It’s the first check to be cashed by new boss Jeff Alexander. Press release below.




CHICAGO—Jeff Alexander, President of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA), announced today that CSOA Trustee Bruce Clinton and his wife, Martha, along with members of The Clinton Family Fund, pledged $2 million to the CSOA to endow the Principal Timpani position in the Orchestra. The position, held since 2013 by David Herbert, will be known as The Clinton Family Fund Principal Timpani Chair of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.Said Jeff Alexander, “This extraordinarily generous gift will benefit the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for many years to come. Everyone in the CSO family is profoundly grateful to the Clintons for their steadfast support of the organization over many years.”

David Herbert said, “It is a tremendous honor to have the Principal Timpani position at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra endowed by The Clinton Family Fund. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the generosity and foresight of Bruce and Martha Clinton in supporting this venerable orchestra now and in the future.” In 2013, the Clintons made a gift to the CSOA for the purchase of a set of new timpani which Herbert said was a “huge upgrade to the orchestra’s collection.”

Said Bruce Clinton, “I was born and raised in Chicago, and my parents encouraged me to come to the programs of the CSO. I developed a passion for this timeless art form, and with it, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In my late teens I even fantasized about becoming a professional timpanist. For us, we are immensely proud to be connected, even in a small way, to Maestro Muti, to the extraordinary musicians of the CSO and to David Herbert , who is a preeminent timpanist.

“At one time I wanted to be a timpanist, and this is as close as I’ll get. I’m grateful to the Trustees of The Clinton Family Fund for supporting my dream. I am a member of the CSO Board Finance Committee, where we’re reminded how it has to be a collective effort on the part of a lot of people and a lot of institutions to support and nurture this art form. What I hope is that this small sum added to the endowment with many others, over many years, with each generation and each new opportunity, continues to keep the CSO preeminent among its peers. It’s a superior group, and I hope this gift will make some small contribution to this tradition.”

Deborah Voigt has been spilling more of the beans. In an interview with People magazine, one of whose writers ghosted her forthcoming memoir, the soprano describes what happened when she stopped overeating.

deborah voigt fat


“My drinking just escalated,” she tells PEOPLE. “It would be nothing for me to go through two bottles of wine, then my blackout would happen sometime around the third bottle.”

Through therapy, she learned about how one addiction can lead to another. Men came next: for a brief time, she even frequented websites for men who wanted “big gals.” “The whole idea of being able to attract a man was so new to me,” notes Voigt. “It was like, ‘Could I?’ Lo and behold, I could, and it was like feeding the monster.”


The Malko Competition has published its list of competitors.

Just four women have been selected out of 24 who will vie for a 20,000-Euro prize and engagements with 34 orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic.

One woman judge will sit on a panel of 16.

There is a helluva long way to go before classical music has a level playing field.

The Malko takes place in Denmark, by the way, where the prime minister is a woman.


maazel malko

Competitors selected:

Elim Chan (born 1986, United Kingdom)
Tung-Chieh Chuang (born 1982, Taiwan)
Yuga Cohler (born 1989, USA)
Conner Gray Covington (born 1987, USA)
Nicholas Hersh (born 1988, USA)
Seokwon Hong (born 1982, South Korea)
Trond Husebø (born 1979, Norway)
Risto Joost (born 1980, Estonia)
Stilian Kirov (born 1984, Bulgaria)
Dmitry Kryukov (born 1990, Russia)
Earl Lee (born 1983, Canada)
David Niemann (born 1990, Germany)
Jesko Sirvend (born 1986, Germany)
Giedre Slekyte (born 1989, Lithuania)
Jonathan Spandorf (born 1984, Israel)
Vinay Parameswaran (born 1987, USA)
Anna Rakitina (born 1989, Russia)
Andrey Rubtsov (born 1982, Russia)
Jesus Uzcategui (born 1988, Venezuela)
Benjamin Wallfisch (born 1979, United Kingdom)
Dean Whiteside (born 1988, USA)
Lu Yu (born 1989, China)
Noam Zur (born 1981, Germany)
Johannes Zurl (born 1979, Germany)

The Mariinsky US tour was greeted in Brooklyn last night by about two dozen demonstrators.

A group calling itself Art Against Aggression has threatened to picket the tour.

conduct peace not war gergiev



Brian Wise reports here.

anti gergiev

The city of Hamburg has announced that the long-awaited Elbphilharmonie will open on January 11, 2017.

The project will include a 250-room hotel, with 45 waterfront residential units. These inbuilt assets will help pay for the concert hall.

That’s what needs to be done with London’s South Bank: knock it down and build a good concerthall, with a hotel that underwrites its upkeep.




The diva has announced a three-stop California tour in March, her first US dates in more than five years.

‘In California, I have the feeling they listen, share and enjoy, and share this enjoyment with no problem,’ she says. ‘It’s a spontaneous way of reacting. The spontaneity is important.’

Hmmm… what does that say about the East Coast?


This is Paavo Järvi last night with Francois Hollande at the opening of the Philharmonie.

Paavo looks a lot the happier of the two, perhaps because he’s handed in his notice.

Anyway, he’s not staying over for croissants.

paavo jarvi francois hollande

We’re delighted to see that the New York Philharmonic is putting on the US premieres of two British operas – George Benjamin’s Written on Skin (pictured) and Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

Both are challenging works that did well in London.

Presumably, the Met passed.

Wonder why.

Press release below.


Written on the Skin ? opera by George Benjamin

January 14, 2015 — Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the New York Philharmonic today announced plans for the two organizations to collaborate on a new, multi-year opera initiative to present fully-staged productions of significant modern operas not yet seen in New York.

This new creative partnership, which will present three opera productions starting in 2015, marks the first collaboration for opera between the artistic teams of Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic. It also illustrates a growing relationship between the two organizations, represented by last season’s co-presentation of Marino Formenti’s recital during the inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL and this season’s recital with the Philharmonic’s Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence Lisa Batiashvili. Collaborative efforts also extend to plans to redevelop Avery Fisher Hall.

Lincoln Center initiated discussions about this partnership with the New York Philharmonic in the summer of 2013, recognizing that both institutions have strong commitments to opera presentations, especially with a focus on new repertoire and innovative productions. The organizations will pool their collective artistic and financial resources, and will collaborate on all artistic decisions, such as repertoire, directors, conductors, casting and design, as well as the marketing and fundraising efforts, to realize these artistic visions.

Each of the first two operas selected to be produced as a result of this new partnership will be receiving its first stagings in the United States. The Lincoln Center–New York Philharmonic collaboration will launch with the American stage premiere of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, August 11, 13, and 15, 2015. This presentation, a revival of Katie Mitchell’s acclaimed production which was premiered at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 2012, will take place at the David H. Koch Theater. It will be conducted by New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert leading the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. The cast will include Barbara Hannigan, Christopher Purves, and Victoria Simmonds, who are reprising their roles from the Aix production, as well as Tim Mead and Robert Murray.

The second presentation is the American stage premiere of the Irish composer Gerald Barry’s operaThe Importance of Being Earnest, based on Oscar Wilde’s comedy. This production, which was premiered at the Royal Opera House in London, is directed by Ramin Gray and will be conducted by Ilan Volkov leading New York Philharmonic musicians. This New York production brings together most of the original Royal Opera House cast including Simon Wilding, Benedict Nelson, Paul Curievici, Stephanie Marshall, Alan Ewing, Hilary Summers, and Ida Falk Winland. An additional cast member will be announced at a later date.  It will be presented June 2 and 4, 2016, jointly as part of the second NY PHIL BIENNIAL and Lincoln Center’s 50th season of Great Performers at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

A third production, slated for 2017, will be announced at a later date. Information about each opera follows below.

The cost of repairing the Staatsoper Unter den Linden has risen from a Senate-approved 240 million Euros to a final 390 million.

That’s almost exactly the amount Paris spent on its new Philharmonie – and almost exactly the sum that Paris overspent.

Three questions:

1 why do we always let these projects shoot 50 percent over target?

2 isn’t it always better to build a new venue for music than repair an inadequate old one?

3 why does London always get it wrong?


The shortlist:

Music – Original Score
Hans Zimmer, “Interstellar”
Alexandre Desplat, “The Imitation Game”
Johann Johannsson, “The Theory of Everything”
Alexandre Desplat, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Gary Yershon, “Mr Turner”


Desplat, for sure.

alexandre desplat

An announcement from Schotts:

judith webb




It is with great sadness that Schott Music must announce that our dear colleague Judith Webb passed away on Friday 9 January following a short period of illness. Judith was Managing Director of our London office and a loyal and devoted member of staff for 35 years. Judith started her time with Schott London in 1980 as an administrative assistant and worked in a number of roles in the company before becoming Managing Director and joining the Schott London Board of Directors. She was also a member of the Music Publishers Association Board and was hugely liked and respected throughout the industry. All our thoughts are with Judith’s family at this time.

Dr Peter Hanser-Strecker, Chairman of the Schott Music Group, commented: “It is hard to believe that our dear colleague and management board member Judith Webb is no longer with us. I have known and admired her since she started to work at Schott London. She was a woman of varied interests and knowledge and got to know our business from all aspects and all departments. Her career path within the Schott Group progressed continually and eventually led her to become Managing Director of Schott London. We will miss her unique knowledge, her loyalty, her dedication to Schott and we will especially miss the great friend she was.”

Sam Rigby, Creative Director of Schott London, commented: “On behalf of my colleagues and I here at Schott London, I would like to state the great sadness and shock that we all feel at Judith’s passing. Her contribution to Schott has been immense, and her assured and confident direction will be much missed here and in the wider industry. We will equally miss the warmth of her personality, her dedication to those around her, and the encouragement and compassion that she showed to all of us. Judith always empowered her colleagues, and received great loyalty in return. She will always be in our thoughts.”

Sally Groves, former Creative Director of Schott London, commented: “Judith will be remembered with huge gratitude and affection for her calm good sense, her shrewd judgement and for her appreciative sense of humour. She devoted her working life to Schott Music, and the London office flourished during her time with the company. I am very proud to have worked with her as her fellow director, and owe her so much for her constant support and encouragement. Her family meant everything to her and she adored her two fine sons, Thomas and Harry, and loved bringing them up to see us all in London. Judith, we will miss you very much.”

The AFM reports that musician revenues from recording in Los Angeles fell from $50m in 1998 to just $15.5m in 2013. That’s a 68% wipeout.

Where has the studio work gone?

London and, to a lesser degree, Eastern Europe. The report fails to mention Munich, also a competitive hub.


abbey road4