Our social affairs correspondent reports:
Katherine Jenkins, popularly referred to as an opera singer though she has never sung an opera, married Andrew Levitas, an American film producer, at Hampton Court Palace on Saturday night.
Ms Jenkins, 34, looked happy.
The couple are said to have received both Christian and Jewish blessings.
We have been sent video of an extraordinary speech made by the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, in response to widespread reports that Jewish citizens are leaving France in the face of rising anti-semitism.
M. Valls, wearing a skullcap while speaking in a synagogue and referring explicitly to it in his speech, spoke with passion of the role Jews played in the nation and in his personal life.
Click here to watch the impressive speech. The headline statement can be found at 25:30.
Although the speech was reported in parts of the French press, no word of it has appeared abroad.
Manuel Valls is married to Anne Gravoin, a French concert violinist of Russian-Jewish origin.
It was a gala night at the Boston Symphony, ushering in the new music director with the help of two singing stars – Jonas Kaufmann and the conductor’s wife, Kristine Opolais. Except Mrs Nelsons was not, apparently, feeling well. Read first review from our pals at Boston CR here.
UPDATE: First video:
We understand the Hungarian conductor Adam Fischer will conduct an extra concert on November 14 in Copenhagen’s Koncerthuset with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, the one the national broadcaster, DR, is shutting down at the end of the year.
DR, apparently, is refusing to announce this concert. The orchestra will play Mozart’s last two symphonies. Tickets have just gone on sale. If you’re in Copenhagen on November 14, do show solidarity.
In New York, meanwhile, musicians of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra have posted this message:
The MET Orchestra Musicians protest in the strongest terms the decision of DR to abolish The Danish National Chamber Orchestra in the name of “austerity.” For the past 17 years, this exemplary group of musicians, under the leadership of chief conductor Adam Fischer, has crafted a completely unique approach to Viennese classicism, especially in their performances and recordings of Mozart. Without its only full-time chamber orchestra, the Danish cultural firmament would most certainly be much the poorer. The MET Orchestra Musicians stand firmly behind their Danish colleagues.
Of all the wretched executive appointments we have seen at the BBC – up to and including the shortlived last director general – the installation of Alan Davey as controller of Radio 3 goes down as the greatest betrayal of BBC values and aspirations.
Mr Davey, whose press lackeys have been mobilised to extol his love of classical music, is a faceless bureaucrat, without one independent act in his public career to show for his inflated salary.
Let’s consider first his predecessors in the role.
John Drummond was an impresario, an ideas man who led the Edinburgh Festival to its final summits and provoked lively discussion wherever he went.
Nick Kenyon was a journalist who had manned the barricades of the early music movement, served time at the New Yorker and written a couple of good books.
Roger Wright had directed the crucible of contemporary British music, served as artistic administrator to the Cleveland Orchestra, headed the Deutsche Grammphon label and saved the BBC orchestras from self-destruction.
All three were men of achievement before they accepted the Radio 3 chalice.
Nothing. Nul points. Zip. Zilch. Ohne Eigenschaften.
No international experience. No independent decision making. No engagement with the commercial sector. No broadcasting track record. No capacity for public presentation. No discernible personality.
Nothing but a desk and a pen to push on it.
In the novels of Anthony Powell, A Dance to the Music of Time, the one certainty in each successive tale of the cycle is that Kenneth Widmerpool will crop up at some point in an ever higher social or state position. Widmerp0ol is the acme of the ordinary.
So it is with Alan Davey. He is a man without qualities, a colourless functionary who rises through a mindless system like plastic bags on a polluted sea*.
Lord Hall, the BBC’s director general, has sold out to its bureaucracy. Alan Davey will do no noticeable harm at the BBC. But he is the last person to pull Radio 3 out of its summer of slumbers since Wright’s departure, the last to revivify one of the crown jewels of British culture.
This is a miserable moment for music in Britain, a shameful one for Tony Hall.
* Alan Davey’s c.v.:
Starting as an Administration Trainee in the DHSS 1985, he was Private Secretary to the Minister of State for Health, 1988–90. He went to the Department of National Heritage in 1992 to head the National Lottery Bill Team. He was Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for National Heritage, 1993–94, then Head of European Business, Medicines Control Agency 1995–97, then secretary of the Royal Commission on Long Term Care, 1997–99. He was awarded a Fulbright/Helen Hamlyn Scholarship in 1999. After this, at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, he was Head of Arts Division from January 2001 to April 2004, and subsequently Director of Arts and Culture from May 2004 to December 2007. Davey became chief executive of Arts Council England in 2008,
Krešimir Šipuš, the Croatian conductor and composer who served as artistic adviser to the Oslo Opera for 38 years, died there last week, aged 85.
Šipuš, a conducting protégé of Igor Markevitch and composing student of Olivier Messaien, was conductor of the Zagreb opera and radio orchestra before he migrated to Norway in 1976.
Just when you thought things could get no worse at the fraudster-owned classical mega-agency, they just did.
In the thick of a bloodstained reconstruction, the company’s most respected and highest paid agent has gone off to start her own company and several hangers-on of limited imagination have been promoted way above their abilities.
The IMG press release below confirms the first senior sackings we reported last weekend in New York. We hear that six further agent jobs are being axed in the London office, the company’s European headquarters.
In the thick of this turmoil, Kathryn Enticott has spun off her part of the London operation into an independent business, taking with her the conductors Semyon Bychkov, Alan Gilbert and Franz Welser-Möst; the pianist Leif Ove Andsnes; the conductor and violinist Nikolaj Znaider; and the guitarist Miloš Karadaglić. Enticott’s departure leaves the company without a credible front-line agent.
The remaining agents will be managed by a former head of legal affairs at EMI, Lorna Aizlewood. They may be reassured to have a decent and impeccable lawyer at the head of a company tainted by dodgy ownership, but the process of spotting, signing and developing talent has been subjugated to a corporate superstructure that can only work against the interests of artists and their ambitions. Throughout this process, artists have been kept in the dark. Some tell us they no longer know who their agent is, or will be, at IMG.
As one ex-IMG agent puts it: ‘With all the senior, experienced managers now gone, a lot of hot air has risen to the top. There is definitely some wonderful younger talent there now, but with no real mentors or encouragement.’
This may be the weekend that IMG Artists began to die.
IMG ARTISTS ANNOUNCE NEW GLOBAL ORGANISATION
26th September, 2014: Lorna Aizlewood, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of IMG Artists, today announced that the company has completed a consultation process to restructure the company into global, function-based divisions. Ms Aizlewood said, “This new direction is an important step in ensuring that the company continues to offer the best services to its artists, clients and partners in the performing arts. It also allows for IMGA to capitalise on its unparalleled international depth via multiple offices across three continents.”
As of 1st October, the company will be composed of seven divisions and four joint ventures or partnerships. The new divisions are: global Artist Management; Sales; Touring; Attractions; Servicing and Procurement; Festivals and Events; and Corporate. Each division and corporate department head will report into Ms Aizlewood, with the exception of the Finance and Corporate Development departments, both of which report into Alexander Shustorovich, President and Chief Executive Officer of IMG Artists.
The following artist managers will report directly to Ms Aizlewood: Stefania Almansi, Tanja Dorn, Matthew Horner, Charlotte Lee, Nicholas Mathias, Alex Monsey, Bill Palant, Kristin Schuster, Peter Wiggins and Matthew Zelle. They will work closely and in cooperation with the rest of the Artist Management division, which will be led by Senior Vice President and Global Head of Artist Management Bridget Canniere, who will also report into Ms Aizlewood. The team will work out of New York, London, Paris, Hannover and Berlin.
The company is pleased to announce new services through the Artist Management Special Projects group. Special Projects, based in New York, is charged with finding, developing and producing partnerships, events and other opportunities for members of IMGA’s roster. Senior Vice Presidents David Lai and Jack Mastroianni, Vice President Matthew Bledsoe and Manager Andrew Elsesser comprise the team.
Romana Jaroff becomes Senior Vice President and Global Head of Sales. The sales team will work in concert with the Artist Management, Touring and Attractions divisions to devise and sell concert and recital programmes, dance companies and attractions around the world. The sales team will work out of the New York, London and Hannover offices.
Steve Linder becomes Senior Vice President and Global Head of Attractions. The team, which will work out of the Los Angeles, New York, London and Hannover offices, will be responsible for the representation and management of IMGA’s roster of dance companies, shows and attractions, Film with Orchestra series and other contemporary entertainment. In addition, the Attractions division will be responsible for developing and producing new shows that appeal to regional and international audiences.
Each of these divisions will be provided with top-of-the-line logistical support by the new Global Servicing and Procurement division. Headed by Lizzie Morgan, previously an Artist Manager in the London office, this division will manage the operational aspects of IMGA artists’ careers. This specialised division will deliver numerous benefits including expert travel and hospitality planning, visa and immigration support and associated services. This division will be tasked with providing excellence in service combined with cost-effectiveness achieved through a cohesive, global relationship and procurement strategy. The division will have team members based in the London, New York, Paris and Hannover offices.
Harold Clarkson becomes Senior Vice President and Global Head of Touring. This division will focus on developing, representing and managing touring for orchestras; ensembles; conductors; classical instrumentalists and vocalists; and select classical ballet companies. The team will be based in the Hannover office, with support from consultants and team members in Europe, North America and Asia.
Charles Letourneau becomes Senior Vice President and Global Head of Festivals and Events. He will continue to work with IMGA and external partners to develop and produce festivals in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The Corporate division consolidates Finance and Administration, Corporate Development, Human Resources, Marketing and Communications and IT and Technology Development into one global unit that provides back office, operational and strategic support for the company as a whole.
The joint ventures or partnerships include the current UK Touring team, led by Andrew Jamieson; IMG Artists Lucca, directed by Gianluca Macheda; and the recently announced IMG Artists South Korea, a partnership with Seoul-based Konzertdirektion Lee that is managed by KDL founder Ki Soo Lee.
IMG Artists is also pleased to announce a new exclusive artist management venture with Kathryn Enticott, previously Managing Director of European Artist Management. Kathryn has now formed her own company, Enticott Music Management, and will exclusively manage a list of artists in association with IMGA, as well as consult with the company on various projects. The artists are conductors Semyon Bychkov, Alan Gilbert (for Europe) and Franz Welser-Möst; pianist Leif Ove Andsnes; conductor and violinist Nikolaj Znaider; and guitarist Miloš Karadaglić. In addition, Ms Enticott will begin consulting and working on other projects under the EMM banner.
As IMG Artists has consolidated regional roles within the new structure, certain positions no longer exist, and there are colleagues who will not continue with the company including Executive Director of The Americas Kristin Lancino, Senior Vice President and Director of Conductors and Instrumentalists for The Americas Stefana Atlas, Vice President of Vocal Artist Management Alison Pybus and Director of Dance Liz Harler. Ms Pybus will remain with the company for a transitional handover period.
Ms Aizlewood said, “I personally want to thank each of our departing colleagues for their commitment to excellence in their work; their exceptional professionalism during this process; and their support of their artists and clients through the transitional period. We wish each of them all the best in their future endeavours.
“Finally, I want to express my sincere thanks to the staff for their dedication to providing the highest standards of performing arts management, and look forward to working with the teams as we embark on our new future together.”
UPDATE: Kathryn’s statement can be read here.
The orchestra management has issued another dubious, upbeat statement:
Earlier today, the ASO musicians’ union accepted the ASO’s request from September 17 to involve a federal mediator in the collective bargaining process. We’re so pleased with this movement and are looking forward to getting back to the table.
We know our patrons are disappointed in our decision to enter a work stoppage, but we felt it would be irresponsible to continue digging the ASO deeper into debt given the severity of our financial situation and the lack of movement from both sides during the negotiation process.
We will be using the same mediator who handled the Metropolitan Opera negotiations in August. We have been eager to take this step so we can work towards giving Atlanta the orchestra is deserves – one of artistic excellence that is able to thrive and move audiences across the world for many years to come.
The musicians responded.
This statement is in response to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s statement issued at approximately 9pm today, September 27th. We wish to correct the misleading information that WAC/ASO management distributed in that statement.
We received a formal request for mediation on Monday, September 22nd at 10:55am from WAC/ASO management. Three hours later, we accepted the suggestion to speak with Ms. Allison Beck, the Acting Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and were told that FMCS officials would be contacting us accordingly, which has not happened yet. Mediation will only be successful if the WAC/ASO management is willing to move off the terms of the demands they have been adamantly clinging to — in bad faith — since they locked us out three weeks ago tonight.
The musicians are happy to speak with FMCS Director Beck about pathways forward when she is able to be in touch with us. There is as yet no further agreement about the process.
Meanwhile, the ASO’s principal guest conductor, Donald Runnicles, has added his voice to the chorus of dismay at the abysmal handling of this situation. Here’s what he writes:
I rarely resort to this kind of appeal for help. #DeafeningSilence – simply, profoundly, an existential call for help by a remarkable orchestra in the face of a breathtaking and incomprehensible assault on their integrity and survival. My dream is to share this with the world. If governments can be brought down through social media, then may the power be with you, to you both personally and collectively who has, who have taken the trouble to read these heartfelt words and potentially can make the difference. Share. Please share the hashtag. I have no idea if that is how one refers to this awesome machine for change. What the heck. Please. Thank you. It is with humility and gratitude that I confirm, shout out anew, my love and deep respect for the astonishing musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the no less astonishing Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Yes we can.
Freelance trombons player Anthony Wise has added his own rap take:
They think they have found the missing two-thirds of the original manuscript of the ever-so-popular A-major sonata (one extant sheet is kept in Salzburg).
The find is claimed by Balazs Mikusi, 42, head of the music department of the National Szechenyi Library in Budapest.
Verification will take many months, perhaps years. I shall be in Budapest next week. If time permits, I’ll try to take a peek for curiosity’s sake.