born. May he rest in peace.