The Russian pianist Denis Matsuev reflects on his recent New York residency:

This year my friend, Executive and artistic Director of Carnegie Hall, Sir Clive Gillinson invited me to take part in the three concerts of a series “Carnegie Hall presents”. This concert was part of a series “Keyboard Virtuosos”, in which I found myself in the company of wonderful musicians performing at Carnegie Hall during this musical season. I thought over the program for this concert really thoroughly, as I was aware of all the responsibility to the American public, which I love and good attitude of which I cherish. The atmosphere at the concert itself was fascinating; I was got a lot of positive energy and emotions from the audience.

As it happens all the time after the concerts in Carnegie Hall, I got a lot of enemies. Tickets for the concert were sold out, so not all comers were lucky to get them. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do about it. In Russia, knowing how it is important for many people to come to classic music concerts, I always manage to solve the problem with tickets somehow (to get tickets to the gallery or just put the chairs on the stage that happens more and more often recently). Unfortunately, it is impossible variant for Carnegie Hall, because of the traditions and original peculiarities of the hall. Therefore, those who has not got to the concert this time, I solemnly promise to inform you about the dates of future concerts in Carnegie Hall, which will take place in January 2015, where you all are invited.

denis matsuev

clare presland

Mezzo Clare Presland, 30, has won the award in memory of Susan Chilcott, a soprano cut short in her prime.


The Chilcott Award is offered biennially to an opera singer between the ages of 23 and 33 who, like Susan Chilcott herself, has the potential to make an international impact within the world of opera. The Award is specifically designed to enable advanced training or career development. The first recipient, in 2012, was Baritone Duncan Rock. This year, over 40 young singers applied for the Chilcott Award.

Clare Presland, who is shortly to sing the role of Miss Jessel in Nevill Holt Opera’s production of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw (5 & 6 July), was chosen following audition. The award was made by a distinguished jury, chaired by pianist and close friend of Susan Chilcott, Iain Burnside and featuring Chilcott Scholarship Trustees, soprano Dame Josephine Barstow, international voice coach, Lady Pappano, Pamela Bullock, bass baritone, Neal Davies, Ian Rosenblatt, Founder of the Rosenblatt Recital Series and RPS Trustee and John Gilhooly, Director of Wigmore Hall and Chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society. They were joined by Camilla De Rijck, Producer at Cypres Records, radio host and producer and owner of, David Sigall, Director of Ingpen and Williams, and Eva Kleinitz, Opera Director, Stuttgart Opera and President of Opera Europa.

Clare Presland has appeared at English National Opera, Grange Park Opera, Longborough Festival Opera, Garsington Opera and with Opera UpClose.

Viola player Gareth Zehngut is heading inland to join the rebuilding of the Minnesota Orchestra.

He says:  ‘I feel incredibly privileged to be joining the Minnesota Orchestra. By joining this fantastic group of musicians I am fulfilling a life-long dream and I can’t wait to get started!’



Photo by Beth Ross-Buckley.

From 510 applicants, they have selected the following:

– Samuel Burstin (UK)
– Leandro Carvahlo (Brazil/Italy)
– Ivan Cherednichenko (Ukraine)
– Marzena Diakun (Poland)
– Mihhail Gerts (Estonia)
– Ayyub Guliyev (Azerbaidjan)
– Quentin Hindley (France)
– Alexey Kirillov (Russia)
– Stanislav Kochanovsky (Russia)
– Vladimir Kulenovic (USA/Serbia)
– Lio Kuokman (Macao)
– Kalle Kuusava (Finland)
– Chen Lin (China)
– Julien Masmondet (France)
– Andris Rasmanis (Latvia)
– Ena Shin (South Korea/USA)
– Vasily Valitov (Russia)
– Kseniya Zharko (Russia)


The finals, open to the audience, will be held at the prestigious Salle Pleyel (258 rue du Faubourg St Honoré, Paris) on 28th June 2014 from 14:00-17:00 and 18:30-21:30.

Another day, another journo-list.

But this one, in USA Today, has some good thinking behind it.

It names Southern Methodist College, in Dallas, as the best in music. The reasons? The ‘high amount of financial aid afforded to undergraduates ‘ and the focus it offers ‘on fostering artists’ abilities as both musicians and community influencers.’

That’s music to our ears.




Full list:

1 SMU, Dallas

2 Boston College (highest starting salary for music grads)

3 Princeton

4 Yale

5 Stanford…

… and the rest.

Samantha Cohn, 34, a former dancer working as a pilates teacher, jumped or fell from the window of her 16th floor West 71st Street apartment yesterday morning, narrowly missing a pedestrian.

It’s reported she was suffering from cancer. She had been at Juilliard in the class of 2002.


samantha cohn

photo and bio: facebook

This just in from John Walz. Whey will they ever learn?

Attention All Cellists!!! Alaska Airlines now requires a first class ticket for the cello!! I discovered this early this morning at Burbank Airport when I arrived for my flight to Seattle.

Of course, this stupid rule negated my travel plans (not to mention the already purchased ticket for the cello). They “graciously” offered to hand carry the cello to the baggage hold and when I told them that was not going to happen, I had no choice but to send my cello home with Vince and borrow a cello up there.

My dear friend and colleague, Doug Davis, came to the rescue and I’ll have the honor of playing Sundays concert on his splendid Gagliano!! In the meantime, here’s a beautiful view of the Seattle skyline from the ferry to Port Townsend.


seattle sky

UPDATE: Alaska Airlines have tweeted us this response:

Our policy does not specify that you have to have a first class seat. You can book a 2nd seat in coach for oversize baggage such as your cello.

They add, confusingly:

Not all seats in coach can be used as a 2nd seat for oversize baggage. There are specific seats used on each flight. However all seats in first class can be used for oversize baggage. That may have been the issue in this case.

Liz Hill on ArtsProfessional has a helluva story. The ACE has apparently been helping big London clients meet the interest on their debt repayments.

All very quietly and under the table, from a contingency budget.  The South Bank, needless to say, gets most.

Three million here, three million there, that’s where our money goes.



We’ve been warning that the Metropolitan Opera was losing the media war.

This morning we received proof.

A full-page ad in the New York Times explains the Met’s position in cost-cutting negotiations with the unions.

It has all been said before in interviews. But the Met has lost the argument.

Now it’s having to pay a five-digit sum, certainly not far short of $30,000, to try and buy back public support.

met ad






The Times reported: The Met’s board took out an advertisement on Friday in The New York Times endorsing the proposal to cut labor costs, saying that while rising donations had offset declining box office revenues, “the level of giving simply cannot continue to grow faster than our rising costs.”


Here’s what the musicians think of it all.

Our friend Michael Lorenz has come up with another Mozart gem – the memoir of a Scottish-Polish musician, Ludwig-William Ferguson-Tepper, who visited Haydn twice in Esterhazy and Vienna.

When I told him what I thought of his compositions and described to him the real enthusiasm they caused everywhere, he replied: “Ah! Sir: we have someone in Vienna who will crush us all; he is a universal genius, compared to whom I am a child.” He spoke of Mozart, who at that time was still alive…


Read more here (English and Francais).

hadyn in storm

pictured: Haydn in storm (Lebrecht Music&Arts)



Over the past month you could hardly open a mid-market or tabloid newspaper without seeing reports of a ‘priceless’ violin that was found in the Manhattan apartment of the late heiress, Huguette Clark. Ms Clark died in 2011, aged 104, and had not played an instrument in decades. Christie’s, who were selling the instrument, must have spent a fortune on PR and marketing.

The 1731 ‘Kreutzer’ Stradiuvarius was going to sell for something in excess of $10 million.



Except it didn’t.

Didn’t sell at all, because nobody bid the reserve price.

Not worth it, said the serious musicians at whom the campaign should have been aimed.

So back to the drawing board for Christie’s, back to the drawer for the Strad.

And the mass media? Didn’t report a word about the failed sale.

All hype and no news.

Kate Blackwell QC, who conducted a brutal cross-examination of the violinist Frances Andrade in the rape case against Chetham’s music director Mike Brewer, entered a curious defence when she was stopped for speeding.

Ms Blackwell, 44, said she could not afford to lose her driving license as she feared for her life if she took a bus after the vilification she attracted for defending Mike Brewer.

Brewer was jailed for six years for sexual assault. Andrade, at the end of her cross-examination by Blackwell, committed suicide.

frances andrade



The court in Buxton was unimpressed by Ms Blackwell. She was fined £650 and banned from driving for six months. The ban was later suspended, pending appeal.

Do not approach her if you happen to see her on a bus.

kate blackwell