The headline quote belongs to Georg Solti.

Martha Argerich calls her ‘the female pianist I like the best’.

Sviatoslav Richter recognised her as ‘a great artist imbued with a spirit of greatness and genuine profundity.’

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It is 20 years to the day since the death of Annie Fischer.

‘I never meant to start a war’

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The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra has announced it will honour its June concerts with Valentina Lisitsa, despite her cancellation by Toronto over her pro-Kremlin political views.

‘We decided it was the best choice to continue,’ a spokesperson said. More here.

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Adelaide has got bold.

It has named a man of 29 as the next principal conductor of its symphony orchestra.

And it has shouted out that no Australian orchestra has dared to appoint a local chief in three decades.

Nicholas Carter has been assistant to music director Simone Young at the Hamburg State Opera and now lives in Berlin, where he is kapellmeister at the Deutsche Oper.

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He says: ‘I think my appointment comes at a really interesting time in the musical and cultural landscape in Australia and throughout the world, where orchestras and other cultural organisations are trying to redefine their relevance in the world in the 21st century.’

Katy Clark, Welsh-born president of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, has been named president of Brooklyn Academy of Music. Originally from Swansea, Katy read history at Jesus College, Cambridge, and took a certificate in arts management at Birbeck College, London, while playing five years in the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

At St Luke’s she appointed Pablo Heras-Casado as principal conductor and launched Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s and St. Luke’s Subway Series.


She says: ‘BAM has always been fearless in the creation and presentation of art, for the borough of Brooklyn, the city of New York, and audiences around the world.’

With Clive Gillinson at Carnegie Hall, Clark at BAM, Graham Parker at WQXR and Thomas P Campbell at the Metropolitan Museum, it looks like New York is back under Brit rule.


No edition in music is ever complete.

This Saturday in Helsinki, the YL Male Choir will premiere two pieces by Sibelius. The scores have been found on a sheep farm belonging to a family called Rautavaara.

Apparently they were given by Sibelius to one of the authors of Finland’s declaration of independence. One score is the original, longer version of “Terve Kuu!”, written in 1901. The other is “Suomenmaa” (1898) a melody re-used by Sibelius in Op. 28. Nobody seems to have known of their existence.

Report here (in Finnish).

h/t: Joel Valkila

Sean Chen, who came third in the 2013 Van Cliburn Competition, has been awarded $100k by the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund.

He was the first American artist to reach the finals in 16 years.


press release:

TORONTO, April 8, 2015  PEN Canada deeply regrets the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s decision to cancel the April 8–9 appearances of Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa due to a controversy over her political views on the conflict in the Ukraine.

“Ms. Lisitsa’s politics have nothing whatsoever to do with the TSO or her music,” said Philip Slayton, President of PEN. “It is a grave error of judgment, deeply contrary to freedom of expression, to cancel Ms. Lisitsa’s performances because her views may offend some.” Slayton called on the TSO to apologize to Lisitsa and reschedule her performances.

According to media reports, Ms. Lisitsa’s online statements have outraged members of the Ukrainian-Canadian community, and her tweets about the current Ukrainian government have included comparisons with Nazi Germany. Ms. Lisitsa has said that the TSO offered to pay her entire fee for the cancelled shows but pressured her not to disclose the reason for their decision. “If they do it once, they will do it again and again, until the musicians, artists are intimidated into voluntary censorship,” she wrote.

PEN Canada is a nonpartisan organization of writers that works with others to defend freedom of expression as a basic human right at home and abroad. EN Canada promotes literature, fights censorship, helps free persecuted writers from prison, and assists writers living in exile in Canada. PEN Canada is the Canadian centre of PEN International, a community of writers that operates on five continents and in over 100 countries.

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A memorial concert at Berlin’s Haus des Rundfunks on Sunday will mark what would have been the 80th birthday year of Peter Ronnefeld, one of the most dazzling musical talents of his time. Peter was just 30 when he died of cancer in August 1965.

His ascent had been dazzling. Chief conductor in Bonn at 26 and Generalmusikdirektor in Kiel two years later, he was getting offers from all the best orchestras. Herbert von Karajan had been among the first to spot his gift, engaging him as repetiteur at the Vienna Opera in 1958. Nikolaus Harnoncourt employed him as harpsichordist in the Concentus Musicus Wien.

An avid composer, Ronnefeld premiered works by Zimmermann, Isang Yun and other trailblazers. He conducted a Mozart evening with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Karl Böhm said: ‘this young man could be the next Karajan.’

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photo: Minna Ronnefeld

In the summer of 1965, Ronnefeld was rehearsing a new work by Aribert Reimann when cancer was diagnosed; he was dead within weeks, leaving a widow and six year-old son.

A selection of Ronnefeld’s works, published by Ricordi and UE, will be performed on Sunday by a youth orchestra, the veteran Berlin Philharmonic cellist Wolfgang Böttcher and the singer Anne Steffens.


It’s being reported that the new concert hall will be shut down for two months in summer in order to adjust many of the shortcomings that were apparent at its over-hasty opening in January. Concerts are being shifted over July and August to the nearby Cité de la Musique.

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The tough times that Staatsoper director Dominque Meyer has predicted are kicking in. The 2015/6 season, announced this morning contains just five new opera productions, plus a commissioned children’s opera.

The season’s repertoire, however, remains huge. It comprises 54 operas across four centuries, certainly the largest of any leading opera house.


Details below.

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2015/2016 season:

Giuseppe Verdi: Macbeth (4th October 2015 – C: Alain Altinoglu; D: Christian Räth; with Ludovic Tézier, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Tatiana Serjan, Jorge de León);

Engelbert Humperdinck: Hänsel und Gretel (19th November 2015 – C: Christian Thielemann; D: Adrian Noble; with Adrian Eröd, Janina Baechle, Daniela Sindram, Chen Reiss, Michaela Schuster, Annika Gerhards);

Leoš Janáček: Věc Makropulos (first performance at the Wiener Staatsoper on 13th December 2015 – C: Jakub Hrůša; D: Peter Stein; with Laura Aikin, Rainer Trost, Margarita Gritskova, Markus Marquardt, Norbert Ernst, Wolfgang Bankl, Heinz Zednik);

Péter Eötvös: Tri Sestri (first performance at the Wiener Staatsoper on 6th March 2016 – C: Péter Eötvös; D: Yuval Sharon; with Olga Bezsmertna, Margarita Gritskova, Ilseyar Khayrullova, Eric Jurenas, Boaz Daniel, Paolo Rumetz);

Giacomo Puccini: Turandot (28th April 2016 – C: Gustavo Dudamel; D: Marco Arturo Marelli; with Lise Lindstrom, Johan Botha, Anita Hartig, Heinz Zednik, Dan Paul Dumitrescu);

Johanna Doderer: Fatima, oder von den mutigen Kindern (world première of the children’s opera commissioned by the Wiener Staatsoper on 23rd December 2015; C: Benjamin Bayl, D: Henry Mason)

He’s conducting Turandot next season, it has just been announced.

Close observers will note that the Venezuelan conductor has resisted persistent approaches from the Met.


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