The former violin teacher at Chetham’s who shot himself last week to avoid extradition on child abuse charges was a not-very successful artists manager in the US. One of the soloists on his roster was Frank Almond, concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Frank had his suspicions about Chris:

‘I could immediately sense that something about Chris didn’t quite add up; he was a monumental character even over the phone, simultaneously thoroughly charming and utterly consumed by his own arrogance, sitting in Beaumont. He was also clearly highly intelligent, with a broad knowledge of not only the classical music business (at the time) but also an almost encyclopedic mastery of most elements of playing, teaching, or performing on the violin.’

Read more here.

chris ling

A message from the much-loved Latvian mezzo-soprano:

elena garanca

Dear Friends,

I want to thank you for all the love, good wishes and support that you have sent to me, my family and especially my mother. Unfortunately the disease defeated my mother… My family and I had to say the most painful “goodbye” of our lives.

Whilst knowing that this is part of life, we feel numb from losing a loving and loved mother and we mourn her absence every day. All your prayers are of great support and gift to me during this period and it also gives me a lot of strength to regain myself and my voice and soon be able to perform for you all again.

I thank you with all my heart.



Susan Allen, who died of brain cancer in Seattle on Saturday, was a passionate performer of contemporary music and a disciple of Pierre Boulez (she’s the one on the left).

susan allen boulez

After studies at CalArts, she moved to Boston where she founded the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Cambridge Chamber Players, Marblehead Music Festival, and Composers in Red Sneakers. She went on to perform all over the world and can be heard on many recordings, some of them anonymously as movie soundtracks.

She played the concert harp, the electric harp and the Kayagum (Korean zither) and commissioned over 200 new works, while maintaining a busy academic life. At the time of her early death, Susan was associate dean for academic affairs at her alma mater, Calarts.

PARIS IMPROVISATION # 6 (Susan Allen & Jacques Burtin) from Jacques Burtin on Vimeo.

We hear that the Countess of Glyndebourne is leaving IMG Artists in something of a huff.

She’s placing her general management in the hands of Maurice Whitaker, a former IMG touring administrator who was married at one point to the soprano Barbara Bonney. Whitaker, say former colleagues, is more of an event fixer than an artist’s agent. Intermusica will handle her concert and opera engagements.

Ms De Niese was previously managed by Mathew Horner out of IMG Artists New York.

All rather messy and (we hear) not very lovie-dovie.

danielle deniese

UPDATE: We’ve received this clarification from Intermusica: Maurice Whitaker will act as Danielle De Niese’s General Manager, Maria Mot at Intermusica will act as her sole and exclusive world-wide Classical Manager for all classical concerts, opera, recitals, classical tours and all associated classical commercial sound and vision recordings.



Official announcement:

We are delighted to welcome Danielle de Niese to our roster, one of the world’s most celebrated opera singers and star of the 2015 Last Night of the Proms. 

“Her singing is utterly delectable and completely assured…Sheer ‘joie devivre’ and mastery come spilling across, to the eyes as well as the ears.”
New York Times

“One of the most sought-after singers on the planet.”
BBC Radio 3

The Australian-born American singer has been hailed “opera’s coolest soprano” by New York Times Magazine and “not just a superb performer, but a phenomenal one” by Opera News. A multi-faceted artist, de Niesehas gained wide recognition for her superb stagecraft, assured singing and her ability to communicate on every level. She regularly appears on the world’s most prestigious opera and concert stages and is a prolific recording artist, TV personality and philanthropist. Her discography includes Handel Arias, The Mozart Album, Diva and Beauty of the Baroque.De Niese is an ECHO Klassik Award winner, a recipient of Orphee D’Or by the Academie Du Disque Lyrique and a Classical Brit Award for Female Artist of the Year nominee.

Following her Glyndebourne Festival return in the Ravel Double Bill, which won her unanimous critical acclaim, de Niese will star later this week in a historical double header for the BBC Proms singing at both Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall opposite Jonas Kaufmann, broadcast worldwide, and at Proms in the Park in Hyde Park alongside The Jacksons, Alison Balsom and Russell Watson. The unique event will be filmed and documented by the BBC.

Further operatic engagements this season include Roxanne Coss in the world premiere of Jimmy López’s Bel Canto at Lyric Opera of Chicago conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, a return to Theater an der Wien to sing Poppea in Robert Carsen’s new production of Handel Agrippina, under Thomas Hengelbrock and a European recital tour alongside Omer Meir Wellber.

Intermusica represents Danielle de Niese for all classical concerts, opera, recitals, classical tours and all associated classical commercial sound and vision recordings. She will be represented by Maria Mot in association with her General Manager, Maurice Whitaker, Director K418 Arts Management.

The choir is all-male. The producer was Anna Barry. Small sign of progress.

Press release below:

sistine chapel

For the first time ever, the Vatican has opened the doors of the iconic Sistine Chapel for a studio recording with the Sistine Chapel Choir – the world’s oldest choir. The landmark new album, Cantate Domino, captures the sounds of this extraordinary acoustic, with music performed by the Pope’s own choir. It will be released on Deutsche Grammophon on 25 September.

The album, which was made by special permission of the Vatican, includes music written for the Sistine Chapel Choir by Palestrina, Lassus and Victoria during the Renaissance. There are also two pieces of Gregorian chant, alongside a world-premiere recording of the original version of Allegri’s fabled Miserere (Sistine Codex of 1661) and a Nunc dimittis attributed to Palestrina which is still used during Papal celebrations. Cantate Domino offers listeners the chance to hear these pieces as the composers intended – in Latin and in the surroundings for which they were originally written.

In order to capture the magic, mystery and beauty of this centuries-old music in such unique surroundings, Deutsche Grammophon set up a specially constructed studio within the Chapel. The mixing desk was set up in an ante-chamber, next to the “Sala del Pianto” (where the newly elected cardinal is first dressed as Pope). Grammy-nominated producer Anna Barry described it as an “overwhelming privilege” to be among Michelangelo’s frescoes in the building which is home to the Papal conclaves. The recording sessions were attended by dignitaries from the world of music and of the Vatican including Cecilia Bartoli, Roberto Gabbiani and the Secretary for the Relations with States.

The Sistine Chapel Choir is made up of 20 adult singers and 30 boy choristers. Among the singers are British baritone Mark Spyropoulos, who is the first British full-time member of the choir. The choir is directed by Massimo Palombella, who was appointed to the role five years ago by Pope Benedict. “The music we have recorded was created for Papal celebrations in the Sistine Chapel and by composers who wrote specifically for the Sistine Chapel Choir,” said Monsignor Palombella. “The Sistine Chapel was consecrated in 1483 and has been home to the Papal choir ever since. After an intensive period of study and scholarship of the sacred music in the Renaissance and its aesthetic pertinence, we have arrived at the point of making the first commercial recording, in this remarkable building, with this prestigious label. It is my hope that these masterworks will touch millions of listeners worldwide, and connect them to the historical culture and deep spirituality of the Catholic Church.”

“This extraordinary choir, which has served successive popes since the early centuries of Christianity, has never before made a commercial recording in its home,” said Mark Wilkinson, President of Deutsche Grammophon. “This very special record has the power, the beauty, and the excellence to find a truly global audience ‒ and an audience beyond the traditional confines and boundaries of classical music.”

Cantate Domino will be officially launched in September during a press conference held in Vatican City, and in advance of Pope Francis’ historic visit to the USA during that month.  His Holiness will receive the very first copy.

The release of Cantate Domino stands as a prelude to the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, a Holy Year decreed by Pope Francis, and which begins in December. During the last Holy Year in 2000, 25 million pilgrims visited Rome and the Vatican.

The Australian professor who put about the claim that Bach’s cello suites were written by Anna Magdalena Bach is now claiming that Maria Anna Mozart may have composed some of her brother’s music.

‘We know that Maria Anna composed but no one has ever been able to identify the music written by her,’ Martin Jarvis, of Charles Darwin University, told the Daily Telegraph. ‘Now we have identified her musical fingerprint, we can look for music in her hand and see whether there is evidence of her helping her brother. What is distinctly possible is that with the works of Wolfgang Amadeus, she may have had some involvement in it – particularly the earlier pieces. We have not found evidence of it yet.’


leopold mozart


The letter published below has been circulated among conservatory directors and artist managers. We have withheld the names of those involved but are sharing the account, with the author’s permission, in order to illuminate a common hazard at summer courses and to urge musicians to take suitable precautions.

The alleged perpetrator, a well-known performer in mid-career, has been the subject of previous accusations. The director of the conservatory where the incident took place failed to respond. The police have been informed.  Here is the email, suitably redacted:

Dear Director,

I must inform you that on August 29, 2015, at around 12 noon, your colleague X sexually assaulted my partner Y, student of this masterclass. After explicit advances … she tried to leave but he blocked the door of his classroom and started to touch her body, threatening not to play with her at the concert if she would not allow him to do what he wanted. This abusive and threatening situation lasted for about 20 minutes as his young students waited outside the door. After a struggle, he lunged and broke her necklace. Finally, after having forcefully pushed him aside, she was able to exit from the classroom.

We informed the organization of this masterclass and we are deciding if it is worthwhile to denounce X to the Police.

It might be wise to ensure that Mr. X’s behaviour with students at your conservatoire is fine.

Both Y and I are available to give you more details if needed.

Best regards,

(image unrelated to this incident)


Buffalo, without a concertmaster since Michael Ludwig departed 18 months ago, has announced Dennis Kim as its new numero uno.

Dennis, Korea born and Curtis trained, is currently leading the Tampere Philharmonic in Finland. He has worked previously in the US, as concertmaster in Tucson. More here.


dennis kim

Suspend your disbelief.

At the Halle Orchestra’s Priceless Classics concert on Sunday, all tickets sold within five hours and two in three of the audience had never set foot before in Bridgewater Hall.

Many were families with young children, drawn to a classical event by the promise of informality – and the option of paying what they thought the event was worth. We don’t have the revenue figures yet, but the concert broke the ice for a lot of Manchester people who would otherwise never think of attending the Halle.

Here’s how the Beethoven looked from a player-operated camera (starts at 0:45).
you all got a drink

It’s being reported that Universal Music is moving its UK HQ to the fast-developing area between the Eurostar terminal and the two rail gateways to the northern powerhouse.

That should add muscle to King’s Place, the underrated chamber music venue, and turnover to the local hospitality hangouts.


The Times has ousted a theatre critic again, its third in as many years. The new chief theatre critic, replacing Dominic Maxwell, is to be parliamentary sketchwriter, Ann Treneman. Whatever became of the professional critic?

Michael Coveney has some sombre thoughts, here.

music critic cartoon

(c) NPR cartoonist Pablo Helguera

Maestro Rafael Nadal died yesterday on Majorca, his home island, at the age of 86.

He founded and directed the chorus of the Teatre Principal in Palma and taught for 40 years at the music school in Manacor. His proudest moment was conducting a professional performance of Beethoven’s ninth symphony.

He was also happy to share the limelight with his tennis champion grandson, who has been playing in the US Open.


photo: Mallorca Zeitung