A statement by Valery Gergiev on the downing of MH17 over the Ukraine is being received with some scepticism in the Netherlands. The statement makes all the right human noises. But it fails to register the conductor’s uncritical support for Vladimir Putin and his adventures in the Ukraine. Here’s the statement in full:


gergiev worry


Ter informatie sturen wij u een persoonlijke verklaring van Valery Gergiev
Saint-Petersburg, 29 July 2014
At this time, my heart, my condolences and my thoughts are with all those who have suffered loss amongst their families and friends. Through more than 25 years of conducting in Rotterdam, I feel very close to the Dutch people and share with them the immense pain of this tragedy.
I categorically condemn this outrageous act of terrorism – and call upon all those, both in the political arena and elsewhere, to do all in their power to put in place measures and safeguards that such a tragedy will never occur again.
I grew up in the aftermath of tragedy and war – and it taught me to believe passionately in peace. For the last 17 years I have been the conductor of the World Orchestra for Peace, inheriting the position from its founder, the late Sir Georg Solti, himself a committed advocate for peace. Together with that orchestra we have given 20 concerts in 14 countries of the world to demonstrate, through music, for peace.
I am convinced that we musicians can only – through our music – try to make statement after statement and show the world that it is possible to bridge barriers of language and culture in the interests of a more peaceful future for our children.
The Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival in September is about the First World War, commemorating through music the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of hostilities in 1914. We could never have imagined that a tragic event of this magnitude would occur, making the content so actual and real. The victims and their families and friends will be in our thoughts and minds as we perform and I dedicate the festival’s content and its music as a tribute to them, together with a cry from the heart of all of us performing against atrocities of war and terrorism.
Valery Gergiev


Both sides have now agreed to call in a mediator. It looks as if Allison Beck of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service will get to work before the day is out. Whether she can avert a lockout tomorrow morning is anyone’s guess. Peter Gelb must be praying she’ll get him off the hook.

Beck was for 20 years General Counsel of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO (IAM).


Martha Gilmer, head of artistic planing and a Chicago Symphony vet of 38 years, is moving to San Diego as CEO.

Her departure follows that of CSO president Deborah Rutter, who has gone to Washington.

Neither will be easy to replace. Andrew Patner has the story here.

martha gilmer

Something for the summer? It’s downtown Los Angeles and getting hotter.

naked dance

The Canadian tenor, Bayreuth’s current Siegfried, sounds off in a German interview here.





A poet by first inclination, Sergei Olegovich Prokofiev discovered Rudolf Steiner’s school of anthroposophy as a young man in Moscow and devoted his life to studying Steinerian thought. A prolific author, after the fall of communism he founded the Anthroposophical Society in Russia.

He died at 60, after three years of severe illness and was buried at Dornach, in Switzerland.

Appreciation here.

prokofiev grandson, anthroposophy

Prom 20 (Friday 1 August)
We are sorry to announce that Anthony Marwood has had to withdraw from this performance due to illness and therefore the London Premiere of Sally Beamish’s Violin Concerto will no longer be performed. We are very grateful to James Crabb who will perform as the accordion soloist in Sally Beamish’s The Singing, also a London Premiere.
anthony marwood

press release, just in:

Met Musicians: Met Opera GM Peter Gelb Should Back Off Devastating Lockout Threats as Part of Federal Mediation Offer

Gelb should extend the current contract and continue talks without depriving musicians and families of income and health care and imperiling the upcoming Met Opera season

New York, NY–Thursday, July 31, 2014During Met Opera negotiations on Wednesday, July 30, Met Opera management offered the option of bringing in a federal mediator to work toward an agreement. This, after months of stalling tactics on their part had pushed negotiations to just days before the current contract deadline. Last week, before negotiations even began, Gelb sent a letter to employees telling them to prepare to be locked out and receive no pay or benefits after their contract expires on August 1.

Said Associated Musicians of Greater New York Local 802 president Tino Gagliardi, “Management proposed federal mediation to Local 802. We are considering it, and we believe it would have a much greater chance of success if Peter Gelb would back off his lockout threats and extend the current contract.”

The musicians had hoped to pursue good-faith negotiations with opera management. Unfortunately, Gelb has pursued a calculated strategy to lock out his artists and craftspeople and put the upcoming Met Opera season in jeopardy. For months Gelb has purposely refused to provide essential financial information that would have allowed substantive, good faith negotiations to proceed, instead making erroneous claims in the press in the run-up to a long-planned lockout.

While labor costs have remained flat during Gelb’s tenure, the MET Opera budget has increased by nearly 50% ($105 Million), in large part due to overspending on unpopular new productions, poor scheduling, ineffective marketing and management waste. The MET Orchestra, which has won three consecutive Grammys and is considered the best opera orchestra in the world, is absolutely in favor of new and artistically daring productions. They believe that with well-chosen productions and expert management, the Met can live within its budget and present innovative grand opera while also offering competitive compensation to attract and retain the best musicians in the world.

The musicians have produced an extensive, detailed report on the Met Opera under the management and artistic direction of Peter Gelb. The report also notes the severe impacts of the cuts Gelb seeks, and concludes with the musicians’ suggestions for $37.8 Million in cost-savings for the Met Opera, including substantial savings to its labor budget. Gelb has dismissed all of the musicians’ proposals, including givebacks and concessions, seemingly in favor of a lockout.


Vadim Gluzman and Philippe Quint are college friends and professional rivals.

Tonight, they slug it out at a ‘violin duel’ concert in the Colorado mountains.

Brave of them, and really challenging.

They open with Louis Spohr’s Duo Concerto for two violins No. 2 in D major, Op. 67. Gluzman then plays Mozart’s F-major sonata, followed by Quint in Jean-Marie LecLair’s D-major sonata. After the interval, it’s Moszkowski, Corigliano and Sarasate.

They should do this somewhere more central. That’s real competition.

Vadim Gluzman vs quint

Musicians in Seville, Spain, are making their views known about the city’s next music director.

Pedro Halffter (pictured), who has been artistic director for the past ten years, is putting in for a renewal. The musicians called a ballot and voted against him, 70-4. The government, too, think he’s too expensive.

Two other Spaniards, Juanjo Mena and Guillermo Garcia Calvo, have refused to pitch for the vacancy. The remaining candidates are Marc Soustrot (France), Giacomo Sagripanti (Italy) György G. Rath (Hungary) Karel Mark Chichon (UK) and John Axelrod (US). May the best baton win.

halffter pedro

We regret to report the death of Arpad Joo, a Hungarian conductor who migrated to the USA in 1968 and performed internationally throughout his life. He died in Singapore on July 4; the cause of death is not yet known.

After stuying at Juilliard, Arpad won the Liszt piano competition in Boston and went on to study conducting with Igor Markevitch and Carlo-Maria Giulini.

He was music director in Knoxville, Tennessee, at age 24, and not long after at the Calgary Philharmonic. Later, he was head of the radio orchestra in Madrid and of the Brabant orchestra in Holland.

He recorded the complete orchestral works of Bartok in Budapest and a dozen late-romantic recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia.
arpad joo

If you’re a small label owner, there’s no place to hide online. Spotify and other streaming services will strip you bare in return for for a few cents. Youtube gives click numbers. And Amazon, worst of all, relegates you to the far corners of civilisation.

Viola soloist and impresario Lev ‘Ljova’ Zhurbin has had enough. He tells us why.





I Am The Warehouse
by Ljova
Last week, after eight years, I decided to stop selling my CD releases via Amazon.
In part, because Amazon keeps a small stock of CDs in their warehouses, meaning I had to ship frequently. I’d often make $3-4 per sale after shipping costs, which compared unfavorably with approximately $6.50 I’d make for an iTunes sale, for which I’d wouldn’t move a muscle. But the other major factor of leaving Amazon’s warehouses is that I began to see the exciting advantage of selling directly to fans, via Bandcamp.com

I had never shopped around for a record label — it was hard for me to see how a CD of original music for multitrack violas would be of any interest to a label big or small  — but with a little nudge from my future wife, I released my debut record, “Vjola: World on Four Strings“, in 2006. Surprisingly, it received reviews in by Allan Kozinn The New York Times, Anastasia Tsioulcas in Billboard and Steve Smith in Time Out, and was featured in an “All Things Considered” segment by David Schulman. 

No publicist, no label, no physical distribution — this was an album I recorded in my home studio, using just a viola. Most of the music was improvised from scratch, some had a one-line sketch. It was exciting to see my little homegrown album get some notoriety and airplay, and I am grateful to say that most of its fifteen tracks have been licensed for film and dance projects, and several of them have been frequently championed by young chamber ensembles, including Brooklyn RiderA Far CryFace the Music and Art of Élan.  Just last week, The Knights performed one of the album tracks, “Ori’s Fearful Symmetry“, at their Tanglewood debut, and at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park. 

I’ve released four other albums on my label since — an album of film music (“Lost in Kino“), two albums with my ensemble Ljova and the Kontraband (“Mnemosyne” and “No Refund on Flowers“), and my second solo album, “Melting River“, featuring music for a contemporary dance project by the Canadian choreographer Aszure Barton.   
In the past, I’d sell CDs via Amazon and CDBaby, and downloads via iTunes and other digital retailers — but now, I’m increasingly gravitating towards selling via Bandcamp.
When you sell music through Bandcamp, you as an artist are given a name and email address for every sale. I’ve made a habit to contact fans to thank them for their support, and to ask how they found out about my work. Most of the fans reply, eagerly striking up conversations.  It is singularly thanks to a sale on Bandcamp that we played a house concert in Ithaca, through which we met Jordan Morton  the wonderful young bassist in Ljova and the Kontraband and the Pinky Swear Brigade. Thanks to Bandcamp, I know that we have a fan in Izhevsk, Russia, who has bought all of my records, CD and vinyl.
When you sell through iTunes or Amazon, you have no idea who your listeners are, or how to contact them — Amazon & iTunes know this, but they won’t tell you.
In 2012, I decided to release “Melting River” as a Bandcamp-exclusive, circumventing customary distribution channels in favor of just one.  I priced the album download at $2, letting fans pay more if they wanted.   Since its release, sales of “Melting River” have eclipsed sales of my other albums both in quantity and financially. Moreover, my sales on Bandcamp.com have eclipsed our sales on iTunes, CDBaby and Amazon combined.  
Of course, these sales are relatively modest — but with each Bandcamp sale there is a person and a story, a growing community of fans, many of whom own more than one of our records, many of them autographed.  Many of our Bandcamp fans supported our Kickstarter campaign last year.
Speaking of records, we now sell limited edition vinyl of “Melting River” and “No Refund on Flowers” on Bandcamp — and if you order, I will ship them to you directly.  
A typical CD on Amazon costs a much, and weighs almost as little, as an iPhone screen protector. They probably take up similar space in Amazon’s warehouse, and so to Amazon the physical realities of stocking the product are the same. But to an artist, behind each sale is a potential lifetime fan — and the more opportunities you have to interact with them on a human level, the better.

(c) Ljova Zhurbin/www.slippedisc.com