The actor Alec Baldwin joked at a New York fundraiser this week that he wanted to name his baby-on-the-way after the late music director of the New York Philharmonic.

According to Page Six.

young lorin maazel

Alice Coote’s thoughtful, irreverent, mind-and-body bending dissertation this week on performing out of your given gender is essential reading for everyone who sings mezzo, has dealings with mezzos, or is thinking of asking one out on a date.

It requires maximum suspension of certainties. If you haven’t read it already, do so here.


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Teaser text:

And at the end of the day at least I can take my costume off and return to the certainty of myself and my own gender… Or can I? And which part of myself am I returning to? There have, I confess, been several occasions over the years when come tea break I have walked out of the rehearsal room straight into the men’s toilets. For the record I have immediately scuttled out blushing and shocked into reality when I am confronted by the apparatus on the walls. But it’s confusing …

A a 17 year-old Korean, Yubeen Kim, blew everyone away at last December’s Geneva flute competition, but the judges lacked the courage to give him outright first prize.

No such doubts in Prague today, where he stormed to victory.

Bookmark that name. Yubeen Kim.

yubeen prague


Crisis at Dutch National Opera after Fabio Luisi pulled out of the season’s last big show on June 1, ‘due to private family reasons’.

Not many conductors have the complete three-act Lulu under their fingers and are free at short notice. The show is a co-pro with the Met.

Luckily Lothar Zagrosek, who has conducted the work at Stuttgart, was around to answer the call.

Panic over.

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The Russian conductor committed himself this morning to leading around a dozen of the orchestra’s 35 programmes in their first season together. Speaking in Munich, he said he was looking for ‘the best combination’ of German music and Russian tradition.

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UPDATE: Gergiev’s full statement, published by the Munich Phil:

„Munich is an important cultural and artistic center and the role of the Munich Philharmonic was always very important here. The City of Munich has a very generous atmosphere and a rich musical life. Munich’s flagship cultural institutions are the State Opera, BR Symphony Orchestra and Munich Philharmonic, making Munich a sucessfull diverse and rich cultural metropolis.“

„I have a long friendship with the Munich Philharmonic, we performed our first concerts together back in 2001. But I vividly remember our first ‘spark’ this magic moment, it was when we did the Shostakovich cycle. What I like about the orchestra is the tradition and warmth and I look forward to working together with this great orchestra and bringing together german music with russian tradition.“

„The uniqueness of this orchestra lies in the sound quality. This orchestra has kept its extraordinary sound, its own voice.“

„It’s clear that the orchestra is more than focused powerful, strong and sensitive. There are fewer and fewer orchestras that have kept their sonority. And this orchestra has succeeded, it has its own vioce and colors.“

Paul Pelkonen has the first review from last night’s Philadelphia concert:

At the start of the second half, Mr. Nézet-Séguin prepared to give the downbeat for the first solemn notes of the Symphony No. 3 by Serge Rachmaninoff. Then, stragglers entered Stern Auditorium, making for their seats. He stopped, turned, and regarded them for a moment. Then, he sat down on the side of the podium, knees drawn under his chin like a little boy on the stairs. As the latecomers trickled in, the audience muttered, murmured, laughed and applauded his decision. He stood up, looked behind him and sat down on the other side of the podium. Finally, he rose and got to work. As the first notes played, two more people tottered to their seats.

Those notes were worth the wait.

Read the full review here.

yannick carnegie


Bonhams have quit the instrument business after this week’s auction, where the top item was a 1700-ish Maggini (pictured).

Bonhams rank third in London instrument sales, but the general auction houses are facing pressure from online sales by Beare’s, Tarisio and other specialist dealers.

Philip Scott, the instrument buyer who is leaving Bonhams, should have no difficulty in finding an alternative post.


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He’s the leader of the new Finnish pack, a dazzling baton with schoolboy looks and a host of international engagements. We’re not sure this latest gig does much for the career of  Santtu-Matias Rovali, 29.

He has lent himself to a fashion photoshoot at the Sibelius shrine of Ainola, apparently simluating the composer’s daily life. Full story in the Helsingin Sanomat.

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Just lounging around, as composers do.


Mucking around at the piano.


And so to bed.

David Hare, the Labour-loyal playwright who loves getting under the skin of British institutions, is writing a play about the birth of Glyndebourne, opera festival for the dressed-up elite. Should be fun.


The play relates how a wealthy landowner built a stage for his wife, The Moderate Soprano. More here.


The Carl Orff-Stiftung has issued a rapid response to the announcement by the Kloster Andechs festival that it was closing down because of restrictive meddling by the Orff copyright owners. The foundation says, in brief, that it refutes the Kloster Andechs version and has always respected artistic freedom. ‘We thought negotiations were continuing,’ it bleats.

The negotiations have been running for ten years. No wonder the festival got p*ssed Orff.


Auf Deutsch:

Die Carl Orff-Stiftung weist die vom Kloster Andechs erhobenen Vorwürfe entschieden zurück. Sie hat die künstlerische Freiheit stets respektiert und niemals Zensur ausgeübt. Zu keinem Zeitpunkt hat sie mit einem juristischen Vorgehen gedroht.

Die Stiftung hat gerade heute in ihrer Sitzung über die Fortführung der Finanzierung der Carl Orff-Festspiele für das Jahr 2016 beraten. 

Über die einseitige Entscheidung des Klosters, die Carl Orff-Festspiele zu beenden und über den Termin der Pressekonferenz wurde die Stiftung nicht informiert. Wohl mehr als eine Stilfrage? – Für die Carl Orff-Stiftung war der Gesprächsprozeß noch längst nicht abgeschlossen. 

katherine jenkins horses

Oh, dear.

Katherine Jenkins keeps hitting wrong notes in the National Anthem

A ten year dispute between the Carl Orff Foundation and the Kloster Andechs festival which performs ildly updated versions of his work has ended with the festival being cancelled after this summer.

Orff is buried in the church at Kloster Andechs. The stage director Marcus Everding says he was buried twice – once in the church and a second time by the Foundation.

The foundation is headed by a slavishly loyal ex-Orff pupil, Wilfried Hiller.

Read here (auf Deutsch). And Update here (in English).