The Baltimore Symphony has conducted a survey of 21 major US orchs. Here’s what they found.




The restless Hungarian maestro’s latest experiment is a concert series starting next week at the Konzerthaus Berlin in which certain players in the orchestra vacate their seats for audience members. Here’s the plan:

Unser Chefdirigent Iván Fischer ist immer für neue Ideen gut. Für diese Saison hat er sich etwas ausgedacht, das es so noch nie gegeben hat. Denn der Titel der Reihe „Mittendrin“ ist hier wortwörtlich zu verstehen! Nehmen Sie mitten im Orchester Platz, die Musiker des Konzerthausorchesters rücken extra für Sie auseinander. Und dann können Sie hautnah Musik erleben. Vielleicht spüren Sie sogar diese ganz besondere Atmosphäre, die zwischen den Mitgliedern des Orchesters und unserem Chefdirigenten beim Musizieren entsteht. Am Ende können Sie auf jeden Fall sagen: Ich war mittendrin statt nur dabei!


We like this idea. Book here for the ‘Mittendrin’ concerts.

ivan fischer piano sleighbells

The long-serving principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic is still out there, playing solo.

Conductor David Bernard has booked him to play the Mozart concerto with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony  on November 8-9 (details below) and has been quizzing him about some of the twists and turns of 60 years in the Philharmonic. Why, for instance, did Leonard Bernstein never write him a concerto?

While Lenny was just too busy to write a clarinet concerto, he did arrange for John Corigliano to write one, and then insisted on conducting the premiere! I think that the Corigliano Concerto is the hardest piece ever written for the clarinet. The Nielsen concerto has been considered the hardest. But the Corigliano has passages of great technical difficulty, very fast staccato passages and high notes played super soft. And in the slow movement, it seems like you’re playing forever without breathing. It takes a lot of strength-but it always gets a standing ovation.

Read the rest of the interview here.

stanley drucker2



Stanley Drucker appears with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony led by David Bernard on Saturday, November 8th at 8PM and Sunday, November 9th at 3PM at All Saints Church, 230 East 60th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Advance tickets are available online here.

boston audition

This is today’s audition set-up. Not exactly friendly.

We regret to report the sudden death of David Trendell, director of music at Kings College London and a widely respected scholar, performer and broadcaster.

This message has just gone up on the college board:

david trendell



I am very sorry to inform you about the sudden death of David Trendell, who held a joint post within the Dean’s Office as College Organist and Director of Music for the Chapel Choir and as Senior Lecturer in the Music Department within Arts and Humanities.  We do not have full details, but that it appears that he died in his sleep at home during Monday night/Tuesday morning, having conducted the Chapel Choir rehearsal on Monday evening.  It is typical of David that his last act should have been part of his life-long desire to pass on his extraordinary musical ability to younger generations.  We cannot even begin to imagine how much he will be missed by so many around the community of King’s College London, especially the Chapel Choir and Chaplaincy as well as his colleagues and students in the Music Department,  not to mention all his wider links across the College and our alumni  through special services, choir tours and broadcasts.


I have spoken personally with his family, but as yet we have no details about funeral arrangements, although we anticipate that it is likely that there will be a Memorial Service in the College Chapel in due course. In the meantime, we have placed a framed photograph of David in front of the altar in Chapel  where there are also candles for people to light. All are welcome to visit Chapel to remember David or pay your respects.  He will be remembered, and greatly missed, at our lunchtime Communion Service today, where members of the Choir are likely to still want to sing; all welcome.

King’s College Chaplaincy

K2.34 King’s Building

One of his singers writes: I had the privilege of singing with him on a couple of occasions, and found him not only to be an excellent scholar and conductor, but great fun on stage/in church and in the inevitable trips to the pub after gigs.

UPDATE: Telegraph obituary here.

Meet Francisco Vila. Every flight should have a resident cellist and beatboxer.
cellist francisco vila

She’s singing the anthem tonight at the World Series. Couldn’t make it last night because she was working with kids at Carnegie.

What a (non)-diva!

joyce didonato kansas

press release:

Opera superstar and Kansas super-fan Joyce DiDonato sings US National Anthem to over 25 million viewers at World Series Final after worldwide social media campaign


Lifelong Kansas City Royals fan Joyce DiDonato sings the US National Anthem at the final game of the Major League Baseball World Series tonight, 29 October, where her home team meets the San Francisco Giants, attracting over 25 million viewers. This is the first time in 29 years the Royals have made the final, which will be played out in Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.


Her appearance is the result of a spectacular social media campaign started by fans using the hashtag #letJoycesing, which gathered immense momentum, pushing DiDonato to the top of the poll. She was first asked to sing at Tuesday’s Game 6, but said her prior commitments teaching a master class to middle-school students in New York took priority, stating: ‘I thought about it for two seconds, but I just couldn’t do that to the students. If I was 13 like them and the class got canceled, I would cry for a month.’


DiDonato, who grew up in Kansas City as an avid baseball fan, remembers fondly her father taking herself and six siblings to watch the Royals play at home, for which her father had to save for months. ‘It was one of the biggest days of our lives as a family. It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. Being able to sing if there’s a Game 7 and have a few of my siblings in the ballpark — it’s not just about the World Series; it gets very personal.’


In another twist, Joyce last night revealed that her new-born great-niece is the baby at the centre of the trending ‘world series baby’ story of a Kansas City couple who missed Game 1 to have their baby but returned to Game 6 with their new-born.


The coverage in the US starts at 19.00 (ET) on Fox Sport. In the UK it starts at midnight (GMT) on BT Sport Channel 1.

The two sides have resumed talks. Neither is saying much, but agreement should be close now that the musicians have caved in on minimum numbers. What’s lacking is any sign of mutual understanding.

The musicians have been decimated twice in as many years. It will take a manager of genius to restore their confidence in Atlanta.


A light world apart from the usual begging bowl, Hello Stage mezzo soprano Maria Weiss takes us gently into the process with a genuine, personal message. Take a look below. If you like, click here to subscribe.

maria weiss


Teodor Currentzis, 42, a Greek conductor working in Russia, is the last active baton on the Sony Classical label – and they are making the most of his charismatic appeal.

A freshly-made promo video for his recording of Cosi fan tutte puts all the spotlight on the conductor and none on the singers and musicians – for all that Currentzis claims to have fostered a new ‘ brotherhood’ method of making music.

It looks like a 20th century personality cult decked out with maestro clichés, some of the most alarming banality. It’s Karajan for the iPhone, faintly disturbing. Watch (for as long as your patience lasts).
Teodor_Currentzis_main (1)

Dr Michael Petch, a member of Britten’s medical team after his 1973 heart operation, has written in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine that syphilis was ‘very much in the minds’ of his clinicians and that ‘we found no evidence’.

End of subject, you’d think.

Think again.

Paul Kildea, the official Britten-Pears Foundation biographer, continues to maintain his preposterous claim that Britten had the clap and his surgeon hushed it up to save his reputation – though not his life.

‘I worked hard and carefully to uncover the cause of Britten’s deterioration and ultimately found the witnesses and evidence that led me to my conclusions more plausible than the assertions that have subsequently appeared to try to counter them,’ he writes. Read here.

britten boys