The Barbican and South Bank have just announced final details of the Berlin Philharmonic’s next London residency in February 2015.

It comes a month after Sir Simon Rattle’s 60th birth and he wants to mark the event with favourite works and an education project. Mahler’s second symphony and a Sibelius cycle cover the first category. The second consists of the creation of a Young Orchestra for London.

Read the full release below.

Most of the concerts are fully sold out.


The Barbican and Southbank Centre present:
Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker –
The London Residency 2015
(10-15 February 2015)

Recruitment for a ‘Young Orchestra for London’ as part of the Berliner Philharmoniker’s London Residency is now under way


The Barbican Centre and Southbank Centre are bringing Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker to London for a major residency in 2015.  Following the great success of the orchestra’s London concerts series in 2011, the week-long residency will feature performances in the Barbican Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall from 10-15 February 2015. It will bring the two arts centres together in a series of concerts and in creative learning work with young people from all the London boroughs, both north and south of the river Thames.

Sir Simon Rattle has chosen to mark his 60th birthday with this London residency, choosing music that has a special significance for him: a complete cycle of Sibelius’s seven symphonies in honour of the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and music by pioneering German composer Helmut Lachenmann. The residency is also a celebration of the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle, one of classical music’s most outstanding artistic partnerships, and a showcase of one of the world’s greatest orchestras.

Full concert listings below.

As part of the Berliner Philharmoniker’s The London Residency 2015, Southbank Centre and Barbican Guildhall in collaboration with the London Symphony Orchestra will join forces for an education project that brings together a brand new young mixed-ability (Grade 3 and above) orchestra, theYoung Orchestra for London. The project culminates in two landmark performances by the Young Orchestra for London – one on the Barbican Concert Hall Stage (12 Feb) and one on Southbank Centre’s Clore Ballroom (15 Feb), both led by Sir Simon Rattle.

Following an open recruitment day at Southbank Centre, online application to the orchestra is now open and will close at noon on Friday 5 December. All applicants will be required to attend a selection workshop in December and by the end of the year 100 young people aged 11 – 21 from across the 33 boroughs in London will have been selected to take part.

From 11 January 2015 the Young Orchestra for London gets together for a series of repertoire rehearsals and workshops, where the young players can learn about general musicianship skills and the repertoire that is being performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker during the residency. Sessions are creatively overseen by Rachel Leach and full orchestral rehearsals will be led by conductors Ben Gernon and Duncan Ward with musicians from theLondon Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra supporting some of the sessions. Sectionals will take place with the support from members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, who will also be available for online Q&A sessions with the young musicians.

In February 2015 the project culminates in two performances at the Barbican and Southbank Centre which will see the Young Orchestra for London conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. The programmes include Sibelius Finlandia and a movement from Malcolm Arnold’s Little Suite No.2, plus a newly commissioned piece entitled Zero at the Bone for a ‘Giant Orchestra’ by composer Stephen Montague which is specifically designed for Southbank Centre’s annual Imagine Children’s Festival. This piece will involve youngsters outside the Young Orchestra for London joining in, too, and will also feature parts for non-instrumental players.

Further information on how to apply for the Young Orchestra for London as well as an online application form can be found here.

Sir Simon Rattle, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Berliner Philharmoniker since September 2002, said: I am very excited to be part of this project which brings people together from different social and cultural backgrounds, geographic areas in London and different age groups and ability levels, whilst also connecting the two largest Arts Centres in London. Working together on Young Orchestra for London, the Southbank Centre and Barbican Guidhall are aspiring to something greater than they could achieve on their own, and in turn, that will benefit the young people of London. I’d urge every young instrumentalist in London who fulfil the criteria to apply for this once in a lifetime opportunity, to be part of something greater than the sum of its parts, to represent their part of London in a real Orchestra For London.


The London Residency 2015 – concert listings

Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker
The London Residency 2015
10 February 2015 / 19:30, Barbican Hall
Sold Out
Sibelius Symphony No 1
Sibelius Symphony No 2
Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Simon Rattle conductor

Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker
The London Residency 2015
11 February 2015 / 19:30, Barbican Hall
Sold Out
Sibelius Symphony No 3
Sibelius Violin Concerto
Sibelius Symphony No 4
Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Simon Rattle conductor
Leonidas Kavakos violin

Young Orchestra for London / Sir Simon Rattle
12 February 2015 / 18:30, Barbican Hall
Tickets: Free admission, booking required.

Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker
The London Residency 2015
12 February 2015 / 19:30, Barbican Hall
Sold Out
Sibelius Symphony No 5
Sibelius Symphony No 6
Sibelius Symphony No 7
Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Simon Rattle conductor

Philharmonic Octet Berlin
The London Residency 2015
Friday 13 February 2015 / 19:30, Queen Elizabeth Hall
Tickets: £12-45
Nielsen Serenata in vano for clarinet, horn, bassoon, cello & double bass
Berwald Septet in B flat
Schubert Octet
Philharmonic Octet Berlin

Around the world with the 12 cellists of the Berliner Philharmoniker
The London Residency 2015
Sunday 15 February 2015 / 12:00, Royal Festival Hall
Tickets: £14
Henry Purcell Suite from Abdelazer and The Fairy Queen arr. Brett Dean
Dmitry Shostakovich Waltz No.2 from Suite for Variety Stage Orchestra
Robert Schumann Winterzeit II from Album für die Jugend, Op.68
12 Cellists of the Berliner Philharmoniker
Sarah Willis narrator
This concert is part of Imagine Children’s Festival 2015

Young Orchestra for London / Sir Simon Rattle
15 February 2015 / 15:00, Clore Ballroom
Tickets: Free admission, booking required.

Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker
The London Residency 2015
14 – 15 February 2015 / 19:30, Royal Festival Hall
Sold Out
Lachenmann Tableau for orchestra
Mahler Symphony No 2 (Resurrection)
Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Simon Rattle conductor
Kate Royal soprano
Magdalena Kožená mezzo-soprano
London Symphony Chorus
City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus

A new chart from Suby Raman shows St Louis Symphony is the first to have more women players than men. (Full chart here.)

Bottom of the chart among top-20 orchestras is…


boston so previn mutter


Just 30 percent women.

Buck up Boston.

This looks like good news, the more so since the local authority has given Opera Holland Park £5 million ($7m) to start play. Here’s the unusually factual and coherent press release:

The critically acclaimed Opera Holland Park (OHP) is to set out on its own as an independent charitable company, with the help of a final grant from its founder, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Created in 1996, OHP has risen quickly to become a renowned institution. In terms of future development however, it has reached an impasse: the Council cannot afford to increase the company’s annual grant which currently stands at £535,000, in fact that grant may eventually have to be reduced or even withdrawn remaining part of the Council restricts commercial freedom and deters potential major donors, some of whom report being put off by the risk of their funds merely resulting in a lower subsidy from the Council.

Subject to a final decision by the Royal Borough’s Cabinet in February 2015, OHP will begin operating as an independent company in 2016. The Council’s subsidy will then cease, producing an annual revenue saving to the Royal Borough of £535,000 that can be redirected into services. Instead the company will receive a final grant of up to £5 million drawn from reserves. Thereafter, it will rely solely on sales and sponsorship. The newly independent company will have charitable status in its own right but will continue to benefit from the support of the Friends of Opera Holland Park.

“The Council has lost tens of millions in government grants and austerity looks like being prolonged for years to come,” explained Cllr Tim Coleridge, Cabinet Member for the Arts. “We are making some very difficult decisions and are in no position to increase the company’s grant, indeed it is distinctly foreseeable that we would soon have to start reducing it. At the moment, our reserves remain strong and we are using them to invest heavily in new schools and new affordable homes but that does not mean we should neglect our cultural heritage. The time for OHP to strike out on its own is now, while the Council can still afford to give it a good start.
opera holland park
“We are very proud that we have created this outstanding cultural institution,” added Cllr Coleridge. “We know it is much loved by our residents and by opera fans; we do not believe it would be right to just stand by and watch it wither.”

From the £5 million, the company may be able to pay £650,000 for new semi-permanent structures to replace some of the Opera’s temporary buildings. Subject to planning permission, these new structures could enable OHP to escape about £100,000 in annual erection and de-rigging costs thereby moving the company much closer to profitability. If the semi-permanent structures do not proceed, the grant would fall to £4.35 million.

One of the Council’s conditions of independence is the continuation of OHP’s popular accessibility schemes which provide thousands of cheap and even free seats for young people, the over sixties and others and also its outreach work to schools and people in residential care.

Note to editors

Opera Holland Park Friends has over 2500 members and contributes around £500,000 per annum to the festival as well as purchasing around £1million in tickets

Between 2010-11 and 2017-18, Council spending will fall by 28 per cent as a result of austerity.

The average season occupancy for OHP has frequently exceeded 95 per cent since 2001.

OHP’s operating budget is approximately £3 million per annum. It generates around 66 per cent of its income from ticket sales alone, one of the highest ratios in the UK opera industry. Other income is generated from the Friends, products and services, sponsorship and donations.

Over 15,000 local residents regularly attend the festival which runs between June and early August.

OHP’s current title sponsor is Investec Wealth & Investment who are contracted until the 2016 season (which will be their sixth season).

The company will occupy the theatre site under lease from the Council.

The company will be managed by Michael Volpe and James Clutton with a new board of trustees.

The house on the harbour has put out a call (below) for students to join the stage cast of its outdoor Aida.

The deal? No pay, no expenses:

The requirements:

– Commit to performances from 25 March to 26 April 2015, with no shows on Mondays or on Good Friday.
– Demonstrate a high level of self-organisation and reliability.
– Follow internal Opera Australia policies, including WHS, Codes of Conduct etc.
– Cover all their own expenses, including travel and food expenses. We unfortunately cannot provide any reimbursements or allowances to secondment positions.
Secondment role
– Secondment cast members will make up an integral part of the Aida cast in the role of Supernumeries. Supernumeries will have significant on stage time and play an important part of the production.

Let’s get this crystal-clear: An opera house that employs performers on amateur terms is an amateur opera house.

Stand by for a downgrade, Opera Australia.

Madama Butterfly Sydney Harbour Platinum Lounge Wedding Service at sunset

Thanks to Bel Canto for posting the call-out and to Aaron Kernaghan for the tip-off.

An essay in Die Welt argues that the likes of Franco Fagioli – presently in Covent Garden’s Idomeneo – Philippe Jaroussky and Sony’s fast-rising Romanian Valer Sabadus (pictured) are getting all the best girl roles.

Who’d be a mezzo in 2014?

Your views, please.



Carolyn Bridger, a founding member of the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, was killed yesterday in a road smash in Michigan.

A formidable ensemble player, she studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, where she won the prestigious Schubert Prize for Accompanying. Away from Tallahasse, she taught at Interlochen Arts Camp and at Florida State University.

More details here.  Our sympathies to her family and many friends.



Not long ago, the principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra, Gareth Davies, accosted a fresh-faced student on the steps of the Royal Academy of Music. The conversation went something like this:

‘Hey, Walker!’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Do you know who I am?’

‘Yes, sir. You’re Mr Davies, sir, principal flute of the LSO.’

‘Right. Well from now on, you are going to be my co-principal.’

(Or that’s how we heard it.)

adam walker gareth davies

It was one of the smartest recruitments we’ve ever seen.

As of today, Adam Walker (left, above, with Davies) becomes visiting professor of flute at the Royal College of Music.

A professor, at 27.

Simon Channing, RCM Head of Woodwind, says:  “I am delighted that Adam will be joining the Woodwind Faculty at the RCM. He is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding musicians of his generation, a wonderfully charismatic player and teacher. We will never forget the masterclass he gave here last year which combined rare insight and generosity of spirit – the ideal combination for a great teacher.”

Drinks all round.

They just can’t announce it yet.

A press conference had been called for next Monday, but it appears the maestro can’t attend.

So the announcement has been postponed indefinitely. We can confirm that the new music director is male.

He succeeds the late Claudio Abbado.

Lucerne is very Swiss.

lucerne festival

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

With regret, the media conference in the KKL Luzern originally planned for this coming Monday (24 November) has had to be postoned due to unexpected scheduling reasons. We will be back to you in due time. Thank you for your understanding.

With kind regards 

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

mit Bedauern müssen Ihnen mitteilen,  dass die für den kommenden Montag  (24. November) geplante Medienkonferenz im KKL Luzern aus kurzfristigen terminlichen Gründen leider nicht stattfinden kann. Wir werden zu gegebener Zeit wieder auf Sie zukommen. Vielen Dank für Ihr Verständnis.

Mit besten Grüssen

A dedicated Fleming watcher has sent us this interview with the diva, from The news-making quote is:

As the conversation drew to a close, Fleming revealed the next “out of the box” undertaking on her to-do list: She hopes to star on Broadway in a production of “Living on Love,” a farce she performed in this past summer at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts. Her face brightened as she discussed the play, which is based on Garson Kanin’s “Peccadillo” (1985) and cast Fleming as a fading opera diva.

“It was really fun and very challenging for me,” Fleming said. “I was so ignorant that I didn’t even realize how hard farce is, because it’s all about timing and things have to go very quickly. I also didn’t realize what happens when you’re not supported by music. It’s a different part of your brain.

“Right now we’re waiting on a Broadway theater to become available,” she said. “I’ve got to tell you, I’m super-happy. I feel very fortunate to be able to broaden what I’m doing in this way. It’s a real gift. I’ve been singing opera now for almost 25 years, so it’s time to think about other things. I can concertize for a long time, and I have a lot of options, which is very exciting.”



Ms Fleming goes on to say:

“I felt very straitjacketed until about 10 years ago, and all of my career before then, because there was this idea that, if you didn’t follow this specifically European template of what an opera singer is … First of all, that was a risk, because you didn’t want to lose your stature as some highbrow performer, and, secondly, you didn’t want to dilute what you were doing. The more successful classical musicians have been specialists. I was already not a specialist, because my interests in music, in classical music, were too broad.

“Then I thought, ‘I grew up listening to all kinds of things and singing different styles,’” she said. “I even sang country-western at a C.B.-radio convention once. I really felt, with jazz, that I had some credibility, because I’d sung for two-and-a-half years with a trio. I sang a lot of folk music as well, and played guitar quite well when I was young. I learned all of Joni Mitchell’s songs, and she was my idol.

“So I wanted to branch out a little, and I’ve resisted that pigeonholing.”



The sacking of Jonathan Meese as director of Parsifal is more significant than it first appeared. We’ve been hearing – under oaths of extreme anonymity – that much has changed at Bayreuth since Eva Wagner-Pasquier was shoved off into Valhalla twilight earlier this year by her younger half-sister, Katherine.

Katie is taking no prisoners.

A production team which presented its ideas to both sisters in the most amicable of atmosphere found, when facing Katie alone, a total, inexplicable frost. ‘The model showing took place in the iciest atmosphere,’ one team member tells Slipped Disc. ‘I couldn’t believe that it was possible to invite an artist and to treat him in this way. Not even a polite word of interest in his proposition or any appreciation of the work on the model.’ Eva Wagner, apparently, sat in a back row, saying nothing.

At no point were the team given a budget, despite discussing the project for months with the Geschäftsführenderdirektor, Heinz-Dieter Sense.

One designer speaks of total incompetence, ‘an incapacity to deal with artists.’

An independent director (not Meese) tells us: ‘The Wagner’s told Meese his concept was too expensive. Forced him to rethink it. He did. Cutting it down substantially. They refused to show him figures. Told him it was still too expensive. Expecting and hoping he would withdraw so they would not have to pay him. This is the third time the Wagners have fooled around with directors.

‘Castorf was third choice after Van Trier and Wenders. Baumgarten was second director for Tannhäuser, after Sébastien Nubling was announced and forced to withdraw. Now Parsifal…’

Welcome to Katie’s world. Bring extra blankets.


katharina wagner thielemann