satie russia tchaikovsky

This is the monument to Tchaikovsky in Moscow, where students of the wonderful pianist and teacher Alexey Lyubimov have gathered to mark his 70th birthday in an original way.

They are playing the Russian premiere of Erik Satie’s Véxations, a work designed to be played 840 times in succession.

Lyubimov himself played the opening rounds. The pianist in the picture is Sergey Kasprov. Others await their turn.

Only another night and day to go until the premiere is complete.

The irony is not lost on passing Muscovites.

Tim Mangan flags up the cover of new Port magazine.

He wrote the piece. He didn’t take the picture.


Is this what it takes to be a conductor in 2014?

UPDATE: We’ve received this clarification from Esa-Pekka’s publicist:

I just wanted to clarify … that the “soot” / dirt (/ whatever it’s meant to be) was added to those Esa-Pekka Salonen photos by the Port magazine editors after the photo shoot. The photos were quite nice and normal, taken at a dressing room at the Hollywood Bowl. Just me, Esa-Pekka, an LA Phil press person, a stylist, and the photographer: business as usual. I only realized what had been done when I saw the cover online. They did that to all the photos inside, too – just got my copy in the mail. We had no warning. I think they’re trying to be Artists? “Edgy”? Who knows. 

The violinist’s agency announced in late July that she’d be out for six weeks with muscle strain, causing her to miss the summer festivals.

Unfortunately, her recovery is slower than expected.

Hilary has cancelled Baltimore’s season opener and more. She does not expect to be back before October.

We wish her well.

hilary hahn

UPDATE: Statement from HIlary’s agency: ‘With great regret, Hilary Hahn has canceled her concerts for the coming month on the advice of her physician. These withdrawals are crucial to allow her to recover fully from a muscle strain. Ms. Hahn will resume her performances later in the fall.’

In San Diego she has been replaced by the concertmaster, in Dallas by the newly-minted American Augustin Hadelich.

Here’s the lineup, five Koreans and one US survivor:

Yoo Jin Jang (South Korea), 23, 

Dami Kim (South Korea), 25, 

Jinjoo Cho (South Korea), 26,



Ji Yoon Lee (South Korea), 22

Ji Young Lim (South Korea), 19

Tessa Lark (US) 25.

There is only one Eduard Laurel. (More’s the pity.)

eduard laurel

Here’s a sample of his semi-final coverage from Indianapolis:

If crack critic has tried his best to be kind, none of the accomplished contestants needed any generosity, but I wonder if some might indulge this observer in his own competition Fantasy, regarding a surprise 17th semi-finalist who played tonight at 10 pm.

It is a mystery who invited her, as she was not in the preliminaries, though it is known she comes from New Caledonia. Delicia Rosamunda opened her program with a Beethoven Sonata. How many violinists know Brucker’s Symphony #Zero? Let it be generously said she played the Zero Sonata. It is apparent that her teachers hate her. If her Zwilich was ugly grating and unlearned it was well followed by Korngold’s Much Ado About Nothing, Sweet, uh, Suite.

She ended with Sarasate’s Introduction and Tarantella, an amazing performance in that, as she rushed more and more madly, her pianist Drew P. Weiner played more and more slowly. When she reached her end, he simply stopped.

With an ungodly howl, spine tingling, she smashed her violin on the bald pate of her accompanist, tore off the upper bodice of her Chanel dress, and collapsed, sprawled. A proctologist in the audience rushed to her aid, and she was whisked away to the emergency room. We will keep readers informed on her condition. ICVI has some serious explaining to do. It is rumoured she is the love child of Juror X. Everyone was appalled. Of course the Teflon pianist had hardly a scratch.

Click here for updates.

The Seattle Symphony got a bit of a shock when, expecting to raise half a million on season opening night, they found themselves clutching a check for ten. That’s million. Dollars.

The donor was Rebecca Benaroya who, with her late husband Jack, funded the building of the concert hall and had to be heavily persuaded to let their name go on it. Jack died two years ago aged 90, but Rebecca, bless her, is still looking after the music.



The international soprano Elizabeth Connell, who died far too soon, left a legacy to help rising dramatic sopranos.

The first winner is Anna Patrys, 33, from Poland.

The prize is worth A$20,000.

anna paltrys, richard bonynge

Anna, pictured with jury chair Richard Bonynge

press release:


Held in conjunction with last night’s Bel Canto Award, the $20,000 inaugural “Elizabeth Connell Prize” was won by the 33-year old soprano from Poland, Anna Patrys. Open to the sopranos of the world the Elizabeth Connell Prize comes from a legacy left by the great South African dramatic soprano, Elizabeth Connell to help assist aspiring dramatic sopranos.

50 sopranos from 17 countries entered this year’s competition. 5 were invited to compete in Sydney at last night’s Finals Concert. The second prize went to British/Australian soprano Justine Viani (32) who’s family live on Sydney’s north coast. Justine was born in Australia but grew up in the UK and now lives in Cardiff Wales. The other finalist were Tracy Cox and Diane Kalinowski from the USA and Lucinda-Mirikata Deacon from Sydney.

Judges for both competitions were: Maestro Richard Bonynge AC CBE, soprano Marilyn Richardson, mezzo sopranos Bernadette Cullen and Fiona Janes and former Opera Australia Artistic Director, Moffatt Oxenbould AM.

More news from the transfer market.

Christian Thompson, who runs the Verbier Festival Academy in summer, is about to be announced as artistic advisor to the Orchestre National de Lyon,where the  music director is Leonard Slatkin.

Christian has a long history in talent management and Lyon is looking to up its game.

christian thompson




Also joining Lyon are Denis Bretin as general secretary and Matthieu Vivant as production director.


We hear that Yuja Wang, the sought-after Chinese pianist, is leaving her Opus3 agent, Earl Blackburn, to join London-based Fidelio Artists as its first instrumentalist.

Fidelio, run by Mark Newbanks, looks after three conductors: Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Lionel Bringuier.

Yuja works regularly with the first two.

yuja wang-salonen-bowl-la0018975203-20140717


We hear that Jordi Savall has bought a place in Utrecht.

The  Utrecht Early Music Festival recently sacked its founder-director.

Make of this what you will.


Musicians of the Cleveland Orchestra, on tour in Vienna, have sent a moving message to the wreckers of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra:

woodruff arts center

To: Stanley Romanstein and The Woodruff Arts Center Board
From: The Musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra

The Musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra give their full support to our colleagues of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and condemn the deplorable tactics of ASO CEO Stanley Romanstein and the board of the Woodruff Arts Center.

Born of the tragic airplane crash in 1962 at Orly Airport in Paris, France when 106 of Atlanta’s arts and community leaders perished, the Woodruff Arts Center (originally named Memorial Arts Center) supported and nourished a semi-professional orchestra until it became one of our nation’s most recorded and acclaimed musical groups. Mr. Romanstein and the Board of the Woodruff Arts Center dishonor those whose perished on that plane and all of the thousands of Atlantans that over the past fifty years have supported symphonic music performed at the highest level.

Mr. Romanstein and the Woodruff Arts Center Board, the musicians of the ASO made a significant sacrifice two years ago so that the music could continue, as well as giving you the time to put a funding plan in place. We view your tactics as an excuse to cover up your failure to uphold your part of the bargain, which has reflected negatively on the city of Atlanta. It is time to reward the musicians with a contract they deserve, and end this unethical and deplorable lockout.

Musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra

This is Yukie Ota last night at the Carl Nielsen international flute competition in Odense. She doesn’t miss a beat.

butterfly flute

h/t: Dianne Winsor