Although Andris Nelsons takes on 15 concerts in the interim season before he becomes Kapellmeister, a larger part of the season rests upon the shoulders of Herbert Blomstedt, who conducts 20 concerts in the season.

Blomstedt, now 88, was Gewandhauskapellmeister from 1998 to 2005.

We hear that he does not use a chair at work. He is on his feet for four hours in rehearsal.

herbert blomstedt

The Canadian prime minister has promised an extra C$675 million over five years to the state broadcaster CBC, and a further C$550-million to the Canada Council for distribution to the arts.

Medici government is back.

justin trudeau melanie-joly-candidate-photo

The festival has replaced its recuperating music director Robin Ticciati for the season’s big production.

Michael Güttler, 49, principal conductor of Finnish National Opera will all performances of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the 2016 Festival. He starts rehearsal next week.


michael guttler

We are receiving reports of the death in Yerevan, Armenia, of the tenor Gegham Grigoryan, a star of the Marinsky in the 1990s. He had been suffering from cancer.

Gegham Grigoryan, born in Yerevan, sang several Pinkertons for Abbado at La Scala in 1978 and seemed set for a shining future. But the Soviet authorities hit him with a punitive ten-year travel ban and he wound up in Lithuania. In 1989, Gergiev signed him for the Mariinsky and he soon became an international star, part of an outstanding team. He was a brilliant Lensky in Onegin and Herman in Queen of Spades.

In 2000 Gegham Grigoryan was appointed artistic director of the Yerevan Opera Theatre.

Gegham Grigoryan

Bozar concerthall and Klara Radio have just confirmed that, amid lockdowns and national mourning, tonight’s performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with John  Eliot Gardiner will take place at the Palais des Beaux Arts.

The concert will serve as a commemoration for the victims of yesterday’s atrocities. The Klarafestival theme this year is Erbarme Dich… Have mercy.

The concert is sold out. You can hear it on 

Brussels-Airport bomb

In a bold statement of ambition, Garsington Opera will be semi-staging two of its operas in Paris.

The 2014 Fidelio will be performed on 24 November 2016 in the Philharmonie de Paris by the Orchestre de chambre de Paris (whose music director is Garsington’s artistic director Douglas Boyd), the original cast and the Chœur de chambre accentus from Paris.

On 27 June 2017, Garsington’s Le nozze di Figaro will be semi-staged in the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées with the Orchestre de chambre de Paris, conducted again by Boyd.


Beat that, Glyndebourne.

Sofya Tsygankova, pianist wife of the Cliburn gold-medallist Vadym Kholodenko, will appear in court in Fort Worth today charged with the murder of their two daughters. It is reported that a pillow was found near the children’s heads.

Police say Ms Tsygankova visited a mental health facility in Tarrant County, Texas, the day before the children died. An empty bottle of Quetiapine, an anti-depressant drug, was found. Ms Tsygankova was covered in blood from stab wounds. Her attorney says she will plead not guilty.


A friend of the family tells us that the distinguished Bach scholar, organist and harpsichordist Peter Williams passed away on Monday. Professor Williams was 78.

Educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge, he held the first chair in performance practice in the UK at the University of Edinburgh. He was Emeritus Arts and Sciences Professor of Music at Duke University, North Carolina.

Professor Williams was general editor of Biblioteca Organologica (80 volumes) and founding editor of The Organ Yearbook. He was also general editor of the New Oxford J.S. Bach Edition.


peter williams

Margaret Steinitz adds on the London Bach Society site: Always fascinated by every aspect and joining our frustrations that so little in the way of letters and documents have survived that give us deeper knowledge of Bach’s life and work, Williams became author-turned-detective, using segments of the Bach Obituary to delve deeper and in the process to offer further insight that moved away from the deferential and towards the more human. It was this that inspired Williams’ biography about the composer “The Life of Bach”published in 2004 expanded to “J S Bach: A Life in Music” published in 2007, these two volumes a culmination perhaps of his own life’s work from which many across the globe have benefitted.

1 They need to appoint an artistic director, fast.

One of the issues with Mark Wigglesworth was that his contract specified that he was working to an artistic director. In the absence of an AD, he had no boss, nobody understood his concerns and his voice was not heard.

2 The job of artistic director was advertised six weeks ago, with a nine-day application deadline. That suggests they had a particular person in mind. We here three people had second  interviews. Expect an announcement soon.

3 The artistic director will propose a new music director. He or she will need to be drawn from recent Coliseum conductors who earned the respect of orchestra and chorus.

4 A short list might start with Ryan Wigglesworth (no relation), who is developing as a composer; the Akhnaten conductor Karen Kamensek, who has recent experience as general music director in Hanover but none of English conditions; and the capable Canadian Keri-Lynn Wilson, who has other attachments. To appoint a music director who has not worked at ENO before – and there are some promising British candidates – would risk turmoil.


coliseum eno