George LePauw, the festival’s director, has received a stiff letter from the Chicago Federation of Musicians. He is threatened with a musicians boycott unless he pays up.

UPDATE here.

beethoven fest

George Lepauw, President and Artistic Director

International Beethoven Project

P.O. Box 14149

Chicago, Illinois 60614

Dear Mr. Lepauw,

On behalf of the Chicago Federation of Musicians (“CFM”), I am writing regarding the

failure of the International Beethoven Festival (the “Festival”) to pay the wages it owes

to the musicians who participated in last year’s orchestral performances.

Because the Festival did not file a musical services contract with the CFM, the CFM is

unable to take any action on behalf of the affected musicians. I have, however, followed

this story with great concern; and given your recent announcement that you are

proceeding with a 2014 Festival despite failing to honor your commitments to the

musicians who performed in 2013, I am compelled to go on the record and state, in no

uncertain terms, the CFM’s opposition to the Festival’s actions.

The Festival’s treatment of its musicians has been atrocious. You engaged some of the

best musicians from Chicago and beyond; you promised to pay them; they performed,

by all accounts admirably; and then you failed to pay them. Citing financial difficulties,

you promised at various points over the past ten months that payment would be

forthcoming. According to what you said in the Chicago Reader, only “a quarter” of the

sixty-plus musicians in last year’s orchestra have been paid in full. The other three

quarters have received only partial payment and, ten months after the performances,

are still waiting for the rest. It is unclear why certain favored musicians received

payment before others.

In an email just a few months ago, you assured the musicians that you would “not

proceed” with a 2014 Festival “unless finances allow and our debt to you is paid.” But

you have now announced plans to present the Festival in August 2014, and engaged a

new roster of musicians – many of whom are not the same musicians who played in

2013, and to whom you still owe wages. Your assurance of payment has proven false;

and now it appears that you intend to exploit another group of musicians with the 2014


Recently, in comments on the blog Slipped Disc, you vigorously defended your decision

to proceed with a 2014 Festival without paying last year’s musicians. Worse, you tried

to paint yourself as the victim of musicians who “complained on social media.” In an

email to the unpaid musicians last November, you complained that you “had to give up

on gigs in order to” deal with this issue.

Mr. Lepauw, you are not the victim here. Given your background, you should know

through personal experience the struggles that free-lance musicians face when trying to

earn a living, and how each and every gig counts when bills come due each month.

You should also be keenly aware of the harm that results when employers say “if you

want to get paid, keep your mouth shut and don’t complain” or “you should do this for

the love of the music.” Yet that is precisely the tactic you have chosen. Your words

claim you are a “musician’s advocate,” yet your actions make public an alarming lack of

regard and respect for your musician colleagues.

Be advised that the CFM will be urging all musicians to decline employment with the

2014 Festival, or, if they have already accepted employment, to withdraw. The CFM will

also be calling for the public to boycott the Festival until last year’s musicians are paid.


Gary Matts, President

Chicago Federation of Musicians

We hear that Anna Netrebko’s former agent, Jeffrey Vanderveen, is busily assuring people he has no intention of leaving his present job at Opus3 Artists.

Since his denial conflicts with a report we published earlier this month, we had better share Jeffrey’s secret plan, stating the contrary.

vanderveen netrebko



June 9, 2014

Dear Jahm and Daniel,

Re: Playbill Network

Thank you again for our dynamic and productive meeting at your office last week. We are excited to

partner with you to build, market, and manage the new OTT platform for culture and entertainment,

The Playbill Network. You have asked us to create a business plan to outline the various components

of the proposed model, and we have carefully considered what would be required of us in order to

deliver such a plan to you on an expedited basis. We believe a mutual commitment of time, effort, and

resources is integral to progressing this initiative, and we would like to ask you to consider the following


1. We will create a comprehensive business plan for your review which will include a broad

market analysis for content and customer acquisition for The Playbill Network. This analysis

will be based on the work we have completed in connection with the initiatives of Music Media

Enterprises (“MME”) as well as the specific strategies and partnerships (including potential

acquisitions) required to build and launch The Playbill Network.

2. MME will suspend negotiations with all third-party OTT providers for subscription based Audio-
Visual streaming services for a minimum period of 60 days.

3. Najafi Companies will commit to a fee of $35,000 per month payable to MME for our services in

creating the business plan and financial analysis of The Playbill Network.

4. In the event Najafi Companies and MME arrive at a mutual agreement to create The Playbill

Network through NewCo, Najafi Companies will guarantee salaries for the management team

totaling $52,000 per month for a minimum term of three years, as well as a 10% equity stake as

discussed in our meeting. An additional two-year employment term shall be optioned upon our

meeting defined deliverables.

5. It will be understood that Najafi Companies and MME are entering into a ‘hand-shake’

commitment that both companies will use their best efforts to create and implement a

partnership for the creation of The Playbill Network by September 1, 2014.

6. Our ‘all-in’ commitment to devote 100% of our time (including the termination of Jeffrey’s

current employment contract on or before September 1, 2014) to this partnership with Najafi

Companies in creating a large-scale startup for the commercialization and monetization of

culture and entertainment on a worldwide basis.

We remain committed to coming to an agreement with you for this new initiative and look forward to

your comments on the proposals above.

With kind regards,

Jeffrey and Jessica

Lio Kuokman, recently appointed assistant conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, has been declared winner of the Evgeny Svetlanov Competition.

The first prize was not awarded. Kuokman was second. A British conductor, Samuel Burstin, came third.

The winner gets 15,000 Euros and a second chance to conduct the radio philharmonic orchestra of France.

Kuokman, 32, is in the process of moving from Hong Kong to the US.


lio kuokman

The music director of the National Theatre, Robert Jindra, has quit, saying he has no faith in general director Jan Burian’s plan to renew the company. He lasted less than a year in a notorious swinging-door job. Jindra has posted this on his Facebook page:

Česká opera je nesmrtelná, je originální a musí být ctí každého českého umělce jí smět dělat!Já jsem za tu možnost vděčný! Děkuju všem!

Czech opera is immortal, original and must be honored by each Czech artist allowed to do this!I am grateful for the opportunity! Thank you all!

robert jindraNational-Theatre-Prague-Photo

Results are in from Cincy.

Moye Chen, currently finishing a doctorate at the University of Illinois, was the outright winner.

The crowd favourite Reed Tetzloff shared bronze with Feng Bian.



l-r: Director Mark Ernster with Tetzloff, Bian and Moye Chen

Harry Shapiro, the Boston Symphony horn player who became a brilliant personnel manager, has died aged 100.

harry shapiro

Dianne Winsor, principal flute in Valladolid, writes: ‘He was an impeccable figure of authority during my student years in Boston & at Twood, supervising all BSO hiring, auditions, rehearsal arrangements.

He had a stern demeanor – his black patent leather hair glistening as he watched over the orch. But he was a kind & fair man & is, to this day, my ideal of all that a fine orch. personnel manager should be. Rest In Peace, dear Mr. Shapiro.’

Depressing press release:

(Chicago, IL – 6/27/2014) The Chicago Chamber Musicians (CCM) announced today that CCM will discontinue all artistic activities as of the close of its current fiscal year on August 31, 2014 and will not present a 2014/2015 season.  In making the announcement, CCM’s Board of Directors expressed its deep gratitude to the CCM ensemble artists for 28 years of glorious music making and to its loyal base of subscribers and funders for their long standing support of chamber music in Chicago.


CCM Board Chair Michael Woolever commented that, “While CCM filled an important niche in Chicago’s musical scene for many years, numerous factors have made it more and more difficult for CCM to avoid operational deficits in recent years and CCM leadership decided to take a prudent approach and suspend artistic operations while we continue to be solvent.”


CCM ensemble member and former Co-Artistic Director Charles Geyer added, “It has been a pleasure and privilege to be a part of CCM for 17 years and perform with this complement of excellent musicians. CCM led the way, when Chicago had virtually no chamber music series, to today where the city enjoys multiple groups and programs. I am grateful to our musicians, Board, staff and individual and institutional donors for making it possible to provide Chicago and beyond with 28 years of great chamber music performances.”

Comment by Lawrence Johnson of Chicago Classical Review:
Founded in 1986, CCM enjoyed one of the highest profiles of local music organizations in the late 1980s and 1990s, commissioning new works, presenting adventurous programs and garnering laudatory reviews for its virtuosic and polished performances.

Founding members included the late pianist and presenter Deborah Sobol, Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal clarinet Larry Combs, CSO hornist Gail Williams, and violinist Joseph Genualdi.

CCM began as the resident ensemble of WFMT and inaugurated its free First Monday Series concerts at the Chicago Cultural Center. The ensemble created its first subscription series in 1988, and last season presented 12 concerts at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in Evanston and Gottlieb Concert Hall in Chicago.

In a brief phone conversation Friday, Woolever said that CCM was carrying about a $100,000 shortfall on a $700,000 annual budget.

More here.

chicago chamber



Ahead of the Mikkeli Festival in Finland, Valery Gergiev has given an interview (in English) to Vesa Siren on the issues of the day. He ignores the Russian-sponsored corruption of the last Ukrainian government, calls the new regime ‘fascists’ and endorses the annexation of Crimea. (he has not visited the disputed areas; his information is Kremlin sourced).

On the anti-gay law, he says it has nothing to do with gays.

Click here to watch the video. Highlight quotes:


Russian President Putin presents a Hero of Labour award to Mariinsky theatre director Gergiev during an awards ceremony in St. Petersburg

Valery Gergiev on…

Ukraine fighting: It’s a problem of Ukraine. Not of Russia. Ukrainian people kill each other.

In Ukraine (there are) too many Nazi elements. The other part of Ukraine don’t want to stay with the Fascists. Russia now takes tens of thousands of refugees from eastern part of Ukraine.

Soprano Karita Mattila’s refusal to work with him: Putin maybe doesn’t know who is Karita Mattila. Karita Mattila doesn’t understand anything in politics. Especially in Ukraine. … How will she look in the eyes of mothers whose children were killed?

Crimea annexation: I made one statement: the people of Crimea should be saved immediately. I was asked if my position on Crimea was to ignore, or to save people. I said of course we have to save them immeditately, (or) there will be thousands killed. It is absolutely true that Russia made it possible for Crimea people, who are big majority Russians, simply to save their lives.

The anti-gay law: It’s not anti-gay. It’s about propaganda in schools. If people want to attack Putin and think ‘let’s attack famous musicians’, what is this? I didn’t know about this law. I learned about this law in the West. Nobody in Russia knows about this law.


h/t: Vesa Siren

Hours after he announced that he was quitting Valencia because government cuts had provincialised it, Zubin Mehta let it be known that his parting gift would be a Turandot recording with the pop tenor, Andrea Bocelli.






h/t: Dianne Winsor 

Most music cities make do with a Conservatoire, or conservatory, or just a plain old music school. Sydney, being a classical kind of place, has a Conservatorium. It is seldom a happy place. Despite the medieval exterior.

Conservatium of Music

The American tuba player Karl Kramer, who rules the school with a tongue of iron, has been involved with the dismissal of a languages teacher. Unfairly, it is said.

Professor Kramer thinks otherwise. Choice line from his emails: ‘Duct tape can’t fix stupid, but can muzzle it.’

Give that man a stand-up slot.

First, the Establishment leaked to the Daily Mail. Now it has followed up with a tip to the Sunday Times that Judith Weir is to be the next Master of the Queen’s Musick, the first woman to hold that post.

We’re delighted, and congratulate her with maximal warmth. We wish, however, that the process could have been more transparent, involving a broader range of opinion, especially about women composers.

judith weir

Chicago psychotherapist (and music fanatic) Dr Gerald Stein has some thoughts on the phenomenon. And a warning:

The next time you find yourself at a garage sale, an estate sale, or an antique shop, stop for a moment. Where did these things come from? The same thought might occur to you as you visit the vanishing world of used book and CD stores, or their virtual replacements on Amazon and eBay. There are only two answers:

The next time you find yourself at a garage sale, an estate sale, or an antique shop, stop for a moment. Where did these things come from? The same thought might occur to you as you visit the vanishing world of used book and CD stores, or their virtual replacements on Amazon and eBay. There are only two answers: (1) People bought them and the same people have decided they want to sell them. Some might be collectors whose interests have changed, others simply in the business of making a living or clearing space. (2) The children or heirs of the collectors are doing their best to get rid of the burden of “stuff” left to them.


(I thought we did it to impress the other sex.)

Read Dr Stein’s illuminating essay here.

Marilyn Monroe records