Chicago Classical Review reports exclusively that Ravinia president Welz Kauffman is floating the idea that the festival may go without a music director at all, for the first time in fifty years after James Conlon (pictured) finishes this summer.

Full story here.


conlon ravinia

Kauffmann, who’s on a $1,085,312 wage, has the Chicago Symphony playing movie scores instead of classical music. Soon, he won’t need much more than a metronome.

And the winners are…..

ioan hotea


1 Ioan Hotea tenor (Romania)
2 Darren Pene Pati tenor (New Zealand)
3 Edward Parks baritone (USA)

lise davidsen

1 Lise Davidsen soprano (Norway)
2 Hyesang Park soprano (South Korea)
3 Noluvuyiso Mpofu soprano (South Africa)

Slipped Disc has tipped Lise from the outset. She has a big career ahead.

The audience prize went to Darren Pene Pati and Lise Davidsen.

Hyesang Park soprano (South Korea) has been announced as the female zarzuela winner.

Ioan Hotea tenor (Romania) won the male award.

hyesang park


Sir Hubert Parry’s setting of William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ received its first performance on 28th March 1916 at the Queen’s Hall in London.

The conductor was Sir Henry Walford Davis. He and Parry had previously appeared together on a ‘Fight for Right’ platform and Parry gave Walford Davis the score with the words, ‘Do whatever you like with it.’

It quickly became one of the most popular English anthems, sung without fail at the Last Night of the Proms.

There was a boys’ chorus of 300 at the world premiere. Can anyone verify which schools sent their boys to the choir? We have some readers who are most anxious to know ahead of the centenary.

bbc proms


The incomparable Franklin Cohen will step down at the end of the month as principal clarinet of the Cleveland Orchestra after 39 years.

He’s not ready to retire, or to equivocate, in his farewell interview.

About current music director Franz Welser-Möst, he declined to comment.

Read more here.

franklin cohen

Ng Siew Eng has resigned as general manager of Singapore Lyric Opera after almost ten years in the job.

Apparently the company is cutting back from two productions a year to one.

singapore ballet



Janelle Gelfand reminds us of a shocking inequality: In New York last year, the sensational clarinettist Anthony McGill – whose first orchestra post was in Cincinnati – became the first African-American principal player to be appointed in the New York Philharmonic’s 173-year history.

The Mellon Foundation aims to redress that imbalance. It has given $900,000 to the Cincinnati Symphony and the local Conservatory to train up minority musicians to take the lead in professional symphony orchestras.

Good call. Read more here.


An authoritative survey shows that children who are not from university-educated, middle-class households are less likely to attend music lessons in German schools. In some schools, fewer than half the children receive music instruction. Read here (auf Deutsch).

Whatever became of the German concept of Bildung?

freiburg musikhochschule

The ebullient former director of the Vienna State Opera was taken to hospital yesterday in Vienna on his 80th birthday. He will miss tonight’s Operalia final in London, which he was supposed to judge.

We wish Ioan a speedy recovery.



London Jazz News shares with great sadness the death of John Taylor, a hugely versatile pianist who worked with Cleo Laine, Jan Garbarek, Gil Evans and the Smith Quartet and composed many choral works. He was 72.

John was performing in Stephane Kerecki’s band at the French Saveurs Jazz Festival when he suffered a heart attack on stage. He died late Friday night in hospital.

Among other teaching posts, he was professor of jazz in Cologne, from 1993.

Our sympathies to his family and friends.


john taylor

And on the other hand

Some interesting reflections from an anonymous poster about the discrepancies between the vast donations received by US opera companies…. and the breadline existence of most who sing in them.

Few of us ever get to the point in our careers where we can live on opera alone. In the United States, where opera is not an integral part of the culture, it’s hard to find gigs, and at that, paying gigs. Most people do not come from a wealthy background, and do not have the financial means to fly all over Europe, paying thousands of dollars to sing roles and secure hotel rooms for days. Once we finally get a good job, the pay is not enough to live off of. This country sponsors athletics, but not the arts.

Read the full post here.

salzburg beggar

An everyday story of opera life in the USA:

“It needs to have spectacle,” said Renaud Doucet, director and choreographer of Cincinnati Opera’s production of “Turandot,” opening Saturday in Music Hall. “But at the same time, it’s important for us that we are not focusing on the spectacle, but on the emotion.”

Doucet and scenic designer André Barbe are the creators of a new, $1 million production of “Turandot,” a co-production of Minnesota Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Utah Opera and Seattle Opera.

More here.

turandot cinc
Photo: David Bachman, Pittsburgh Opera

And on the other hand…. read here.