The worst press offices in the music world

The worst press offices in the music world


norman lebrecht

October 14, 2014

There have been significant shifts over the past year. Once impregnable press offices have turned all cuddly, while previously friendly institutions have caught a chill. Often, it’s just a matter of one press officer leaving and another coming in. Sometimes, it’s hardline institutional policy.

Here for your consideration is Slipped Disc’s current black list of the world’s worst music press offices. Marks are given 0-10.

1 Bayreuth Festival…. 0

Never knowingly answer a phone. If they do, the answer’s No. A clear winner of the Slipped Disc trophy.

wagner bayreuth


2 Metropolitan Opera … 1

Historically overstaffed, wildly inefficient, half the press list are long dead. Hasn’t operated well since Johanna Fielder was in charge.

3 New York Philharmonic … 1.5

Snoozetown. Hotline to NY Times.

4 Boston Symphony … 2

Hello? Anybody there? I’d like to speak to Andriss…

5 Scandinavia … 2

We count annual contacts from Nordic orchs and operas on the fingers of one hand. In a good year.



6 Spain …. 2.5

Manana, across the board. Though the Liceo used to be quite good.

7 Vienna State Opera….. 3

Ever the last with the news. Now with a French-speaking press chief.

8 Berlin Philharmonic …. 3

Rapid response corporate hotline. No releases of interest all year.

9 Concertgebouw …. 3

Never much of a Dutch treat.

10 Kennedy Center, D. C. …. 3.1

Big Government gone mute.


Now, before you start attacking us for negativity and demanding to know where’s the entry for La Scala, Milan, hold your collective breaths.

A list will follow shortly of the world’s very best music press offices.

Click here.






  • Peter says:

    Is this a list of people judged simply on how they react to Slipped Disc? Or a wider survey?

  • Am I the only one tired of these “Listicles”? Must be a slow news day…..

  • basia jaworski says:

    what about Paris Opera?

  • sdReader says:

    BR in Munich has 16 press officers, but not one of them handles the organization’s Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

    That duty goes to a photographer, who, besides knowing *0* about press requirements, can’t see beyond the borders of Bavaria.

  • Robert Kenchington says:

    I would add the press office at Deutsche Grammophon. Since the departure of Isabella de Sabata – the present Lady John Eliot Gardiner – things have gone from bad to worse.

    Stock answers include:

    ‘Yes. This is not available.’ (when dealing with enquiries about new releases)
    ‘We do not know. Your product description is not recognized (although there’s already a cover design on the website)
    ‘There are no plans to release any titles at the present time’.
    ‘Look at the website for further information’ (so why bother having a press office?)

    These, and other vapid response times from the yellow label should make this at least number 11 on your hit list!

  • Fred Keller says:

    @ MET – Johanna Fiedler was joy to work with

    @ DG so Isabella de Sabata is now Lady Gardiner