Major soloist cancels next few months ‘with exhaustion’

Major soloist cancels next few months ‘with exhaustion’


norman lebrecht

January 22, 2015

The Norwegian trumpet virtuoso Tine Thing Helseth has abruptly pulled out of a North America tour. Promoters have been told she has ‘cancelled all her concerts for the next few months because of exhaustion.’

There is no mention of this on her site, or her agency’s. In her last tweet, two weeks ago, she was looking forward to the US tour.

Tine, 27, shot to fame with stunning tone and an appealing personality. We wish her a swift recovery.

tie thing helseth

UPDATE: Tine had posted this on her Facebook page:


Hi everyone,
Some of you may have seen that I’ve had to cancel my concerts for the next few months. On my Doctor’s orders I have been advised to take some time off. I had really been looking forward to these concerts and this is not a decision I’ve taken lightly. I’m hoping to be back soon.
Thanks so much to those who have expressed concern about my well-being! It really means a lot to me to know that I have your support.
All the best
Tine x


  • Malcolm James says:

    Cancelling for ‘the next few months’ might seem a bit extreme if she’s simply been burning the candle at both ends and has found that, even in your 20s, the body is not indestructible. Maybe she’s taking a ‘sabbatical’ as well, but I hope this isn’t hiding a more serious problem.

  • william osborne says:

    People like Tine Thing Helseth, Alison Balsam, Susan Slaughter, Karin Bliznik, and others
    make it notable that there has never been a woman professor of trumpet in the history of Germany? Or at least the last time I checked. Any new hires who are women professors (not just adjunct Dozenten, as they are called in Germany? (There’s a woman who teaches in an part time position in Aachen, a branch of the Cologne Conservatory, but she is a transgender person who was a man when she was hired.)

    A woman who is first trumpet in a major German opera house applied for a trumpet professorship at the conservatory in Germany where my wife teaches. One of the brass teachers at the school wrote a letter to the entire faculty Senate and said she was just a “quota woman and a fig leaf for the equal treatment laws.” (Not long afterwards a woman was appointed Rektor (Dean) and things improved.)

    Tine has a brass ensemble comprised of ten Norwegian women brass players who tour the world. Here’s a Youtube video about them:

    Women’s brass ensembles have become fairly common. Are there any in Germany?

    • Christian says:

      Wow. A women at 27 has cancelled all concerts for six months and all you can bring is your gender-wishy-washy. Impressive.

      All the best for mrs. Helseth.

      • william osborne says:

        Name one all-woman brass ensemble in Germany with the profile of Tine’s group and then we’ll talk about whether the theme is important. Actually, Germany’s population is about 40 times larger than Norway’s, so maybe you should name several groups. Or are there none at all?

        • william osborne says:

          Whoops. That should be 16 times the population.

        • Anon says:

          Isn’t an all-women brass ensemble discriminatory against men?

          • william osborne says:

            Yes. The thinking is that these ensembles serve an advocacy function and will eventually make themselves obsolete, just as women’s orchestras have. Women brass players, outside of hornists, represent only about 1 to 3% of the brass positions in top orchestras.

            I’ve noticed that the International Women’s Brass Conference has always invited men as soloists and clinicians, while the m/f ratio for soloists at the International Trombone Festival in Paris in 2013 was 48 to 0. Funny how no one calls them men’s festivals.

            I’ve noticed that the USA, UK, and Scandinavia have quite a few women brass players in prominent positions (at least relatively) — e.g. even the tubist in the Philadelphia Orchestra — and that there are prominent women’s brass groups in these regions. On the other hand women in top positions and women’s brass groups are rare in Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy (among other countries.) What accounts for these differences?

            Why would Germany apparently not have any women’s brass groups even though the advocacy is needed, and even though it spends far more on classical music than any other country in the world? Why are the only women trumpet and trombone professors in the history of Germany all foreigners? And why do concerns like these meet with such hostility?

        • Christian says:

          Three comments, and not a word about ms Helseth’s recovery – just gender, gender and gender (even if you were totally wrong about the German professorships.) Reminds me of Churchill’s definition of a fanatic (you must have heard it before):

          “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

          • william osborne says:

            The fanatic here is someone who can’t bear an interesting and worthwhile subject being raised.

        • Gerhard says:

          Is it not so that brass ensembles like any other ensemble are usually founded by their members and not by their country?
          Best wishes to Ms. Helseth!

    • Max Grimm says:

      I don’t know when you checked but the Wuppertal department of the Cologne University of Music had a full-time woman trumpet professor from 2004 until her death in 2012 and Prof. Laura Vukobratović teaches full-time at the Folkwang University of Arts (and she’s not transgender nor has she undergone gender reassignment surgery).

  • Geoff Radnor: says:

    I was hoping to to go to the first of her concerts in Ottawa next week. The other was also the first of the National Art Centre Orchestra’s Friendly Friday concerts. A fresh approach to attracting a younger crowd. We are having to settle for two seasons of Vivaldi’s Four.

  • Geoff Radnor: says:

    It is particularly sad for the students at the 125 year-old Crane School of Music of SUNY in Potdam NY where, two days before her concerts in Canada, she was to give a masterclass there. And Potsdam NY is many miles away from New York City, in fact it would be difficult to further away and still be in the state of NY.
    Lets hope Tine gets better very soon.

    • CDH says:

      Me, too — it was my first choice from the programme when the season was announced a year ago. And I had set up to attend her Master Class at U of Ottawa.

      Don’t like “exhaustion.” Fishy.

      And the absence of a note on her website is irritating. She resurfaces in May, apparently, when she will not be tired any more.

      Grouchy, I know. But it is all very fishy.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    You are very high on the ladder when you can cancel your work commitments for the reason of exhaustion. It seems to be a malady that preys mainly on celebrities with publicists.

    “Exhaustion” is what they used to call “nervous breakdown”, I believe, but “nervous breakdown” was not a real medical term either. “Exhaustion” is an intentionally vague label of whatever is actually wrong.

    • Max Grimm says:

      If someone like Valery Gergiev with his schedule cancelled concerts due to exhaustion, I’d absolutely believe it.

  • Janis says:

    Well, William, Malcolm, Max, Geoff, Christian, Gerhard, and Robert, when a 27-year-old woman takes time off for “a few months,” does it never penetrate your imaginations that she might simply be pregnant? Some very few women soloists don’t mind if that becomes well known; I’m thinking of Rachel Barton Pine and Zoe Keating’s quite open acknowledgement of touring with their entire family.

    But many more women soloists are rightly concerned that it will impact their hireability in the eyes of the mostly middle-aged male farts who run the classical concert world, and who might think things like, “Well, she’s obviously not going to be committed to her career anymore,” or whatever nonsense.

    Do you people live on some special planet where humans grow from pods or something? JEEZ.

    Ultimately, we have no idea what this is, and even considering my comment above, it still could be anything. There are a zillion medical issues in this world, and a zillion valid reasons why someone might want to keep the fine details of them private.

    • Gerhard says:

      You write quite correctly: “Ultimately, we have no idea what it is, and even considering my comment above, it still could be anything.” Of course it has “penetrated my imagination” that Ms. Helseth might be pregnant. But as long as she doesn’t state this herself, it is certainly not my business to publicly speculate about this possibility, nor should it be yours for that matter. But to use this speculation as an excuse to make agressive remarks really adds a strange touch to your post.

    • Christian says:

      No penetration has happened neither here nor there, she is not pregnant, as the original post from Ottawa could tell us a few days ago, now confirmed:

    • Robert Holmén says:

      Cancelling due to “exhaustion” rather than “pregnancy” is somehow more appealing and empowering?

  • Anonymous says:

    The baseless speculation that has abounded on this blog, even from her “defenders” has nauseated me and has shown every reason why cancellations like these are kept as privately as possible. As a musician, I’m appalled by what I am reading here.

  • Richard Boothby says:

    I played in a concert with her in December, and she seemed very well, not at all pregnant, and played beautifully. It is possible to be tired when you have such a high-profile and demanding career. I hope she recovers soon.