We hear that Lance Ryan (pictured) is out of this summer’s festival. His replacement is Stefan Vinke, as part of a widespread shakeout from a stumbling Ring production.

lance ryan


The Queen Elizabeth competition for violin was won last night at midnight by a Korean, Lim Ji Young, 20.

She receives  25,000 euros ($27,470) and a four-year loan of a 1708 Stradivarius from the Nippon Music Foundation.

Second was Oleksii Semenenko of Ukraine and third William Hagen of the USA.

Our contacts in the jury room say the judging was fair, according the rules.

But they may have stuck too closely to the rules, picking a safe and correct player above talents of greater potential.

Stephen Waarts of San Francisco, who came fifth, brought the house down with his final Bartok performance and walked off unusually with both audience prizes, French and Flemish (there’s not much the two halves of Belgium can ever agree upon).

So, why didn’t he win?

stephen waarts

UPDATE: Here’s a eyewitness account from Ariane Todes and a further Belgian report on an ‘enorme confusion‘ in announcing the awards.

Not everything is coming up roses in Buffalo.

The excellent Buffalo News reports the dismissal and imminent law case of principal oboist Pierre Roy, who has been accused, among other offences, of playing flat in the Buffalo Philharmonic to disrupt some of his less friendly colleagues.

Read the full story here.

pierre roy oboe


The Buffalo Philharmonic have renewed JoAnn Falletta to 2021. She has served as music director since 1999, the longest term in the orch’s history. She is also music director in Virgina, and served a brief term in Ulster.

press release:


BUFFALO, NY – JoAnn Falletta will remain at the helm of the Buffalo Philharmonic for another six years.


Falletta, already the longest-tenured Music Director in the history of the Buffalo Philharmonic, received a contract extension that was formally announced at the final concert of the BPO’s 2014-15 M&T Bank Classics Season on May 30.


Since Falletta came to the BPO in 1999, she has revitalized the orchestra’s recording program, establishing a house label, Beau Fleuve, and working with the international classical music giant Naxos to release 32 CDs. She has taken the orchestra to Carnegie Hall twice, mounted two multi-city tours of Florida with a third in the works, and led the orchestra in performances in Saratoga Springs and Utica, with a performance at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake planned for this summer.


The orchestra has performed multiple world premieres under her direction, including several pieces commissioned for the BPO and its musicians. A champion of the music of our times, she has earned several ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming. The orchestra’s performances are heard nationwide on the syndicated “Performance Today” program, and their CDs are played on classical stations all over the world. With her leadership, the orchestra received its first Grammy Award for their 2009 recording of John Corigliano’s “Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan.”


Through partnerships with colleges, universities, museums, and dance and theater companies, Falletta has integrated the orchestra into the Western New York community to an unprecedented degree. The orchestra worked with Irish Classical Theatre Company and LehrerDance this fall to present Moliere’s play “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme” with Richard Strauss’ music. The Charles Ives festival incorporated dance, music, art and literature and took place at the Burchfield Penney Art Gallery, Buffalo and Erie County Library, and University at Buffalo. The orchestra performs annually at Canisius College and at UB, and worked with the Albright-Knox, Burchfield Penney and Darwin Martin House to feature images from their collections on the covers of a series of CDs. In 2012, she worked with UB to bring poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko to Buffalo for readings and for a performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, “Babi Yar,” which was inspired by his works.


Falletta is based in Buffalo, and also serves as the Music Director of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center. She is an in-demand guest conductor, and has led orchestras in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America as well as throughout the United States. She has been awarded 12 honorary doctoral degrees and prestigious international conducting awards such as the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award and the Toscanini Award for Conducting.


“JoAnn Falletta has really taken the orchestra to the next level. Her vision and leadership have raised our profile both within the community and on a national level. She’s a tremendous asset, and we’re pleased that she will be remaining with us,” said Louis Ciminelli, BPO Board Chair. “The community has come to respect and trust her, the musicians have thrived artistically under her leadership, and the board and staff work extremely well with her. We couldn’t be happier to announce this piece of news.”


“I am truly happy to be able to spend another six years with the BPO in a city I have loved for 15 years,” said Falletta of her contract extension. “It is a dream situation for a conductor- a superb orchestra committed to excellence and to its community, an exemplary board, a visionary executive director and wonderful staff, dedicated volunteers, and an audience that encourages us to reach for the highest level of artistry and supports us with curiosity, open-mindedness and love. I look forward to continuing our artistic journey together!”


jo-ann falletta



We have reported the recent travails of the Leipzig Quartet, whose leader Stefan Arzberger has been detained in New York on a charge of attempted murder after being found running naked through a boutique hotel. Arzberger strenuously protests his innocence, insisting he was the victim of a drug assault by a transsexual prostitute.

The quartet have continued their work, strongly supported by the Leipzig music community. Two distinguished players have stepped up successively to replace Stefan in the hot seat. That, however, is not enough for some venues.

The Wigmore Hall has cancelled their forthcoming date, due to the change of personnel.

Matthias Moosdorf, cellist in the quartet, informs Slipped Disc:
While musicians support Stefan and our ensemble with great solidarity the director of Londons Wigmore Hall, John Gilhooly cancelled a concert in June because we are temporarely touring with Conrad Muck instead of Stefan Arzberger. Remarkable is his mail to our agent who wanted to assist him with any support:

Dear Ute,
Please stop emailing us: the decision to cancel is final.
You have broken the contract, and this correspondence is now closed.
No further correspondence will be read or responded to.

John Gilhooly


leipzig string quartet

A lock of Wolfi’s fetched £35,000 this week at Sotheby’s. A snipping of Ludwig’s made just £8k.

Scarcity value, presumably.

What would people be prepared to pay for baldie Bruckner?



A former orchestra manager of the Bavarian State Opera has been found guilty of selling marijuana and ecstasy pills. He pleaded guilty and admitted to smoking up to 15 joints a day ‘but never at work’. He claimed to have bought the drugs from stagehands.

The manager was dismissed from his job in November last year. Yesterday, he received a suspended sentence of 22 months. Under German law, the man has been named only as Daniel M.

boris godunov munich 2


In 2002, the great tenor came to the town of Correggio, near his home in Modena, to reopen its Teatro Comunale Bonifacio Asioli.

Luciano died five years later. Every year since, Corregio has awarded a Pavarotti d’Oro prize to perpetuate his memory.

Among the laureates are Leo Nucci, José Carreras, Andrea Bocelli, Mirella Freni, Raina Kabaivanska, Saimir Pirgu, Daniela Dessì and Fabio Armiliato.

The 2015 winner has just been announced: it’s the Italian soprano, Desirée Rancatore.



desiree rancatore

The pianist Peter Donohoe has stepped in at very short notice for Louis Schwizgebel to play the Ravel G major concerto this weekend in Leeds. The marketing people got swiftly into gear.

Here’s what happened next, in Peter’s own words:

After a tweet by my management company, retweeted by orchestra, chorus, and venue, in which Ravel’s Concerto in G minor was mentioned, the following exchange took place:

me: @PeterHDonohoe: @ikonarts @BBCPhilharmonic @LFChorus @LeedsTownHall Dear esteemed management company, Ravel’s Piano Concerto is in G major…..

At this point, the originator of the tweet, realising the mistake, took it down, and the chorus for the concert took over and tweeted:

@LFChorus: @PeterHDonohoe will perform Ravel piano concerto with @BBCPhilharmonic and @LFChorus at @LeedsTownHall on Saturday.

So far, so good. However, Ravel’s Concerto is properly entitled ‘Piano Concerto in G major’ or ‘Concerto in G’, which provoked me into tweeting:

@PeterHDonohoe: @LFChorus @BBCPhilharmonic @LeedsTownHall Don’t get it. The title is Concerto in G. Are we to hear Walton’s Belshazzar’s Bunfight in part 2?

[You see what I did there?…. Because we seemed to have a problem actually calling Ravel’s work by its proper name, I thought it would be a good wheeze to do something similar with Walton’s ‘Belshazzar’s Feast’. Clever, I thought.]

This was what came back:
@LFChorus: @PeterHDonohoe @BBCPhilharmonic @LeedsTownHall yes, Walton is after the interval.

Where would we be without social media? How did the world manage without it? What an asset to society it truly is.


Peter Donohoe  - English pianist, May 1993.

We’re delighted to report that the Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra is cancelling her winter 2015/16 global engagements in order to have her first baby.

Perfectly natural and unworthy of further comment except to wish Alondra all the best.

Well, just one comment: Ever since Andris Nelsons broke the mould and took paternity leave around the birth of his first child in 2011, we have not heard a further instance of a male conductor who asserted his family rights at childbirth.

They should. Let’s encourage them to do so.


At last year’s League of American Orchestras conference in Seattle, they put on a sexist rapper to entertain the delegates, many of whom declared that this was just what they’d always wanted from a symphony orchestra.

sir mixalot

At this year’s gathering, the Cleveland Orchestra with Franz Welser-Most performed the following programs:

1 Strauss: Daphne

2 Beethoven: Pastoral Symphony; Strauss: Symphonia Domestica

3 Messiaen Hymne, Chronochromie, followed by Dvorak 5th symphony.

Get the message? No frills, no spills, not even a star soloist. Just music at the highest possible level of execution, performed with passion, concentration and a sense of mission.

Get the message? Get serious about music, America.

The classical guitarist Berta Rojas, vastly popular on Youtube and a Latin Grammy winner, has called off a European tour after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. She writes: ‘Dear people, for health reasons I’ve had to cancel this week’s European tour. A few days ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer in an early stage, so I have begun the necessary medical treatment.’

We wish Berta a speedy recovery.

berta rojas