The cellist is among several celebrities – Apple CEO Tim Cook, MC Hammer, Snoop Dogg,, and New York governor Andrew Cuomo – who are backing Laurene Powell Jobs’s new plan to create an elite education stream.

Details here.

yo yo ma chicago

The London Philharmonic and Svetlanov Symphony (Moscow) Orchestra chief conductor has added a third job to his portfolio.

He will succeed Marek Janowski next year as chief conductor of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSB). Jurowski, 43, lives with his family in Berlin.


Rugby, of all sports, requires vocal encouragement.

The World Cup, which starts tonight, engaged a 50-strong choir of our acquaintance to sing at two games for the princely fee of £250 a game. That’s £5 a singer. Barely enough for the tube fares.

Fine, said the choristers, but the rule is we get to watch the match after singing the anthems.

No way, said Rugby World Cup. Sing your stuff and then you’ll be escorted off the premises.

So our guys won’t sing.

So much for popularising the game.


Does the Musicians Union have a view on this?

A year ago, we highlighted the plight of Ayham al-Ahmed, 26, a pianist who bravely played on under fire in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmuk, south of Damascus. No longer.

Ayham has fled Syria under constant bombardment and IS occupation. He tried to take his instruments to start a new life in Germany.

He tells the BBC what happened to him. Click here.

pianist syrian ruins

Karl Fenner, whose instrument was smashed just after he had won an audition at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, has received a tentative response from Southwest Airlines.

‘I received a private message on facebook saying ‘please call me, we really want to make this right with you,’’ he tells a Colorado interviewer, Peter Alexander. ‘I talked with [an airline representative] for about 10 minutes today. We haven’t gotten very far in the process yet, but she did admit that it is obvious that it is the airline’s fault, and nobody on their end is going to dispute that.’

More here.

double bass broken

sarah niblack

Good morning, Sarah Niblack, viola player and artistic director of Classical Revolution France.

photo: Camille Cier

mozart newcastle

Images of Amadeus are popping up all over Newcastle, a city more fanatical about football than classical music.

From the press release:

The portrait was commissioned by Royal Northern Sinfonia, to reflect what Music Director Lars Vogt sees as the ‘true’ face of a composer we all think we know.  “Somehow we’ve come to think of his music as pretty, brilliant and maybe even a little two-dimensional,” said Vogt, “But in fact the more you listen to him the more you realise that we’ve got him wrong. That music is often dramatic, daring, edgy and, yes, dark, and those qualities must have been there in the man.”

The striking new portrait, by renowned American artist Tim O’Brien … was influenced by images of iconic contemporary musicians Johnny Rotten, Johnny Cash and Eric Clapton.


mozart newcastle2

Vogt and the orchestra will be giving ‘pop-up performances’ throughout the season of some of Mozart’s darker chamber music – in some surprising venues, very far from the glamour of a concert hall. The precise locations will be revealed on social media just before the performances occur, but they will reflect some of the darker corners Mozart would have encountered in 18th century Vienna.

We have been informed of the death, a day before her 35th birthday, of a popular and gifted Romanian artist, Roxana Bageac. She had been struggling for some time with a malignant illness.

Roxana was principal soloist of the Oleg Danovski National Opera and Ballet in Constanta, where she was a stunning Violetta and Liu, among other roles. The scale of her talent can be sampled below.

Our sympathies to her family and friends.

roxana bageac

Yes, you read that right.

Gert Wilden, who died this week, composed and conducted soundtracks for soft-porn films, notably the Schoolgirl Report (Schulmädchen Report) series, hugely popular in the 1970s. Gert was 98.


h/t: The Obit Patrol

This just in from Morris Robinson, principal artist at Houston Grand Opera:

morris robinson2

Walking to the store here in Uptown NYC, I see a young brother halfway leaning out the window of his massively tinted, new model Nissan, sittin on them shiny thangs (Rims). He has on a black wife beater, tattoo’d throughout his neck, shoulders and arms … baseball cap on slightly tilted … chillin.

His radio is blasting, and I remove my ear buds because I THINK I hear something, but I’m really not sure.

Me, being the bold brother that I am, walked right up to his car door and asked, “Is that the Lacrymosa from the Mozart Requiem?” He turns down the radio, and asks “What you say?”

“Lacrymosa, Mozart Requiem?”

He says, “Oh. Yeah dawg!”

I smiled, put my ear buds back in, and walked off.

Classical music ain’t dead … we just need to open up our MINDS to the fact that the demographic of the audience is far more diversified than we could ever imagine.

Slipped Disc editorial:

The award of Recording of the Year to Claudio Abbado, who died before the year began in January 2014, exposes much that has gone madly wrong with the classical music industry.

Abbado, 80 when he died, was much loved and admired. But to acclaim his valedictory concert as superior to the work of every surviving artist and orchestra is to imply that classical recording itself has died, with the death certificate signed by its tunnel-visioned parish magazine.

To living artists, this award by Gramophone and its regular critics is an insult. To the dead, an unearned tribute.

The classical music industry, like a wacky religious cult, worships the dead. No wonder it’s in a hole.

gramophone awards

Time to stop digging.

With the resignation of the chairman who suspended him in a row over board over board authority, Sir Clive Gillinson, the long-serving executive and artistic director, appears to have emerged triumphant from a brief and ugly battle over who runs the hall.

But it’s not over yet.

When Ronald Perelman took over as chairman from Sandy Weill in February, he announced he wanted changes – more rock music and contemporary culture, less of the classical stuff. Sir Clive, and the rest of the board, ignored him. Perelman was a billionaire. His job was to pay up and shut up, as his predecessor had done.

But he didn’t. Discovering that the executive director had failed to get board approval for an initiative he had set up with board member Len Blavatnik, Perelman suspended Gillinson and demanded legal action. The board failed to back him. Last night, Perelman announced he was leaving (he and Warner’s Blavatnik are longterm antagonists). Sir Clive, America’s highest paid classical executive (earning $2,235,308 in 2013), appears to have won.

The battle, that is. The war is not over. No chief executive can ignore his board twice. Sir Clive, 70 next March, is on a warning. Perhaps on borrowed time.

carnegie hall interior

MEDIA NOTE: The NY Times was out of the loop on this story. Wall Street Journal broke the original story and WQXR had Perelman’s resignation. The old Grey Lady is asleep on the cultural beat, waiting to be fed by PRs.