Max Hole, recently retired from Universal Music as a result of ill-health, was awarded his CBE today by Prince Charles.

Max rebooted classical music at Universal after years of dereliction and was on the way to saving English National Opera when he was struck down by encephalitis. We wish him a continued recovery.

Christopher (Max) Hole is made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by the Prince of Wales during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London.

DiDonato is live from Juilliard at 4pm New York time, 9pm London, 10pm Paris/Berlin.

Click here for free live feed.


Notice from the Department of Transportation:

DOT Reminds Airlines that Passengers Should be Compensated For Most Damage to Baggage Wheels, Straps, and Other Parts

(This should affect instrument cases and other musicians’ travel accessories. NL)

WASHINGTONThe U.S. Department of Transportation issued a notice today reminding airlines that they are required to compensate passengers for damage to wheels, straps, zippers, handles, and other protruding parts of checked baggage beyond normal wear and tear.  The notice also reminds airlines of their obligation to accept all reports of mishandled baggage from consumers even if an airline’s agent believes the airline is not liable.  This notice is a result of recent airport inspections which uncovered the fact that certain airlines routinely exclude liability for damage to specific parts of checked baggage.

“These inspections demonstrate the Department’s commitment to protecting consumers when they travel by air,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “While we are proud of the progress we’ve made so far, we will continue to strengthen how we monitor and enforce compliance with air travel consumer protection and civil rights rules.”

The Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings discovered that certain airlines may be refusing to accept reports of such damage when it inspected U.S. and foreign airlines at 16 airports nationwide in a two week period in September 2015.  The notice warns airlines to immediately review and revise their baggage policies to ensure compliance with the law.  The Aviation Enforcement Office intends to take enforcement action against airlines that are not in compliance by January 9, 2016.

The airport inspections are part of the Department’s commitment to strong oversight of airlines’ compliance with Federal rules protecting the rights of air travelers.  The nationwide inspections conducted in September ensure that frontline customer-facing airline employees, not just managers and executives, understand how the law requires airline agents to treat air travelers.  The inspections have been helpful in determining whether airlines are treating consumers fairly and providing them the services to which they are entitled under the law.

The Aviation Enforcement Office is investigating a number of carriers based on information obtained during the airport inspections for potential violations of the Department’s consumer protection and civil rights requirements.  Any enforcement action that results from these investigations will become public.

– See more at:

damaged bass3

The cancer-battling baritone was today awarded the Order of Alexander Nevsky (ff to 5:30 and 24:40).

hvorostovsky putin

We’re delighted to hear that Dennis Russell Davies, felled two months ago by a horrendous knee injury, is back on the rostrum, conducting Salome in Vienna this week. Streaming tonight.

dennis russell davies 1

There has been discomfort in Salt Lake City since music director Thierry Fischer displaced Ralph Matson from the concertmaster’s seat after 30 years’ service.

Fischer has now appointed Madeline Adkins, associate concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony, as Utah’s new #1.

Adkins, 38, is a hiking enthusiast who has fostered more than 100 kittens (that’s what it says here.)

Ralph Matson, whom she won over on the open trail, will be her associate concertmaster.

Peace in Utah.

madeline adkins

Joseph Peters grew up with the Minnesota Orchestra and first played with them at age 18 when he was a finalist in the Minnesota Idol contest.

He’s coming home now as principal oboe, after a year in that position at the Buffalo Phil – as well as being music director of the SUNY Buffalo State Philharmonia Orchestra

Press release here.


The Georgian pianist has found love in a cold play.


khatia bun with chris martin



Dear Chris,
Last night in Paris first time in my life I assisted to your concert.
Last night first time after the attack in Paris I felt the heartbeat of the city that was on hold not knowing what to choose – love or hate.
Last night first time since 13th of November I felt blood reaching my tensed heart to open, to be able to give and receive again. Your music, your infinite capacity of loving everything and everyone made it happen. Standing in the public with the strangers feeling so close to them,we danced, we cried, we weren’t thirsty of revenge but of love. There was nothing to share as we were one.
Last night it happened in Paris…
Can you imagine there are countries where people are not allowed to love, to dance, to lough, to feel freedom because dictators and terrorists would not allow them. They are punished, killed, tortured just because they let out the scream of freedom that human as a new born experiences from the first second of the moment they leave mother’s internal world and feel the air of this magic universe. I know you fight against this brutality not with a sword but with love.

While I was listening “a head full of dreams”, me all frozen inside, entered a world of different emotions.You mixed different musical styles, in result you erased style and let the music be eternal without frames. You didn’t try to make this emotions all positive, you let everything in – despair, hope, disappointment,anger,love. Without despair hope wouldn’t appear and without darkness light wouldn’t be appreciated.The music awaked all of them in me without realizing which one of them was more important and at the end I felt how blood started to circulate. I was happy -I was alive. I felt that while being alive there is always a hope.

Thank you for letting me be part of this album. When you proposed to collaborate you opened the door of your profound musical universe and helped me, as a genius mentor, to open mine. You convinced me that when two musical universe open to each other and create, it could never be so called”cross-over”, it can only be a real “music making.”You showed me your music as a beautiful bud and taught me how to make it blossom. Do people know how you love,feel and know classical music? Do they know how you feel phrases, harmonies and how you make a dramaturgy of each song and album? Probably not but they feel it. Behind each word and sound you produce is a profound, sophisticated meaning but you never complicate,because you speak directly to each human soul. As all wisdom your language is simple.

In Georgia we have a tree that we call “a tree of wishes” where children leave the pieces of tissues to make their dreams come true. As a child I left my wish on this tree- world piece and love. In your head full of dreams,in Kaleidoscope,on a very short sequence of harmonies, with Rumi’s poetry revived by Coleman Barks’s voice and grace of President Obama, my childhood dream, as well as many kids from Georgia and all over the world, is embedded forever.

Thank you, Chris! Thank you Coldplay!

khatia bun with chris martin

The ruling Labour council of Britain’s second city has announced swingeing cuts to the performing arts, including the world-renowned City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Graham Vick’s Birmingham Opera.

The timing could not be worse for the CBSO, which is on the point of choosing a new music director.

Details here.

birmingham ring

pictured: Birmingham’s Ring

The Russian president’s musical spokesman has told Ria Novosti that Vladimir Putin has come up with the idea of making next year the year of Prokofiev. It will be the 125th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

Russian musicians are being urged to adapt their programmes accordingly.

Gergiev has ‘warmly and sincerely’ thanked the president for his brilliant suggestion.

putin gergiev

Aside from East Berlin and Washington D.C., the late Heinz Fricke, who died this week, was also music director at Norwegian Opera from 1984 to 1990. His concertmaster Ole Bohn, now professor at the Sydney Conservatorium, has fond memories.

heinz fricks with ole bohn


Maestro Fricke was a master of sound and phrasing and could, with tiny gestures and looks, obtain what he wanted. Where other conductors need to explain what they wish, Heinz Fricke managed to show what he wanted without words. He always let the musicians play without interference and let the singers breathe to display their voices.

In Norway Mr Fricke made an enormous impact. He conducted the major Mozart and Verdi operas as well as Boris Godunov and Carmen. His interpretations of Strauss and Wagner operas were outstanding and he was responsible for the artistic growth of the Norwegian Opera. Most performances were with singers from the house ensemble.

Maestro Fricke gave me as concertmaster great responsibility and freedom . He helped me form the sound of the strings and let me also lead without coming in between. I learnt a lot from him. Sayings like ‘never jump too fast to the downbeat’ and when there are many fast notes ‘always play them out’, or rather in German: ‘Ole, ausspielen’ are still in my ear and I try to pass them on to future generations. He was a true bearer of an almost lost German Kapellmeister tradition. In addition he was the musicians’ best friend.


A reckless moment at a variety concert.

The musicians are furious, and rightly so.


toronto symphony

A response from the TSO: We put the safety of all artists first and foremost. Cirque has an excellent safety track record. And today a safety review was also conducted post incident and their performance was altered to ensure no future potential risk to the audience, musicians, performers or instruments.’