Both of the annual open air concerts, yesterday and tonight, have now been called off. Plans to remember the late Lorin Maazel have shifted to next weekend’s residency at Vail, an unsatisfactory solution.


‘Even two or three cases in a country, those cases can blow up unless everyone is immunised,’ pleads the great violinist. Watch here.

The tenor Warren Mok has withdrawn from the US premiere of Huang Ruo’s opera Dr. Sun Yat-sen, citing other commitments. The show is due to open in a fortnight.

The soprano Laura Tatulescu has dropped out of Don Pasquale ‘due to severe allergies’.

To lose one star is a misfortune. To lose two…


laura tatulescu





More here.

Sad news from the other side of the world:

Passing of Conductor Myer Fredman.

myer fredman


The ABC has announced the death of conductor Myer Fredman, who passed away on Friday 4th July, 2014 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia aged 82.

Internationally acclaimed in the symphonic and operatic repertoire, Myer Fredman studied at the Dartington College of the Arts before being awarded the Eileen Joyce Scholarship to study in London with Vilem Tausky and Peter Gellhorn and he later for some special lessons with Sir Adrian Boult. In the early years of his career he assisted the emminent conductors Dr. Otto Klemperer, Maestro Vittorio Gui, Sir Charles Mackerras and Sir John Pritchard.

From 1959 to 1974 he worked at the Glyndebourne Festival and from 1961 conducted during every season and was instrumental in creating Glyndebourne Touring Opera (now Glyndebourne on Tour) and appointed its initial Music Director. That same period saw him conducting in many European countries, the United States, Canada and Australia and was awarded a medal ‘Per Servizio della Musica e Cultura Italiana’.

His recordings at that time included works by Robert Still, Arthur Benjamin and Frederick Delius with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and world première recordings of the first two Symphonies by Arnold Bax and two by Havergal Brian with the London Philharmonic orchestra all now re-issued on CD.

Having made his debut with the Australian Opera at the recently opened Sydney Opera House, he was invited to establish a professional opera company in Adelaide which rapidly developed into the State Opera of South Australia. With that company he not only conducted the standard operatic repertoire but also the Australian premières of Tippett’s Midsummer Marriage (in the presence of the composer), and Britten’s Death in Venice at successive Adelaide Festivals.

In 1980 he was appointed Head of the Opera School at the Sydney Conservatorium and conducted frequently for the Australian Opera (now Opera Australia) and later appointed an Artistic Associate. He also conducted the five Australian symphony orchestras in concerts and recordings that included Puccini’s Le Villi (producer John Culshaw), The Apocalypse by Goossens, Job and the Partita for Double String Orchestra by Vaughan Williams. Australian works included The Prima Donna by Arthur Benjamin and world première recordings of Peter Sculthorpe’s Piano Concerto and his television opera, Quiros.
In New Zealand he conducted the NZSO in works by Britten and Delius for Naxos.

He moved to Hobart some years ago and in semi-retirement continued to conduct and teach as Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania’s Conservatorium of Music as well as being involved in creating The Tasmanian Discovery Orchestra.  In 2013 he conducted Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas and Britten’s Phaedra.

He is survived by his wife Jeanne and sons Nicholas and Jonathon.

Channel 4 has made a voyeuristic documentary. Press release below.




The highly respectable world of classical musicians is rarely linked to addictive behaviour. In this uplifting one-off documentary, the composer and musician James McConnel examines music’s extraordinary transformative power, as he unites ten classical musicians whose lives have all been blighted by addiction, in an orchestra for a spectacular one-off performance with the London Symphony Orchestra.

In 2011, James’s son Freddy, an aspiring and talented musician, died of a heroin overdose. He was 18 years old.

Blessed from an early age with an inquisitive and brilliant mind, Freddy was assessed as a ‘gifted’ child at 6 with an IQ of 144. He won school scholarships, competed on Junior Mastermind and became a member of Mensa but it was in music that he found his true passion. Even as he slipped further into the drug dependency which would claim his life, music was his constant. His father, himself a recovering alcoholic, encouraged Freddy to keep up with his music as he recognised its restorative powers. Sadly for Freddy, it was not enough.

This original documentary is guided by James’ determination to save others like Freddy from a similar fate.

As he follows the extraordinary personal journey of each member of the orchestra through to the nerve-wracking climax of the final performance, James reveals their daily battles as they struggle against the grip of their addiction. From Rachael whose career as an award-winning cellist was nearly destroyed by her drink and drug problem to Andy whose heroin addiction has had a devastating effect on his relationship with his daughter Lea, each musician is pinning their hopes on recovering their love of music and, more significantly, retrieving a trust and pride in themselves.

Paul Rissmann and members of the London Symphony Orchestra (Belinda McFarlane and Matthew Gibson) worked intensively with the group, alongside James to rehearse and compose a new piece to be premiered as part of the performance.

James McConnel: “Addicts’ Symphony is one of those rare programmes which is not only entertaining and informative, but which has done some real, long-term good. For all the participants it was a fascinating experience, but for some it has been truly life-changing. For me, watching a group of people brave enough to address their addictions and fear – through music – was both humbling and inspirational”.

The film will air on Channel 4 in August.


The Delaware Symphony (music director: David Amado) has been dancing on the edge of bankruptcy for the past five years.

Four months ago, its chairwoman Tatiana Copeland quit. Bruce Kallos stepped into the emergency. Kallos died this weekend, aged 79.

delaware symphony


Sandra Clark, who transitioned from a male player to female, was principal horn of the Toledo Symphony. She wrote a life-change book, titled Running to Normal. She died of brain cancer.




Throughout the Gaza flare-up, Israeli hospitals have continued to treat children from both sides of the conflict – including, it is reported, the grandson of the Gaza Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh.

Last week, a bunch of students at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance released a video of what happened when they went to help out at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Watch now. Hate less.

shaarei zedek

In an appreciation for, I mention in passing a profound dichotomy that I always sensed at the heart of the late conductor:

He was American in his reverence for business and initiative, European in his fluent command of six languages, his immersion in musical tradition and his respect for ranks and titles.

Lorin belonged everywhere and nowhere. He was never embraced as an American marvel,  as Bernstein and Previn were, nor was he ever allowed to feel wholly at home in Berlin, Vienna or Munich, his three European bases. In Vienna, he faced an onslaught of xenophobia that was part anti-American, part anti-semitic. Lorin never acknowledged these currents (to me), but his isolation was, in 1984 Vienna, absolute.

Munich may have been a little warmer, Berlin a little worse.

After being voted down by the players as Karajan’s successor, he swore he would never conduct the Philharmonic again. He relented, once. It went badly and he vanished again.

The orchestra is now trying to put a positive spin on their fractious relationship. The tone of its statement illustrates the distance that prevailed between Lorin Maazel and many of his musicians, between his reality and theirs. Statement follows:

maazel tough


The Berliner Philharmoniker mourn the loss of Lorin Maazel. In the past 55 years he conducted the orchestra regularly(!), especially in the early years of his career. The many high points of this collaboration include outstanding performances of the works of Beethoven and the Russian repertoire, among others. The press wrote of the conductor’s debut in January 1959, when he was just 28 years old: “Maazel charges up the Berlin Philharmonic in a highly explosive way, the musicians play like the devil – and it sounds magnificent.” After a break (!) of almost 14 years, it was intended that Maazel conduct the Berliner Philharmoniker once again this June, and other joint performances were being planned. General Manager Martin Hoffmann: “We are very sad that this reunion is no longer possible. We will remember Lorin Maazel as a great conductor, and we have grateful, lively memories of him as a master of energetic music making with a timbral sensuality.”



Away from these cultural misapprehensions, he found a warm, uncomplicated reception in China and Japan. The Tokyo Symphony writes:

Maestro Maazel first conducted the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra in November 7, 1963. Forty-eight years later, he led the Tokyo Symphony in performances of Beethoven’s 1st symphony and Mahler’s 1stSymphony in a special concert commemorating the TSO’s 65th anniversary. This concert took place after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March, 2011, which severely damaged our home concert hall, so his appearance gave us great encouragement. TSO musicians still describe that concert performed under his baton as an unforgettable experience.

We remember Maestro Maazel expressing his love of Japanese culture including Kabuki and Noh and Japanese cuisine. He enjoyed drinking Japanese green tea during rehearsals and backstage.

It’s Guy Eshed, 35, principal flute of the faltering Maggio Musicale in Florence, where he has worked closely with Zubin Mehta. Before that, he was in Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Diwan. He will be joint co-principal with Yossi Arnheim.

guy eshed 1

h/t: Andrew Patner





classical app

h/t: Christopher Russell

We’ve been informed of the death of Hugh Davidson, a Canadian composer who hung out in the 1960s with Leonard Cohen and was ever after a supportive friend to young talent. Hugh, who was 80, died after heart surgery.

He studied mosly in England and wrote a ballet for the Bristol Old Vic.

Back home, Hugh (r.) was music administrator of the NAC in Ottawa and head of music at the Canada Council. In 1978, he was made cultural councillor to the Canadian High Commission in London. Latterly, he was much involved with the Victoria Symphony. He leaves friends everywhere.

hugh davidson