On the basis of a report by a close family member, we announced yesterday the death of the Marshall Fine, from injuries sustained in a road accident.

The notification was some hours premature. Marshall died in hospital this morning at 10.3o local.

We regret the inaccuracy along with any distress that may have been caused. As soon as we were notified of the error, we made inquiries and were given to understand that death was indeed imminent.

As a matter of principle and common decency, Slipped Disc goes to great lengths to validate death reports. In this instance, we were misled by an over-hasty announcement. We understand no harm was done, but we apologise in any event for any misunderstanding and convey or sympathies to Marshall’s father, Burton Fine, and his sister, Elaine Fine.

marshall fine

The Latvian conductor is leaving the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, where he made his name. He is leaving with some reluctance, having apparently asked the Boston Symphony if he could retain a formal attachment to his previous band. Boston said no.

So Andris is launchuing his final season with a six-day Beethoven cycle, the biggest high music can buy.

Press release below:


nelsons nobel

2014-15 is Andris Nelsons’ seventh and final season as music director of the CBSO. The symphonies of Beethoven are one of the greatest journeys that any conductor and orchestra can take together. Nelsons opens the 2014-15 season with his critically acclaimed Beethoven Symphony Cycle, last performed in Birmingham by the CBSO during the 2012-13 season. Back by popular demand, all nine Beethoven Symphonies will be performed over six days.  These concerts come immediately after the same team will have performed this cycle in the composer’s home town of Bonn as part of Beethovenfest.


On 16 September the CBSO begin the Beethoven symphony cycle with a performance of the first three symphonies. Symphony No. 1, dedicated to an early patron of the composer, had influences of the composer’s predecessors Haydn and Mozart but began to show characteristics that marked it uniquely as Beethoven’s work. The Second Symphony was written in four movements at a time when Beethoven’s deafness was becoming more pronounced. The movements varied in musical style with the second one, influenced by folk music and the pastoral, presaging Symphony No. 6. The concert closes with Symphony No. 3 ‘Eroica’ which expressed both the classical style of eighteenth-century compositions and also defining features of the romantic style used in nineteenth-century orchestral composition.


The second concert on the afternoon of 18 September opens with Symphony No. 4 which is considered to be one of Beethoven’s lighter symphonies once again recalling the work of Haydn. The concert concludes with Symphony No. 5, which often overshadows its predecessor as one of Beethoven’s most played symphonies.


On 20 September the CBSO performs Symphony No. 6 ‘Pastoral’, written in five movements and inspired by Beethoven’s love of nature. This is followed by a performance of Symphony No. 7 which was described by Wagner as ‘the apotheosis of dance’.


For the final concert on 21 September the CBSO perform Beethoven’s final two symphonies. Symphony No. 8 is the shortest of all nine and was referred to by Beethoven as ‘my little Symphony in F’. The CBSO is joined by soprano Annette Dasch, mezzo-soprano Lioba Braun, tenor Ben Johnson, bass Vuyani Mlindeand the CBSO Chorus for a performance of Symphony No. 9, the first example of a major composer using voices in a symphony, thus earning its name ‘Choral’ 


Andris Nelsons has been Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra since 2008, enjoying critically acclaimed seasons. With the CBSO, he undertakes major tours worldwide, including regular appearances at such summer festivals as Lucerne Festival, BBC Proms and Berliner Festspiele. Together they have toured the major European concert halls, including the Musikverein, Vienna, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, Gasteig, Munich and the Auditorio Nacional de Música, Madrid.


‘Your Orchestra Needs You’ audience appeal

The CBSO currently performs to over 200,000 people each year, offers musical educations to thousands of children in the West Midlands, nurtures the talents of hundreds of local musicians through its youth and adult choirs and flies the flag for Birmingham both nationally and internationally. It has ambitious plans to build on this tradition of excellence but with a 24% cut in its public funding needs financial support to achieve them.


The CBSO launches its ‘Your Orchestra Needs You’ appeal on 16 Septemberwith a goal of raising £50,000 towards three priority areas of its work:

  • keynote concerts, which in 2014–15 include Wagner’s Parsifal, Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 and the UK premiere of James MacMillan’s St Luke Passion;
  • the CBSO Youth Orchestra, Youth Chorus and Children’s Chorus, which provide musical opportunities for 300 of the region’s most talented young musicians;
  • War Requiem, a four-year major community project in Perry Barr bringing together young people with residents in local care homes to commemorate World War 1 centenary through music.


Donations are invited by cheque, credit card, BACS transfer or online giving through the CBSO website, and can be sent by post or left in collection boxes in Symphony Hall at CBSO concerts. www.cbso.co.uk


Mary Whitaker, a violinist in the Westchester Philharmonic and the Chautaqua Symphony, has died in tragic, horrific circumstances.

Details are still sketchy, but it appears she was shot in Chautaqua during the course of a robbery. UPDATE here.

She was a close friend of Marin Alsop and played at her parents’ memorial tributes. Marin has tweeted:

“Today is filled with unbearable sadness at the news of the tragic loss of our dear, kind, gentle, funny, loyal friend, Mary Whitaker.  I simply do not understand this world; nothing will ever be the same. Generous and loving always. “

mary whitaker

This is Mary with Marin’s son, Auden, published uniquely with Marin’s permission. (c) Marin Alsop.

Here is Mary’s career path:

Mary Whitaker moved to New York after graduating from Indiana University with a performance degree in violin. Over the past three decades Ms. Whitaker has been associated with many of the major freelance orchestras in New York, toured regularly with the New York City Opera Touring Company, and also toured with Barbra Streisand during the 2006-07 North American and International Tour. She has performed with such chamber music groups as STX Ensemble, which records and performs the works of Iannis Xenakis; String Fever, a swing/jazz ensemble; and SIRUS String Quartet, which focuses on contemporary and improvisational compositions. Ms. Whitaker has been a member of the Westchester Philharmonic for 25 years, plays regularly on Broadway, and spends the summer months performing with the Chautauqua Symphony in western New York State.

Mary, rest her soul, was 61.

The practical mystic B K S Iyengar who did more than anyone to popularise yoga beyond Indian culture has died, aged 95.

His fame spread after a meeting with Yehudi Menuhin in 1952. Yehudi learned to stand on his head. So did the Israeli prime minister, David Ben Gurion. Soon, a large part of the world was seeking transcendence.

Iyengar, a modest man, refused to cultivate a personal brand.




We have shared a number of pictures from the composer’s archive, but few more fascinating than this. It shows the composer at a premiere of his violin sonata Op. 134.

The performance took place at a Union of Soviet Composers private hearing; David Oistrakh (violin) and Mieczysław Weinberg (piano) on January 8, 1969. 

Itstands as further testimony of the intense and unruffled friendship that existed over 30 years between DSCH and the less-celebrated Weinberg, whose importance is only now being widely recognised.

shostakovich weinberg


© 2009 Irina Antonovna Shostakovich

Annual live performance statistics are in and the news is bleak for opera down under.

Attendances are down 20%, revenue 9.5%. Higher ticket prices reduced the budget gap, but drove audiences away. Fewer performances and poorer marketing failed to attract a new public.

Stage musicals, which Opera Australia is using as a revenue driver, are also down.

Everywhere in the world (except the Metropolitan Opera), attendances for opera are on the increase. Australia is our of step.

What should the Aussies do? Change managements, start over.

Stats and analysis here.

sydney opera