We’ve had a definitive update from Shelley Sharpe of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra to a weekend post:

In response to the article “Canada names woman music director, (not) only its second,” I feel obliged to point out there have been many orchestras with women music directors in our great nation, not the least of which is the Windsor Symphony Orchestra—Susan Haig was our music director from 1991 to 2000.


Agnes Grossmann – Orchestre Metropolitain de Montreal (1986-1995) and Artistic Director of the Toronto Chamber Players (1984-1991)

Jeanne Lamon – Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (1981 – 2014)

Anne Manson – Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (2008 – present)

Rosemary Thomson – Okanagan Symphony Orchestra (2011 – present)

Special mention should go to Keri-Lynn Wilson, a Canadian woman at the helm of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra.

Together with Tania Miller and Ms. New (pictured), there are four active female music directors in Canada at the moment, and Maestras Grossman, Haig, and Lamon who all made a tremendous impact on the orchestras they led.

gemma new


We have the official statistics. More than 9 million people watched the Medici broadcasts worldwide.

Here’s the breakdown:

1. Russia: 29%

2. China & Taiwan: 14%

3. USA: 13%

4. Germany: 5%

5. France: 4%

6. Ukraine: 3%

7. Japan: 3%

8. South Korea: 3%

9. Canada: 3%

10. Spain: 2%

Rest of the world: 21%

putin tchaikovsky competition2

In the past couple of months, AskonasHolt have taken on:

Karina Canellakis (conductor)

Anatoli Sivko (bass)

Stanislav Kochanovsky and Nicholas Carter (conductors)

Johannes Moser (cellist)

Oliver Johnston, Otar Jorjikia, Dmytro Popov and Gyula Rab, (tenors)

Alison Balsom (trumpet).

alison balsom pop up

Today they added Antonello Manacorda (conductor).

Who’s next?


The veteran Italian music scholar Rubens Tedeschi has died at the age of 101.  

He was the author of influential books on verismo opera, Wagner and Soviet-era composers. For most of his life he was music critic of L’Unità, organ of the Italian Communist Party.

Among many foreign assigments, he covered the 1961 Eichmann trial in Jerusalem for L’Unità. 

rubens tedeschi

In a landmark precedential ruling with widespread ramifications, the Consumer Court in Finland has ordered promoters to refund a ticketholder who attended a disappointing Chuck Berry performance. The complainant, it ruled, was entitled to half his or her money back.

Feel free to quote this judgement next time an international soloist phones in a concerto, a conductor beats time in his sleep or an orchestra gives the impression it would rather be anywhere but here, and now.

audience pic

how it should be, always

From my new Album of the Week review on sinfinimusic.com:

Watch Martha Argerich perform a concerto and you see an artist at work – aware of conductor and orchestra, to be sure, but immersed in her instrument and its sound, seldom coming up for air. Watch her performing chamber music, and you witness a different artist altogether. This is Martha at play, an instinctual musician in a musical conversation, every part of her body delighting in the process.

Over recent years, there have been two places to catch this experience…

Read more here.

martha argerich

We’ve received a mildly disturbing preview of Jephtha’s Daughter, a ballet on a Bible story which opens tomorrow as part of the Bavarian State Opera’s July festival.

Staged by an Israeli choreographer, Saar Magal, it involves nude dancers with strap-on penises.

We’re not bothered by the nudity, or by any possible transgender agenda.

What bothers us is that implication that the only way to tell a Bible story these days is to strip it dwn to socks.

Watch the video here (adults only).


First Masleev, the piano winner, pulled out of a Gergiev concert in Finalnd.

Now cello winner Andrei Ionita has cancelled the Wigmore Hall this Thursday and Friday. He was due to be competing for the Pierre Fournier award, an event that takes place mysteriously behind closed doors.

Maybe he doesn’t need that any more.

Andrei Ionita


In a snatched video interview with Vesa Siren, after a concert in Mikkeli, the Mariinsky Theatre director insists that his operations are not affected by EU sanctions. He adds that the main problem lies in the Middle East, not between Russia and the West, and declares that ‘I know better than many others, because I am an international person, that Germany and Russia need to be good neighbours and colleagues, working together towards peace…’

Click here to watch the interview (in English).


valery-gergiev ossetia

If Greece gets booted out of the Euro, this is what we can expect to use on holiday:

callas drachma

Two or three years before he died, Claudio Abbado began visiting prisoners in Bologna jail. He formed a group, which he named the Pappageno Chorus, and began putting on concerts in the prison chapel. Hearing that Abbado was conducting in prison, people clamoured to attend and paid high prices for the tickets.

Since his death in January last year, the project has continued under the directorship of Abbado’s daughter Alessandra and an association called Mozart14, supported by the Ministry of Justice. Our friend Valerio Tura, who attended yesterday’s concert, sends this exclusive report to Slipped Disc:

abbado prison chorus

This afternoon I had the opportunity to hear a really exciting concert by the Papageno Choir, a chorus of fifty inmates of Dozza, in Bologna. In searing temperatures, a group of prisoners, women and men of all ages, along with some external singers, gathered in the chapel of the prison for the kind of concert that allows you to entertain some hope for the fate of the world.

Beyond the repertoire prepared with patience and directed with great commitment by the talented Michele Napolitano, who joined the so-called classical music compositions with arrangements and harmonies of folk songs from various backgrounds and in different languages, and pop music, the deep sense of this concert was the desire and purpose evinced by inmates to seize the musical practice, in particular in its choral practice, as a positive opportunity for redemption and rehabilitation.

One can never emphasize enough the importance of choral singing a a driving force of civilization, as a formidable engine of ethics, an irreplaceable guide to living together, sharing, listening, respect, not to menti0n beauty.

This choir was created by Claudio Abbado, one of the greatest conductors of all time, a few years before his death. It was my good fortune to know him personally. Claudio…. was a tireless catalyst of musical intelligence, a midwife of young talent, and an unstoppable ‘instigator’ of initiatives that made music ‘necessary’. I am convinced that this chorus of prisoners, the choir Papageno, is undoubtedly one of his most extraordinary ventures.

The emotions I felt listening to the concert today go far beyond the beautiful music I heard. I hope the choir Papageno can thrive and continue its activities, but to do so it needs help. I have made ​​a small contribution.
I hope that those who read these lines will do the same:

IBAN IT61 L 05387 02412 000002172274 – BIC BPMOIT22XXX – Banca Popolare dell’Emilia Romagna – Causal Project Papageno.

Slipped Disc editorial

Observations by the pianist Boris Berezovsky on the judging of the Tchaikovsky Competition raise some deep concerns about what the music profession – and what the music audience – expects from classical artists.

According to Boris, it was the ‘non-Russian jury members’ who voted the phenomenal Frenchman Lucas Debargue into last place. ‘They said he’s not professional,’ reports Boris.

That term demands amplification. It may be that Lucas did not look ‘professional’ because he had so little experience and support that he had never played with an orchestra before. Or perhaps his clothes were not the right cut, his shirt was open one button too many, his shoelaces were possibly untied and he forgot to say ‘spaseba’ for the flowers.

So what?

The difference between an artist and an employee is that one follows a fantasy wherever it may lead and the other clocks in on time every morning. It is an irreconcilable difference. If we want our artists to be more like civil servants – and many who run the music world are precisely of that opinion – we will soon have no artists.


Richter was never ‘professional’. He played as he pleased, if he bothered to show up.

Argerich is ‘unprofessional’. She does it her way.

Michaelangeli, Horowitz, Sokolov, Zimerman, Gavrilov, Yudina, Nikolayeva, Cortot, Fliter, Francois were and are all capricious, spontaneous individuals who refuse to conform to professional disciplines.

That’s why they make our blood race through our veins. The professionals are ten a penny. Music needs to be saved from the professionals.