The following big names have withdrawn from the first part of the Metropolitan Opera season.

Johan Reuther is out of Meistersinger – doesn’t want to undertake Hans Sachs.

Latonia Moore is out of Aida – pregnant.

Christine Schäfer is out of Hansel and Gretel – taking a season-long sabbatical.

Who’s next?


alice coote christine schafer

Teddy Abrams is a music director in a rush. He has taken over at Louisville, a once-famous orchestra that almost shut for want of Kentucky funds and public interest.

So he’s drumming up business any way he can – and if that means looping his pianos to an external sound system so the town can hear him practising, so be it. Read all about it here.

teddy abrams


The trial of a lecturer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has been halted after the sheriff ruled it risked damaging his health.

Graeme McNaught, a concert pianist, is accused of behaving in a threatening and abusive manner towards his former partner, the popular author Janice Galloway. Ms Galloway told the court she feared becoming a victim of revenge porn.

A doctor and psychiatrist have now ruled that McNaught is unfit to continue facing trial.

The sheriff dismissed the jury and will now decide alone whether he committed the alleged offence.

Details here.

graeme mcnaught

The Dutch media have been told that March 20 will be his last concert as principal conductor.

Mariss, 71, announced in the spring that he was stepping down from the Concertgebouw because his health could not withstand the strain of heading two orchestras (the other is Bavarian Radio in Munich).

But the early departure date puts pressure on the orch management to name a successor – hence the leaks to Slipped Disc in recent days of likely candidates.

jansons concertgebouw


The French pianist has a stress injury to one of her fingers. Inon Barnatan and Angela Hewitt are stepping in for the first of the North American dates she has cancelled. We wish Hélène a swift recovery.


Michael Kurth, a bass player in the locked-out orchestra, describes his day from dreams to dusk. It’s doughnuts and coffee on the picket line, checking out alternative concert venues, worrying about household finance. Read his diary here.


atlanta musicians

She’s the oldest of the six finalists, but her serenity as a butterfly settled on her face has become a global sensation. The video of Yukie Ota playing with unflappable beauty as the giant insect landed on her nose has been seen by two-thirds of a million Youtube viewers.

They – and we – and the butterfly – will be rooting for her in the weekend final of the Nielsen competition.


Sadly, we don’t have video, but reports say some were moved to tears by Augutin Hadelich’s performance yesterday at Manhattan Federal Court. Actually, it was the judge who said it“Augustin’s rendition was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes,” said U.S. Circuit Court Judge Robert Katzmann, who presided over the ceremony.

What did he play?

America the Beautiful, of course.

augustin hadelich



galway girls

He’ll be 75 in December and he’s just collected a Gramophone gong.


h/t: Gary Woolf

Rob Knopper of the Met orchestra offers a guide through the season from his perspective. Hilarious and surprisingly enlightening.

Read Rob here.

rob knopper

john adams – the death of klinghoffer:
now, this is going to be an event. this one has been in the news for months, and the protests are sure to continue. but enough about that – the percussion writing is the real scandal here…

The celebrated violinist, sidelined at present by injury, has offered some tips to readers in Baltimore on how to accentuate your musical experience, whether as listener or performer.

Hilary should have opened the Baltimore season but is taking longer than expected to recover from a muscle strain.

Read her advice here.

Sample: You don’t need to be a performer in order to dive into the sensory experience of music. Simply get as close as you can to the source of the music. Stick your head between the speakers. Sit in the front row of the balcony right above the stage. 


hilary hahn

The veteran virtuoso and teacher has commented, in a letter to Slipped Disc, on the finals of the Indianapolis contest, an outcome which has provoked widespread discomfort. We reprint his comments with permission:

aaron rosand



A competition can not be fair when teachers have their own students involved in it. Although they can not vote for their pupils , they can easily give lower marks to more worthy candidates.

This practice must be discontinued to achieve fair and unbiased results.

Currently many outstanding young violinists are from Asia : that five of the six finalists chosen are Korean speaks well for their innate abilities and basic training .

However, four of the six are now studying with teachers on the jury.

You can draw your own conclusion.

Aaron Rosand