The city is kicking out its foreign musicians. Andreas Scholl appeals for your help in stopping the eviction.

Basle is in the forefront of Europe’s expulsion culture. The rot must be stopped here.

scholl wanderer

We are terribly sad to hear from colleagues on the Telegraph of the passing, this morning, of Michael Kennedy, aged 88.

UPDATE: Comprehensive Telegraph obit here

Michael was one of very few critics who was a journalist before he was a musician. He joined the Telegraph in Manchester at 15 in 1941, went off to have a great war in the Navy and served as the paper’s northern editor from 1960 to 1986. When the edition was hit by printers’ strikes, he produced the paper single-handedly from Manchester. He was a craftsman in all he did, as editor, writer, biographer and music critic.

His musical outlook was shaped by Sir John Barbirolli’s golden era at the Halle. Michael wrote excellent biographies of Mahler, Strauss, Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Walton, Britten, Adrian Boult and Barbirolli himself, as well as several Oxford reference works.  Passionate as he was about musicians, he never disguised the relativity of his feelings.

Privately, among friends, he placed Strauss above Mahler, VW above Britten and Barbirolli above all other conductors. He and I argued the relative merits of composers long and hard. Michael was always amenable to another point of view, but never to be swayed in his passions.

His writing was a model of clarity, sometimes dry but never dull. He learned much from Neville Cardus, including a devotion to cricket and a talent for friendship. Many musicians and writers will feel the poorer for his passing. We will not see his like again.

Our warmest sympathies to Joyce.

Michael Kennedy right


bronze (c) Cecile Elstein

The hugely popular Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman has never had it easy. After emergency heart surgery in 2012, she managed to conceive twice, only to have her hopes dashed before term. Now she has announced in a local interview that she’s expecting again.

‘I know we’re living on borrowed time,’ says Measha. ‘I have lost two babies and nearly died myself at one point — there are no guarantees. The time you have is the time you have. I am really grateful and aware of how blessed I am.’

The whole classical community will be  praying for a happy outcome.


shostakovich nudes

The composer in his flat on Mozhaiskoe shosse, 1957 (c)  DSCH Journal.

Nice tie.

Eric Eatherly, vice president of the Chicago-based Silverman Group and a well-liked figure across the arts, died when his father’s car was involved in a crash on the road to Knoxville. His father, who was driving, is in critical condition.

Eric was 35. An injured dancer, his main account was the Joffrey Ballet. He also handled media for the Lyric Opera.


‘For most of us, the post-Nilsson generation,’ writes Barbara Moeller in Die Welt, ‘she has been the Isolde of our lives.’

On Sunday, Waltraud Meier bid farewell to the role in Berlin.


waltraud meyer isolde

Meier, 58, was expelled from Bayreuth in 2000 after a falling out with Wolfgang Wagner. She has since sung the major Wagner roles on most of the world’s great stages. Her most frequent conductor as Isolde was Daniel Barenboim.

The New Year list is among the most meagre we can recall for musicians.

There are no knighthoods or peerages.

The CBE is awarded to Roger Wright, the former Proms controller and longest serving chief of any service in the BBC’s history; and to Jude Kelly, artistic director of London’s South Bank Centre. Richard Jones, the stage director, shares the same honour.


roger-wright (1)

OBEs go to Jeffrey Skidmore, conductor of the Ex Cathedra choir and John Lubbock, founder-conductor of the Orchestra of St John’s Smith Square.

There’s an MBE for Frances Hickox, co-founder of the St Endellion festival, and Rodney Friend, leader of the LPO and the BBC SO and the first Brit to serve as concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic.

These are astonishingly slim New Year pickings, the meanest in memory.


rodney friend


The Berlin Philharmonic has shown a fine set of figures for 2014.

Ticket sales in the main hall of the Philharmonic achieved 94 percent of capacity. In the chamber music hall (often featuring members of the Philharmonic), the uptake was 71 percent.

Can any other orch match those stats?


berlin philharmonie beethoven 9

The state had somehow failed to pay €3 million, promised in 2013. A further subsidy of 950,000 is guaranteed for the coming year, in a vague kind of way.

With 2014 ticking out, Italy’s culture minister Dario Franceschini at last came through with the cash so the orch can play on, for now.

Seems a funny way to run a sweet shop.


Heartwarming story on a Welsh site about Mark Llewellyn Evans, who seemed to have lost his career when a generous friend paid for the operation that gave him the courage to continue. Click here.

mark llewellyn evans

Echoes of Harold Schonberg’s Times review that supposedly killed Claude Frank’s career in New York continue to resound.

Here’s how Harold began his review:

Claude Frank, who was a Schnabel student and in re­cent years has been active with Rudolf Serkin at the Marlboro Music Festival, can, on the basis of his Schumann performance last night, be described as a junior‐execu­tive model of an American pianist. In one respect, his performance of the concerto was quite good—technically clean, musically and rhyth­mically dependable, textually faithful. It was efficiency personified.

But from another respect, the performance was disap­pointing. The A minor Con­certo is nothing if not poetic; and Mr. Frank’s businesslike playing was skimpy in poetry.

However, a distinguished third party who was involved in these events informs us as follows:

‘Let it be known that George Szell ,who conducted that New York Philharmonic concert, was so annoyed by Schonberg’s review that he changed an already set Cleveland Orchestra program for the following season in order to have Claude play with him there. So actually Harold got Claude an extra and most elegant engagement.’

Good for Szell!




This is not a scientific survey of conducting technique.

Nor is it something you should try at home with the lights on. But I am sure some academic will follow up with funding for a five-year study.

1 The hand job…

muti kiss frittoli

classically executed by Riccardo Muti.

2 Brotherly love


Paavo Järvi, with sister Maarika

3 Just missed

bernstein at iu

Leonard Bernstein at IU

4 Karajan gets cuddly

karajan dog

5 The ear nibble

barenboim argerich3

Daniel makes Martha laugh

6 Reach for it

dudamel yuja

Dudamel with Yuja

7 I will if you will

rattle kozena dg

Try not to Rattle

8 Mind that jacket, it’s  brand new


Eschenbach and friend

9 Did they: Didn’t they?

stokowski garbo1

Stokowski with Greta Garbo


10 OK people, here’s how it’s done