Stunned by his death in a road accident, colleagues and friends of the LSO’s former principal trumpet, Rod Franks, have been sharing their sorrows and memories.

Clive Gillinson, the orchestra’s former cellist and managing director (now president of Carnegie Hall), writes to

I knew Rod Franks very well in all my time at the LSO, and listening to his beautiful ,effortless and incredibly musical trumpet playing was one of the highlights of the life of everybody in the orchestra, as well as our audiences.  He was also a very special person who contributed in so many ways in addition to his playing: he had a passion for education and was a really great teacher and communicator and he was a tremendous force for good in the orchestra, sharing his great values in so many ways that mattered.  It’s impossible to imagine him being snatched away like this and tragic on a human as well as musical level.

Daniel Harding, the LSO’s principal guest conductor, writes:

 I can barely comprehend that he is gone. Great sadness and a great man.

LSO violinist Maxine Kwok-Adams, who took the picture below, wrote: You always had time for a smile and a joke. We will miss your consummate musicianship and your friendship.

The BBC played tribute to Rod on Radio 3’s In Tune – an unusual, well-deserved accolade for an orchestral player.

rod franks2





The conductor Ilan Volkov, music director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, will lead an ad hoc ensemble of musicians at an anti-war protest tomorrow in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.

The protest, organised by the artist Omer Krieger, will call for peace talks and an end to the occupation.

A number of cultural personalities have pledged their participation. The group will gather in the square at 8pm. Their slogan reads: ‘We stand together against the silence of the sane majority and call on other to join us with the appeal, “Enough with war. Long live peace”‘.

Ilan Volkov tells ‘We will do some improvised vocal and instrumental response to the situation. It is a small part of an evening with many other performances.’



photo: Chris Christodoulou/Lebrecht Music&Arts

Just in:

Prom 6 (Tuesday 22 July)

We are sorry to announce that Lars Woldt and Teodora Gheorghiu have had to withdraw from the Proms performance of Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, owing to illness. We are very grateful to Franz Hawlata and Louise Alder who will sing the roles of Baron Ochs and Sophie respectively.


Prom 26 (Tuesday 5 August)

We are sorry to announce that, as the result of an inflamed hip Semyon Bychkov has been advised to take a period of rest and will be unable to conduct the European Union Youth Orchestra at the Proms this summer. We are very grateful to Vasily Petrenko who will conduct the performance.


We are pleased that Semyon Bychkov will return to conduct Richard Strauss’s Elektra at the Proms on 31 August.





Images are starting to come in of Rod Franks, the London Symphony Orchestra trumpet player and former principal, who died last night so tragically in a motorway crash in Nottinghamshire. He is pictured with Valery Gergiev, the LSO’s outgoing chief conductor, typically for them both in an airport.

Tributes will follow.



rod franks1


photo (c) Maxine Kwok-Adams. all rights reserved.


Semyon Bychkov has damaged his hip. Vasily Petrenko takes over.




With great regret, Semyon Bychkov is unable to conduct the EUYO this summer. As the result of an inflamed hip he has been advised a 6-week period of complete rest by his doctors, and unfortunately is obliged to withdraw from his four performances with the orchestra, at the Grafenegg Festival, the BBC Proms, and in Bolzano and Kassel, and from his involvement in the first ever European Music Campus, developed in conjunction with the EUYO, and which launches this July in Grafenegg, the Orchestra’s Summer Home and Principal Venue Partner.

We are delighted to announce that Vasily Petrenko, Principal Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and current conductor for the second half of the EUYO 2014 Summer Tour will now take over these four additional performances. Maestro Petrenko said, ‘I am really happy to be able to help the EUYO out of a challenging situation and I am looking forward to the opportunity to work in even more depth and detail with one of the finest youth orchestras in the world. I believe there is a lot we can achieve together. This summer will be an exciting and rewarding journey, not only for me, but for these talented young musicians – and our audiences.’

Bychkov is next due to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic in September.

Crain’s New York Business has been doing the crunching – and Peter Gelb’s bones can be heard between its teeth. Read here.

Wagners Das Rheingold Metropolitan Opera 2010


A thorough and extensive piece of journalism by Scott Timberg on the unpromising Salon site details the devastations that has been wrought by streaming services on the incomes of living composers.

‘I used to sell CDs of my music,’ says Richard Danielpour. ‘And now we get nothing.’

All of my colleagues — composers and arrangers — are seeing huge cuts in their earnings,’ says Paul Chihara.

Yuhun Wang, a small label owner says: ‘What we found when we got out of Spotify — after these dire warnings — was that our sales went up; they absolutely jumped.’

Read more woes of the streaming victims right here.




h/t: Sergio Alejandro Mims

Watch Piotr Beczala here.

piotr beczala2

Artis Wodehouse has been filming the restoration of an 1850s Chickering. American ingenuity added an iron frame to a German design in the middle of the last century, making the concert piano louder, tougher and more even-toned.

Take a look at a key moment in piano history.


Statement just in from the London Symphony Orchestra:


It is with much sadness that the London Symphony Orchestra announces that LSO Trumpeter Rod Franks died last night after a car accident. Rod had been enjoying a day at the Open Golf Championship and was being driven back home when their car was involved in a serious accident on the motorway in Nottinghamshire. The driver, a friend of the family, survived.


Rod had excelled in the role of Principal Trumpet of the LSO for 25 years and had recently requested to retire from that seat and occupy the No.3 Trumpet chair. Rod had been beset by health issues for over ten years but would never allow them to compromise his professionalism, often bravely appearing the morning after an episode the night before.


This is a very sad day for the LSO and Rod will be missed hugely for his ever-welcoming friendliness and brilliant playing.

rod franks




Our sympathies to Rod’s Families and colleagues. He will indeed be deeply missed.

Here is his celebrated, typically modest masterclass on Mahler’s 6th symphony.

Tributes here.


One of our readers alerts us to some empty Wagner nights this week:

(We) found out by accident that the Theater Freiburg is performing Parsifal and Tannhauser (fully staged, company of 200) at the Theatre Royal, Norwich at the end of this week.  Toying with the idea of a weekend break checked the theatre site to see whether they might have a ticket or two remaining – shocked to see around 75% of seats remain unsold for all performances.  Such a shame – such an enterprise seems worthy of wider support.  Perhaps a brief mention on SD might help send readers scurrying to Norfolk…

theatre-royal norwich

That’s Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s latest theory, so he has re-recorded the works as a single entity of 12 movements.

Inevitably, with Harnoncourt, the musical logic reinforces his original idea.

Read more here. The recording is my Album of the Week on


harnoncourt salzburg