Our friend Melinda Hughes has been spoofing it up and down the Royal Opera House. Enjoy.

melinda hughes

We are informed that David Dubal – pianist, author, broadcaster and confidant of Vladimir Horowitz – has been sacked by Manhattan School of Music, where he taught for more than two decades. No reason was given and there is no suspicion whatsoever of discreditable conduct on Mr Dubal’s part. Mr Dubal, 70, has confirmed his dismissal to a Slipped Disc contact, who writes:

david dubal
During my years as a piano student at Manhattan School, he was a truly great inspiration – not only to me – but to many of us young, struggling pianists trying to carve out our musical destinies. Being well-connected, he would very frequently invite many of us to perform for the elite of New York City, as well as for his classes at Juilliard School (where he was also on faculty). He would tirelessly write recommendations, make phone calls, and devote his time giving extra lessons/coaching for us – all at  no charge.

His support of young artists goes back decades – when teaching at Juilliard in the 80’s he would frequently arrange lessons for students he believed in with Vladimir Horowitz. During many rough patches in my college years (rejection from competitions, financial troubles – things that every young artist will face), Mr. Dubal was the ear that could ALWAYS be counted on. I think, for all of us – he was the one true authority figure in the piano world of New York City who us students could still call a friend AND colleague – able to offer sympathy from the other side of the table. Never for him was the politics, games, and antics of the regular New York City Piano Teacher.

As of last fall, Mr. Dubal was fired – without reason given – from the Manhattan School. This was confirmed by him to me in a phone message this morning. I knew he had left, but did know the reason.

However, I am simply too angry – not only for myself and for him – but for the sake of all the young pianists studying at Manhattan School who will not have access to Mr. Dubal’s brilliant and witty teaching, introduction to great pianists, stories about great artists, etc. Dubal was among my chief NYC experiences, and he paved professional connections for me (and many, many, many, many others), out of nothing more than sympathy and desire to help in the career of the struggling artist (which few of our actual teachers every do). I feel that this injustice should at least be made known publicly

The incident calls to mind the dismissal by Northwestern University, also without explanation, of viola professor Roland Vamos. Apparently college boards are under no obligation – either to teachers, or to fee-paying students – to provide continuity of tuition through the college year.

A customer survey at the Pittsburgh Symphony (conductor Manfred Honeck) reveals alarming tendencies.

Only 57 percent of seats at the main classical series in Heinz Hall were filled by paying customers. And many who attended were dissatisfied with the programmes, the ambience, the ritual. One said: ‘Too boring, too many old stuffy people… The last time I attended the symphony it was a total drag.’

According to market research commissioned by the worries orchestra: ‘the PSO is valued for its musical expertise, esteemed international reputation and position as a part of Pittsburgh’s identity… but its core offering — classical music — is swiftly losing its audience.’

How can it possibly reconcile those polar opposites? Post-Gazette report here.


pittsburgh halls

A violinist and PhD student from Weimar is in mourning for her stepfather who flew out to see her lead a samba school in the Rio de Janeiro carnival. A street gang attacked him for his valuables as the parade went by. When the tourist fought back, he was stabbed to death.

The unfortunate man was a professional specialist in conflict resolution.

Rio is notorious for violent street crime. The privacy of the victim and his family are being protected.

Story here and here.

carnival mask

Robert Genualdi, music director of  the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras in Connecticut for three decades, has died aged 84.

He also appeared frequently with the New Haven and Greenwich symphony orchestras.



His successor Chris Hisey writes:

Bob along with his wife, Dorothy Straub are responsible for the music education scene in this part of the country. Bob, who studied at Northwestern University as a bassist, educator and conductor, started his career teaching band and orchestra in the public schools. In the late 70s he became the Music Director of the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras, a post he would hold for more than 30 years. He was a major influence in the lives of hundreds of young musicians, and played a major role in the musician and educator I am today. In addition to his role with the youth orchestras he served as the head master for both Staples High School and Fairfield High School and at one point served as head master to both schools simultaneously. To give you a further sense of his dedication to children and the teaching of the art of music, he taught private lessons, free of charge to those who could not afford to pay, on any instrument with which they needed help.

This may be a precedent.

Jazz king Wynton Marsalis has pulled his musicians out of this weekend’s concerts with the Simon Bolivar orchestra in Caracas, citing political differences.

Jazz, he told AP, ‘is a powerful tool to bring people across cultures and geographies together. But it’s important that it’s performed in conditions when the music can be heard. Intentionally or otherwise, if our performances there and the work that we were doing with them there was to become politicized those conditions no longer exist. And that could be harmful to both of our institutions.’

Last week, Venezuelan president Maduro imposed new visa restraints on US citizens. Although Marsalis and his Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra members were provided with visas, they decided that worsening political and economic conditions in Caracas were not conducive to music.



The American rapper Jay Z has agreed to pay half the royalties from his song ‘Versus’ to a veteran Swiss musician, Bruno Spoerri.

It appears that portions of a Spoerri sample track were mixed into the song.

When the incident was discovered 15 months ago, Spoerri said: ‘In a way I’m flattered that a relatively young rapper takes a sample from an old man, a sample that is about 35 years old.’

Spoerri, 78, is a founder of the Swiss Centre for Computer Music and its former co-director.

Here’s Spoerri’s track (which has gone modestly viral with 100,000 views):

And Jay Z’s take on it: