Gustavo Dudamel arrived today with orchestra and chorus for La Boheme.

dudamel sistema orch

Here’s what happened when a group of international musicians tested their repertoire on a herd of cows, with a view to improving milk production.

Apparently, the Scriabin went down well.


Peter Dobrin has been looking at this oft-repeated claim, lately re-aired on a Netflix doc.

His evidence suggests they didn’t like the way she played piano.

According to documents in the school’s archive, Curtis had 72 applicants for the piano department; three were accepted, which means there were more than five dozen other pianists, most presumably white, whose best also was not good enough for Curtis.

nina simone

Read for yourselves here.

Lawrence Renes, music director of Royal Swedish Opera, has notified us of the company’s shock at the death of principal clarinet, Lennart Jonsson.

Lawrence writes: ‘What should have been a joyful (season opening) was overshadowed by the very sudden death of one of our own just the evening before. Lennart Jonsson started to play in Hovkapellet in 1986 and he had literally seen and heard it all. He was as colourful in his playing as he was with his commentaries during rehearsals, and the occasional performance. And we all loved him for that. One of our colleagues said: ‘It is going to be very quiet in the woodwind section…’

Lennart, who was 60, learned on July 11 that he had cancer and died exactly a month later. He told no-one. He leaves a widow, Eva, and three children. A close family member says: ‘He was generous, warmhearted and very funny.’

Our sympathies to the family and colleagues.

lennart jonsson

Deborah Borda is vacating the helm of the LA Phil this fall to teach college at Harvard Business School.

She is, as always, a trendsetter.

Now Anne Parsons has told Detroit Symphony she’s taking a sabbatical.

She sure needs one after pulling the orch out of dire straits, but we can’t have all the world’s orch managers walking off the job at the same time, can we?


When the cat’s away…

Story here.

True to form, senior academics at the Australian National University are trying to smear the departing head of its school of music, Peter Tregear, by suggesting he fostered discord within the school.

Professor Tregear has a record of academic and performance achievement. ANU has none. Local journalists are becoming aware of the discrepancy. Read here.

peter tregear

That’s what it’s there for, isn’t it?

Press release follows.

covent garden

Saturday 5th September 8pm


On Saturday 5 September, the Royal Opera House will remain open after hours for a Nonclassical club night with Gabriel Prokofiev and his team. As part of the Deloitte Ignite 2015 Festival the Paul Hamlyn Hall will provide a unique backdrop to enjoy the innovative and virtuosic classical music in a relaxed setting.

Featuring guest performances from singers of The Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme and dancers from The Royal Ballet, Nonclassical has curated the evening drawing inspiration from their track record of ten years of classical club nights and Gabriel’s background as a DJ and producer. 

Collaborating artists include pianist Klavikon who reimagines electronic music through amplified prepared piano, using objects including a custom made pick up, robot dog and stones to create cascading runs of percussion, sub-basses and abstract soundscapes.DJ Mr Switch, reigning World DMC Champion, who is noted worldwide for his party rocking abilities and scratch skills and has been seen at festivals such as Glastonbury and Bestival, cellist Peter Gregson and Juice – a critically acclaimed vocal ensemble.

The event, for 18+only, will close at 1am and have a bar and a chill-out zone with reflective-light knitting workshops, accompanied by harp and DJ duo Tendons.  Under the guidance of Lorna Hamilton-Brown, the knitting workshops will use yarn exclusive from America, which glows when captured with a flash camera.


Dame Fanny Waterman is stepping down at the age of 95.

Her chosen successors are to be Adam Gatehouse, former head of BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists, and the English pianist Paul Lewis.

Seems like a safe pair of hands.

Dame Fanny Waterman c. Andy Manning (2009)

press release:

Paul Lewis and Adam Gatehouse are to become joint Artistic Directors of the Leeds International Piano Competition when Dame Fanny Waterman steps down from her role as Chairman & Artistic Director after the 2015 event (26 August – 13 September). Dame Fanny, now 95, announced her decision to retire earlier this year.


Paul Lewis is internationally regarded as one of the world’s foremost pianists, while Adam Gatehouse is best-known as a senior Editor at BBC Radio 3 where he founded the BBC New Generation Artists scheme, which has fostered the careers of many leading artists in international music.


Together they aim to build on the great legacy of Dame Fanny who, having founded ‘the Leeds’ in 1961, created what is now widely viewed as one of the world’s most prestigious and influential piano competitions. As Artistic Directors, Lewis and Gatehouse will be supported by a central administration team in Leeds headed by Mark Wingate in the role of Chief Executive.


They will nurture the Competition’s hallmark qualities of excellence and integrity, maintaining its status as one of the most coveted prizes in the piano world. At the same time, their shared vision is to develop the Competition’s connectivity with both the city of Leeds as well as its wider national and international audiences through an enriched programme of events and the use of digital technology. They will seek to extend opportunities for participants and ensure that the Competition continues to grow into an ever-stronger platform for young pianists, music lovers and audiences long into the future.


As Artistic Directors, Lewis and Gatehouse will be responsible for the selection of competitors and jury members, and join the Competition’s renowned jury. They will also develop the Competition programme including inviting selected international artists to give masterclasses and act as mentors, and take a key role in supporting all areas of the Competition’s work. Both Lewis and Gatehouse are keen to develop an education programme involving competitors visiting local schools during the competition.


Adam Gatehouse says:

“For all my professional life I have been lucky enough to work with young artists, and discovering and nurturing exceptional talent has been a constant source of delight and enrichment. To have the chance to help steer such a distinguished and august organisation as Leeds International Piano Competition through its next phase, and to do that with the wonderful Paul Lewis, with whom I first worked at the very beginning of his career 23 years ago, is a logical extension of that and a rare privilege. Following in the footsteps of that diminutive giant of the musical world Dame Fanny Waterman is a daunting challenge, and I hope that together we can maintain and build on the awesome international reputation and artistic integrity she has brought to this wonderful competition.”


Paul Lewis says:

“The Leeds International Piano Competition has long been an integral and significant part of the musical awareness of any young pianist growing up in the UK. Dame Fanny’s astonishing achievement over more than half a century stands as one of the great landmarks of the music world, and it is an enormous privilege to have the chance to play a part in its future. To be entrusted with preserving and building on the remarkable legacy of this most distinguished of piano competitions is a great honour, and I am especially thrilled to have the opportunity to do that in partnership with Adam Gatehouse who was a great support to me in the early stages of my career. I hope that, between us, we can do justice to the next chapter in the story of this prestigious event, and I look forward with huge excitement to the years ahead.”

Dame Fanny Waterman says:

“I am so thrilled that two people of the calibre of Adam Gatehouse and Paul Lewis are in place to pick up the reins when I step down after this year’s Competition. I am confident that they will guide ‘the Leeds’ with all the integrity and passion I could ever wish for and together will enable new generations of fine young pianists to fulfil their promise and bring their great musicianship to ever wider audiences.”


The 2015 Competition opens on 26 August and runs until the glittering final stages with the Hallé Orchestra under the baton of Sir Mark Elder at Leeds Town Hall on 11 and 12 September. A Winner’s Gala recital takes place on 13 September.


Message from Paul Silverthorne, lynchpin of the LSO:

Dear Friends,

Twenty five years ago this summer I first played with the LSO and in October I leave my position there at the end of a tour of Japan where it all started.

It has been a wonderful period in my life and certainly the most important part of what has been a wonderfully varied career.

However it’s not all over yet! In January I face a new challenge; I shall be taking up the position of Professor of viola at Soochow University in the beautiful ancient city of Suzhou in China. It is a new music school within one of the oldest and most highly regarded universities in China, I shall be joining a fine international faculty and we hope to attract students from all around the world. If anyone wants information about studying in Soochow the website is here and I’m happy to be contacted direct.

I shall be returning frequently to the UK and continuing to perform and teach internationally. I hope to see many of you when your touring brings you to China. Now back to my Mandarin homework!

paul silverthorne


The car-makers are to be main sponsors of his Berlin outdoor events. See here.

barenboim w-e diwan berlin

Intriguing history in the South China Morning Post of a Vietnamese refugee who was mouldering in a camp when an audition to the Asian Youth Orchestra put his life back on track.

Today, Khac-Uyen Nguyen is music director of a London chamber orchestra.

Nguyen says: ‘Before arriving [in] Hong Kong I had only ever been to two cities and those were in Vietnam. I had never met a foreigner… Suddenly there I was, wearing an AYO T-shirt travelling, playing music and making friends with people from all over Asia.’

Full story here.

Khac-Uyen Nguyen (left) with dancer and fellow Vietnamese refugee Huynh Kien Binh in Hong Kong in 1991.

Khac-Uyen Nguyen (l) with dancer Huynh Kien Binh in Hong Kong in 1991.

Roland Valliere has quit overnight as president and CEO of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, after less than two years in the job. Earlier this year he told the music director she could go because the orch cannot afford one.

Players have taken a 38% wage cut. The orchestra in Elvis city is fast disappearing.