The ROH has announced:

Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva is forced to withdraw from the first four performances of La traviata on 18, 22, 25 and 28 May. She is suffering from postpartum-induced anaemia and has been ordered by her doctors to observe a period of complete rest and rehabilitation.

Latvian soprano >Marina Rebeka will now sing the role of Violetta Valéry for these performances, in addition to her scheduled performances on 6, 9, 11, 13, 15 and 17 June.

sonya yoncheva3

Sonya adds on her website: Ms Yoncheva is very sorry to miss these performances and to disappoint the London audiences but is looking forward to returning to the ROH later in the run.

Yoncheva’s baby son was born last October.

We have just updated the ultimate list with news of the retirement of June Shipper, after 52 years, from the second violins of the Waco Symphony Orchestra. Her first rehearsal was on the afternoon of President Kennedy’s assassination. We wish June a long and happy retirement.

june shipper

Just in from the Hanover Band:


The Battle of Waterloo 1815 orchestral project

Six live performances including the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, and Marches and Fanfares from his ‘Wellington’s Victory’

Central to Caroline Brown’s vision is imparting the expertise of the Band’s current players to young musicians in schools and youth orchestras, introducing them to authentic early music, and enabling them to perform with this country’s leading exponents in this field.

250 young musicians, aged 9 to 18 years, from Hampshire, West Sussex County Youth Orchestras, Chichester University Chamber Orchestra, Brighton Youth Orchestra, Enfield Concert Orchestra, Crown Woods Academy Eltham, will play, in relays, in six performances with the full Hanover Band at St Pancras International.





Er, yes…. but that’s the wrong station. Even ABBA know that.


Backstage in New York last night, apparently.

miley cyrus charlie siem

The audition winner was male model Charlie Siem.

Mervyn Burtch, composer of six operas for a mix of young performers and professional musicians, died on Tuesday at the age of 86. He lived his whole life in the Rhymney Valley, Wales, but developed a close relationship with Canada’s Banff Centre. His most successful work, The Raven King (1999), was staged in Canada (Banff), South Africa, Wales, Germany, Ireland and Mexico.


This morning, Laura Marzadori completed her probationary six months at La Scala and was confirmed as the new concertmaster – a post she will share with Francesco Manara and Francesco de Angelis.

Laura, who studied in Bologna and Cremona, is just 26.


laura marzadori


She is not the first woman in the front seat. That glass ceiling was shattered in the late 1970s by the Argentine-Italian violinist Anahi Carfi, who was briefly married to the conductor Riccardo Chailly and left in the 1980s.

Things have gone very quiet on the Kennedy front since he parted company with his manager last summer.

Kennedy, 58, went on to sign with Lang Lang’s US agency CAMI Music, but appears to have got lost in transition. He does not appear on their front page of favoured artists and has not regained his footing on the US circuit.

He has also fallen out, we hear, with members of his Polish band. His classical bridges have fallen, one by one.

(Which may be why things have gone so quiet.)

The news this morning is that he has set up a small Jimi Hendrix UK tour with a new, small band:  13 September Cambridge Corn Exchange; 14 September Oxford New Theatre; 16 September London Royal Festival Hall.

nigel kennedy bbc proms




Angry tweets are still buzzing about the violinist on the crashed Amtrak train who appeared to care more about the fate of her instrument than for the blood on the tracks.

Trouble is, Jennifer Kim is a common name and there are several violinists who got a terrible shock at being twitter-bombed. They are having to reassure friends and family that they have nothing to do with ‘that’ Jennifer Kim.

One, for instance, plays in a Minnesota youth orchestra, another teaches at UC Davis, a third studies viola at Peabody, a fourth is a member of the US national youth orchestra. And there are more, quite a few more, across the US music spectrum. These Jennifers are caught in crossfire and deserve our sympathy and support.

For the avoidance of confusion, the ‘Amtrak’ Jennifer Kim is a violinist in the Washington Opera orchestra and an alternate in the National Symphony Orchestra. She, too, deserves our professional and human solidarity for the unforseen consequences of her distressed reaction to the disaster. The public shaming must stop.

jennifer kim

Ben Morfitt, 24, spent a month in his Willerby bedroom, near Hull, Yorks, digitising a full orchestra in which he plays all 70 parts.


Here’s how: ‘I filmed the empty hall at Albemarle, but apart from that it was filmed in my bedroom… There were times I went wrong, so it had to be recorded again. There were a few times when my cat came into the shot when I was recording.’

Here’s why: ‘I’ve had the idea of a one-man orchestra for years but haven’t been good enough with the instruments until now.’

one man orchestra

He has two other jobs as music director of Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and of the Bolshoi Theatre.  But Tugan Sokhiev has just renewed his contract with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse until 2019, and perhaps beyond. He has been with the orchestra since 2005, and music drector since 2008.

He is currently conducting Prokofiev’s Betrothal in a Monastery at the Théâtre du Capitole.