Leigh Felten, 31, of Tallahassee, Florida, is being held in Leon County jail over a video in which she is alleged to pour oil over herself and her baby as she breast-fed.

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Police said: ‘Based on the content, and the fact it is being sold by Felten, it is clear this video is for sexual purposes.’

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Beyond all comprehension.

In a parting interview with the Plain Dealer, ahead of his retirement next month, executive director Gary Hanson won’t be drawn on his achievements.

‘I’m proud to have had a role,’ he says. ‘But I didn’t start it, and no one’s ever going to finish it.’

His chairman and music director sing his praises – with good reason. Read the full piece here.

But from an outside perspective Gary has pulled off a major miracle by keeping the Cleveland Orch at the peak of its powers when the rest of the city is struggling to stay afloat.

Here’s my Standpoint take from earlier his year.


The Vermont Symphony has hired Benjamin Cadwallader as executive director.

A local guy, he has been recently running education programs for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The Symphony is the only professional orch in the state of Vermont.


From the Chicago Symphony musicians bulletin:

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A member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s flute section since 1973, Louise Dixon retires from the Orchestra as the third longest-serving flutist in Chicago Symphony history. At the time of her appointment by Sir Georg Solti, she was principal flute of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and a member of the Grant Park Orchestra.

A native of Pigeon, Michigan, Louise … earned  a Bachelor of Music degree at Indiana University and a Master of Music degree at Northwestern University. Her teachers included James Pellerite and Walfrid Kujala.

Throughout her many years with the CSO, Louise was an active performer on the Orchestra’s chamber music series and a frequent soloist at the Bach Week Festival in Evanston. She was a soloist with the CSO numerous times in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 at Orchestra Hall and Ravinia. She was also a guest artist with the Chicago Chamber Musicians and a member of the faculty at the DePaul University School of Music.

From the archives:

Louise ties as the third-longest serving CSO flute:

  • Richard Graef, flute – 1968-present (47 years so far)
  • Walfrid Kujala, flute/piccolo – 1954-2001 (47 years)
  • Donald Peck, flute – 1957-1999 (42 years)


The White House concert was hosted by Carol Burnett and featured performances by Guy, Usher, James Taylor, Queen Latifah, Smokey Robinson, Esperanza Spalding, MC Lyte, Audra McDonald, Trombone Shorty, Keb’ Mo’ and Brian Stokes Mitchell.

‘An eclectic bunch,’ the president called them. Just not eclectic enough.

Worse, the event marked the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.

That’s how far classical music has fallen off the American radar in 50 years. More here.

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He’s been named Musical America’s Artist of the Year.

‘I am deeply and sincerely honored to accept this prestigious honor,’ said Nézet-Séguin via the Philadelphia Orchestra. ‘In truth, this goes to all of the musicians I conduct, in Philadelphia, Rotterdam, and Montreal, and throughout the world. These are the people creating the magic that connects audiences to the music, spreading messages of hope and joy.’

Many people watching TV in bed thought they had died and gone to heaven when a symphony orchestra of 74 musicians, plus chorus, popped up on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show.

When did a real orchestra last fill the screen of network television?

OK, it wasn’t Beethoven. It was The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, which is on a worldwide tour to promote a Nintendo game. But the symphony is in four movements and the conductor, Amy Andersson, is a serious musician who has led opera productions at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, National Theater Mannheim and Stadttheater Aachen. Her late-night audience was greater than all the opera houses in America put together.

Amy Andersson is the widow of the late and much-missed conductor, Yakov Kreizberg, who died in March 2011.

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Sarah Connor, a successful Universal artist, has taken in a mother from Aleppo with her five children.

‘I don’t presume to be a role model,’ Sarah texted to German media. ‘I understand that not everyone can absorb refugees. ‘But what everyone can give is bit of warmth, closeness, comfort and love – and without fear.’


Yesterday, Canada closed an opera company. Ottawa’s Opera Lyra got into trouble in 2011 but staggered on with small gifts and sticky plaster. Yesterday, the cash ran out.

The Canadian-German tenor Michael Schade, who is based in Vienna, has had enough of piecemeal solutions and Canadian self-deprecation. In this passionate appeal, Michael calls on Canadians to think above their situation – think Glyndebourne, think Salzburg.

His cri-de-coeur should kick-start a national and international debate. Almost every sentence could apply to English National Opera, the late New York City Opera and more.

About Opera Lyra in Ottawa: It is time to rethink.

by Michael Schade, tenor

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I am sorry for what happened in Ottawa- I sang with them twice, once at the beginning of my days with Jeanette Aster in an amazing little Mozart Pasticcio at Chateau Laurier (sold out), and once just two years ago, in a semi staged Manon at the NAC singing Des Grieux (a well filled near sell out), this near their end of THEIR days. All along we were accompanied by a weird depressed general air, despite the triumph, and a shoulder shrug by so many with a feeling of “it is what it is here in Ottawa”- everyone knew change was needed and I don’t know how many whispers I heard and how many people said this to me in private. I have made a million calls behind the scenes to see what could be done, and again no calls were returned nor were ideas dared with big sponsors in mind.

Mario Bernardi built that hall for Opera it’s fantastic and yes it’s a shame what has happened!!!!

I can’t help the feeling that we must all rethink, restructure, stop feeling like it’s just a regional company, and if one is “regional”, it should be proud of its regionalism and not be apologetic- this would thus make it un regional and cool – ever been to Glyndebourne or Salzburg in say November or March? These two places only decided to become the navels of the earth from very humble beginnings by being proud of what they have to offer, and thus they made the people of the world come to see it. Ottawa can do that it its own way!

It is time to dare to be different from the old moulds that have made up Canadian arts institutions- all of us have to change, the artists, the staff, the union(s), the orchestras, the offices, and our smarts have to be sharpened of how to be better technologically to fill the seats,. This will have to also come from a thinking outside the box while more inside technology – yes, and while we need a better government structure especially in Ottawa, a bilingual jewel, we need to outsmart them too and get better donors — my heart goes out to Ottawa– everyone is struggling but some places thrive and it isn’t because they are in good old Europe ( where things are money wise not a sweet as you’d think, while audience wise, all in all, it is fantastic and new core!!)

We need another Bernardi, Bradshaw and Neef.

My comments come with respect to those who have tried and gone before, but now it’s broken and the situation needs to be fixed, redone, restructured and done so, completely differently from before!

(c) Michael Schade/Slipped Disc

The widely-travelled James Judd, 66, is to be music director of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra from 2017.

He was formerly music director in Florida and New Zealand.

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press release:

The British conductor James Judd becomes the new Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra for an initial three year period with effect from the orchestra’s 69th season 2017/18.  In his first season he will conduct six double concerts and the opening concert of the 2017 Bratislava Festival.  His next visit is scheduled for May 2017 with two different programmes, one featuring Ernő Dohnányi’s second symphony, the other Beethoven Symphony No 7.   Maestro Judd, who is also chief conductor of the Israel Symphony Orchestra and New York’s Little Orchestra Society  says of his new appointment “I feel proud and privileged to be connected to this orchestra which has such a profoundly interesting historical background.  I am looking forward to continuing and developing the wonderful tradition of this great Slovakian cultural icon.”