The pop star Prince has tweeted: ‘Due to the tragic events in Paris, the tour promoter has decided to postpone the upcoming European tour until further notice.’

He won’t be the only one.


What the world needs now is solidarity.

The hall has announced the results of a legal inquiry into the breakdown of relations between its former chairman, Ron Perelman, and executive and artistic director Sir Clive Gillinson. Faults on both sides, it concludes. But Sir Clive is forgiven. No surprise there.

Press statement below.


NEW YORK, NY—Carnegie Hall today announced the completion of a comprehensive independent review addressing questions raised at the board level earlier this fall related to the Hall’s management and board governance practices. The review was completed by a team of lawyers from O’Melveny & Myers LLP, led by attorney Howard Heiss.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP reviewed allegations made by Ronald O. Perelman that Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall, prevented Mr. Perelman and the Carnegie Hall board from exercising appropriate oversight of Carnegie Hall’s operations while Mr. Perelman served as Board Chairman. In summary, the O’Melveny review concluded that, although there was a serious breakdown in the working relationship between Mr. Gillinson and Mr. Perelman, there is no evidence to support allegations that Mr. Gillinson sought to undermine Mr. Perelman’s or the board’s oversight responsibilities, or that his staff’s actions impeded the proper governance of Carnegie Hall. As a result of these findings, Carnegie Hall’s Executive Committee on behalf of the Board of Trustees is satisfied that Mr. Gillinson complied with his professional responsibilities. Mr. Gillinson continues to have their full support.

“We appreciate Mr. Heiss’s efforts and the time and attention dedicated to this review by members of the institution’s board and staff,” said Peter May, a Vice Chair of Carnegie Hall’s Board of Trustees and chair of the board sub-committee overseeing the legal review. “Having completed this work, we are now fully focused on the future, working under the strong leadership of our Executive and Artistic Director Clive Gillinson and our Acting Chairman Mercedes Bass.”

“We are thankful to O’Melveny & Myers for the work and thoughtfulness that went into this important review,” said Mercedes T. Bass, Acting Chairman of Carnegie Hall’s Board of Trustees. “Throughout its history, Carnegie Hall has always had an exemplary and dedicated board. Along with Carnegie Hall’s entire extended family, the trustees are committed to looking ahead, building on our institution’s illustrious past and working toward an exciting future under Clive Gillinson’s excellent artistic and executive leadership.”

“We are grateful to resolve these matters and complete this process,” said Sanford I. Weill, President of Carnegie Hall. “Together, we can now place our complete focus on our work advancing Carnegie Hall’s important mission as one of the greatest homes for the best in music and music education in the world.”

Mercedes T. Bass was elected as Acting Chairman of Carnegie Hall’s Board of Trustees in October 2015. Also in October 2015, the board approved the creation of a new Governance Committee, charged with sustaining the board’s proactive approach to evaluating policies and practices related to stewardship, and providing guidance and recommendations to the board

They are playing in Brussels and say they did not consider cancelling for a moment after the Paris events.

After a minute’s silence, outgoing chief conductor Paavo Järvi has chosen Sibelius’ Valse triste as the most appropriate overture.


A message from Aleksandra Kurzak:

Drodzy przyjaciele, Aleksandra i Roberto mają zaszczyt poinformować, że w dzisiejszym dniu, we Wrocławiu zawarli związek małżeński.

Dear friends, Aleksandra and Roberto are glad to announce their wedding, just celebrated today in Wroclaw, Poland.

Chers amis, Aleksandra et Roberto sont heureux de vous annoncer leur mariage, célébré ce jour même à Wroclaw en Pologne.

alagna kurzak


The pair have been together since shortly after the end of Alagna’s 17-year marriage to Angela Gheorghiu. Their little girl was born January 2014.

We wish them every happiness.

The 1970s Jamaica-born singer Jackie Brown has died in Queens, New York, aged 69.

His hits included Send Me The Pillow, Little Miss Hard to Get and one that we don’t dare to name because the title will cause offence, and rightly so. But the 70s were a different time and the lyrics are affectionate.

jackie brown

The instruments were taken from a parked car in Kew, east Melbourne, on Sunday morning.

They include a 1960 Leandro Bisiach viola, a 1913 Romeo Antoniazzi Cremonese Series A Cre and a French Claude LeBlanc viola dated 1840.

If you see them call Melbourne Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000.

melbourne strings

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) moved this morning into its new 600-seat rehearsal and recording facility in Glasgow City Centre.

rnso hall

pictured: Kenneth Osborne (RNSO); Iain Munro (Creative Scotland); Cllr Archie Graham OBE; Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop; RSNO Chief Executive Krishna Thiagarajan; Ian Smith (CS); Peter Shakeshaft (RNSO).

This is a lesson with Rachid Abou Houdeyfa, imam of a Sunni mosque in Brest, northwest France. The young imam – energetic, articulate and charismatic, dressed in conteporary gear – calls his lesson ‘music, as explained to children’.

He asks first which of the children like music. A host of little hands shoot up. The imam tells them: ‘that is a grave sin… Allah does not like music because that’s what the devil likes.’

He continues: ‘People who sing, the prophet said they will be swallowed up by the earth. They will be transformed into monkeys and pigs. Who of you still loves music?’

He goes on to forbid parents from letting their children learn to play instruments.

This is what France is fighting in 2015, all too ineffectually it seems.

Watch the imam’s lesson here, in perfect French.

brest imam

In a subsequent press interview, the imam says he does not indoctrinate children. He just teaches.

This is my album of the week on, ‘a concept album that combines entertainment, speculation, low gossip and music so high you think it’s going off the scale.’

Check out the full review here.


mozart weber girl




The opera house being built in Harbin, China, is – appropriately, you might think – the brainchild of a firm of architects called MAD. Harbin is a wetlands environment and the designers were concerned that the opera house should rise from the marshes, rather in the way the concert hall in Lucerne rises from the lake.

Harbin_2 Opera_House_MAD_Hufton_Crow_Slide_3

But not everyone agrees and the debate is starting to heat up.

Does this look like an opera house?


(And how soon can I get to visit?)

The pianist Boris Giltburg thought long and hard about the hackneyed Leonard Bernstein platitude that gets trotted out by music leaders and on mass media every time civilisation comes under mortal attack.

bernstein quote


Boris’s conclusion: ‘Music, and any art, by the very fact of creating, of bringing something new into the world, is in opposition to any force which comes to kill, destroy and terrorise.’ Read his reasoned argument here, far more cogent than the blethering of the general commentariat.

Boris’s response, as a pianist, was to play a chaconne, ‘a funeral dance of Spanish origin, which several classical composers have turned to in order to express their thoughts on death.’ But not necessarily the obvious ones.

Listen here.

And here.
boris giltburg

We reported yesterday that Chen Reiss, the designated Gretel, had pulled out of Vienna’s new version of the faily-favourite with an unspecified illness.

Today,  Daniela Sindram had to be replaced as Hansel at the dress rehearsal for much the same reasons.

The company are confident Daniela will recover in time for Thursday’s opening, when Christian Thielemann conducts Adrian Noble’s new production.


UPDATE: Chen has just posted: Due to a chest infection I sadly had to withdraw from the production of Hänsel und Gretel at the Vienna State Opera. It is a marvelous production in every aspect and I wish my colleagues a big Toi, toi, toi for opening night.