The Royal Albert Hall has tweeted that ‘tonight’s concert has been cancelled due to Tony Bennett being taken ill’.

This would have been his second concert in an extended ‘Cheek to Cheeky’ tour with Lady Gaga. Fans in and around the hall were told of the cancellation half an hour before the concert was to begin.

bennett gaga

We wish the veteran crooner a swift recovery.


UPDATE: ‘Unfortunately, Tony Bennett has come down with a flu virus which has prevented him from performing the second of two sold-out shows in London,’ says a statement from Bennett’s people. ‘Ticket holders are instructed to retain their tickets to this event pending more information.  Fans who have purchased tickets online will be notified via the ticket outlets as soon as additional information is available.’

The Amati “King” cello, the earliest of its kind, will go on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from June 11.

It is on special loan to the Met from the National Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota.

King Cello Teaser

press release:

Location: The André Mertens Galleries for Musical Instruments, Gallery 684
Dates: June 11—September 8, 2015

(New York, June 8, 2015)—The Amati “King” cello, one of the world’s most renowned musical instruments and the earliest surviving bass instrument of the violin family, will be on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning June 11. Built in the mid-16th century by Andrea Amati (ca. 1505-1577), the founding master of the great violin-making tradition in Cremona, Italy, it is on special loan to the Met from the National Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota.

The “King” cello’s name refers to its royal commissioning. One of a set of 38 stringed instruments made for the Valois court, it is painted and gilded with the royal emblems and mottoes of King Charles IX of France (d. 1574), son of Catherine de’ Medici. Gilded letters spell the word “PIETATE” (“piety”) on the bass side and “IVSTICIA” (“justice”) on the treble side of the instrument. The letter “K” in the center rib signifies “Karolus,” or Charles IX.

At the Metropolitan Museum, the cello is the centerpiece of an installation that honors the innovative craftsmanship of Andrea Amati, his sons, and grandsons, who directly influenced the work of Antonio Stradivari and other renowned stringed-instrument makers. On view with the “King” cello are two additional instruments by Andrea Amati: an early viola on loan from the Sau-Wing Lam Collection and a violin from ca. 1560 from the Met’s collection. The gallery also features instruments created by Amati’s son and grandson, members of the Guarneri family, and Antonio Stradivari.

Michael Kaiser made a career by selling himself as the Turnaround King.

His snake-oil worked at Covent Garden in London. It conspicuously failed at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

Now Kaiser has written a book about the arts in America. Published by Backwater University Press, its title is Curtains? 

In other words, we’re doomed.

The advance copy hasn’t reached us, but these people have read one. Kaiser has no more shots left in his sack.

michael kaiser book

violinist trunks

Hamburg is delivering a masterclass in how not to build a concert hall. The Elbphilharmonie was approved in 2007 at a cost of 77 million Euros ($87m). It is now running several years late at a projected cost of 789 million Euros ($887m).

Opening scheduled for January 2017.



Joyce DiDonato, ever willing to engage, has written a lengthy diatribe to a curmudgeonly micro-blogger who took persistent issue with her human rights boycott of certain countries, but not of others. Instead of  the ‘lucid, erudite response’ she had in mind, Joyce simply lets rip as she does on stage.

First, by way of rebuke:

Perhaps it’s naive of me to think that this reply will be met with anything other than continued cynicism when you carry such headlines as “Let’s stop pretending classical music will change the world.” But I have beautiful news for you: it always has and it always will. Perhaps it hasn’t changed policy, but it absolutely changes the world for countless people – this is something which deserves much more than cynicism.

Then, by way of explanation:

As an artist and as a human being, I have always given myself permission to misstep, to fail, to succeed, to live, to learn. Rigidity has always struck me as a destructive trait, and one I have worked to avoid. There is much complexity in this world that makes very little sense to me, and staying open to growth has always seemed to me to be the best shot at evolving. Knowing this about myself is precisely why I recognized that my decision to decline the invitation to sing in Moscow was perhaps not the correct one. Or, perhaps it was? That is not for me to determine, and I will never know if it was the “right” decision. But it is what I felt compelled to do at that time, and so I acted.

A true artist.


The town of Laurel, Mississippi, has named a central street after a local heroine, the first Afro-American soprano to make an international opera career.


The woman whose case for rape against the violin teacher Malcolm Layfield failed yesterday at Manchester Crown Court is taking legal action against Chetham’s School of Music, say her lawyers Slater & Gordon.

We have reported for a many years that certain English schools were negligent in their duty of care towards teenaged students who were preyed upon sexually by teachers and fellow-students.

That case now seems likely to be tested in court.

A tweet from Mail journalist Tom Rawsthorne says: Woman in Layfield case is now suing Chetham’s for failure to safeguard children, say her lawyers at Slater & Gordon.


The musicologist Sheila Whiteley, who has died aged 74, achieved her moment of fame as the first person to teach a course in popular music at a UK university.

Sheila gave an undergraduate course at University College, Salford, in ‘Popular Music and Recording’ in 1991 and was awarded a Chair in Popular Music at Salford University in 1999. She became General Secretary of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music.

Her first book, The Space Between the Notes, explores the role of hallucinogenic drugs in progressive rock.  Sheila was also active in gender studies. She edited one colloquium, Sexing the Groove, and co-edited Queering the Popular Pitch.

sheila whiteley1

Dmitri Hvorostovsky has pulled out of the title role in this month’s Rigoletto at the Vienna State Opera due to ‘a sudden illness’.

His replacement is Giovanni Meoni.


The Swedish detective serial is being turned into an opera by the University of Tübingen Collegium Musicum.

The music is by the Swedish composer Fredrik Sexten.

Casting has not yet begun for the summer 2016 production, but there will be no shortage of international baritones who want to audition as a middle-aged man fighting loneliness, drink, bordeom and dumb colleagues. No acting required, really.

Any nominations?



The pianist spent a day playing with his mates on a lake. Click here to watch.

matsuev flybard