… Sir Simon Rattle, in recognition of his ‘indefatigable’ performances of the Finnish composer’s works with the Berlin Philharmonic.

rattle sibelius medal

The award was made by the Jean ibelius Society of Finland and presented by the Finnish ambassador in Berlin, Päivi Luostarinen.

A forthcoming biography from Yale University Press makes the provocative observation that the great composer suffered from a form of autism. It’s an interesting angle, not altogether far-fetched, but you wonder whether a professor of music and technology is best equipped to make a defensible medical diagnosis at a distance of seven decades. We await the evidence with some anxiety.

Book and author blurb below.


bartok biog

This deeply researched biography of Bela Bartok (1881-1945) provides a more comprehensive view of the innovative Hungarian musician than ever before. David Cooper traces Bartok’s international career as an ardent ethno-musicologist and composer, teacher, and pianist, while also providing a detailed discussion of most of his works. Further, the author explores how Europe’s political and cultural tumult affected Bartok’s work, travel, and reluctant emigration to the safety of America in his final years. Cooper illuminates Bartok’s personal life and relationships, while also expanding what is known about the influence of other musicians-Richard Strauss, Zoltan Kodaly, and Yehudi Menuhin, among many others. The author also looks closely at some of the composer’s actions and behaviors which may have been manifestations of Asperger syndrome. The book, in short, is a consummate biography of an internationally admired musician.

David Cooper is professor of music and technology, and dean of the Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications, University of Leeds. His publications include Bela Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra and numerous chapters and articles on aspects of Bartok’s life and works. The author lives in Liversedge, UK.



Complete the quotation as you see fit.

It headlines a lovely profile of Mahan Esfahani in today’s Independent newspaper.

And since these things tend to come in threes, we’ve just received two immortal classics of a pianist who slams it.

Check this

and this (especially at 3:52)

He’ll go far.

neill eisenstein
h/t: Zsolt Bognar 

Julien Beaudiment has decided to leave the Los Angeles Philharmonic later this year ‘for personal reasons’ and return to France.

He has assured friends that the reasons are wholly private, and nothing to do with his relationships with or within the orchestra, which have been excellent.

He is the fifth principal flute to leave LA in nine years, an unusually high turnover. C K Dexter has the full story here.



The LA Phil is currently advertising auditions for associate principal horn and principal flute.

We regret to share news of the death of Aldo Ciccolini, the French-Italian pianist who commanded classical repertoire on EMI in the 1960s and 70s. A Neapolitan of aristocratic family, he was reduced to playing in bars after the War until a 1949 Long-Thibaud competition win in Paris turned his life around.

He specialised first in the romantic repertoire of Saint-Saens, before covering most other French composers. Satie was a personal favourite.

Walter Legge engaged him as accompanist to Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and he went on to record the complete sonatas of Beethoven and Mozart for EMI. An excellent teacher, his students included Thibaudet, Angelich, Pizarro and Libetta.

He was a byword for elegance, a pianist of the golden age.

ciccolini EMI