Tonight’s performance of Tannhauser was dedicated to the memory of Chris Davies, sub principal horn, who died of bowel cancer in February. Chris, who was 53, also played in the Brighton Philharmonic.

Members of the ROH orchestra wore yellow daffodils to commemorate a proud Welshman.chris davies

The former head of the Vienna State Opera, himself a Romanian, has said that the only way out of the calamity in Bucharest, where local artists are calling for foreigners to be thrown out, is for the institution to be abolished and replaced by a new one.

Read here.


Nathan Cole, associate concertmaster in Los Angeles, has some good advice for people contemplating an audition for an orchestral place. Play to win, he urges. But what if you don’t?


nathan cole


Let’s make one thing clear right away: to win an audition, you have to play musically. This isn’t power lifting, and you can’t crush the competition with machine-like precision. If you’re going to win, it’s got to be with great violin playing. By definition that’s musical; I’ve never been part of a committee who thought otherwise. So you don’t need to sacrifice creative playing to go for a win.

But what about the slim odds of victory? Let’s say that 150 people take your audition, you all play at an appropriate level, and you’ve all made your goal a win. At least 149 of you will leave the audition having failed to achieve your goal. Yet I believe that this is the healthiest of all possible audition scenarios, for all 150 candidates.

Read on here.

The iPad, apparently.

‘To me, the practice of using a page-turner is a charming relic of an amateur age, when chamber music was largely played by amateurs for amateurs in an amateur setting,’ says pianist Ignat Solzhenitsyn, who will use an iPad in a PCMS May concert with the Aizuri Quartet. ‘Today, page-turning – and it is a role I have performed countless times myself! – is an unwelcome anachronism, putting the pianist constantly on the defensive against potential catastrophe, so that his mind is bent more toward the person to his left than the people to his right.’

Read Peter Dobrin’s fascinating article here. 



Uploaded by Steve Purcell, who directed several videos for Prince in the 1990s, the take illustrates the acute musical ear and pianistic facility of the late rock star.

Steve Purcell writes: ‘ This is August 2, 1990 sound check Osaka Japan. I spent six years of my life working for, creating with and laying the foundation for the rest of my career with Prince. Long nights, remote parts of the world and creative growth beyond my wildest dreams. This may not be the Prince you think of but it is the Prince I knew. Those years were and will always remain the highlight of my career. Thanks for the good times RIP Kid. ‘

prince summertime

After cancelling her role debut at Covent Garden this September, the diva has told the Met to forget about Norma in 2017-18.

‘I have come to the unfortunate conclusion my voice has evolved in a different direction,’ she repeated.

anna netrebko

Next month, she sings Elsa in Lohengrin in Dresden. That’s the way she’s heading.

From the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic:

Today is a momentous day at the Hillsborough Inquest for the families and Liverpool! An ITN crew have been in filming footage for Channel 5 news this evening. Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir perform ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ in an arrangement by Chorus Master, Ian Tracey first sung in memory of all those who died in the Hillsborough disaster, in the Memorial Service in Liverpool Cathedral, 29 April 1989.

Defy you not to cry.


The conflict has now reached the point of absurdity.

Alina Cojocaru, the country’s most famous dancer and her Danish husband Johan Kobborg have been banned from entering the Bucharest National Opera, along with seven others.

They include the former opera manager George Calin and technical director Emil Popescu.

The forces of xenopobia, led by conductor Tiberiu Soare, appear to be winning this battle.

Romania is returning to dark times. Any foreign artist who is thinking of working there should be aware that those in control have declared them unwanted.


To augment last year’s Oscar for The Grand Hotel Budapest. Alexandre Desplat has won the coveted Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award, a hat-tip to a composing legend.

The award will be presented at the annual Hollywood in Vienna on October 14.

desplat lang lang

press release:

Anthony Anderson, Managing Director of Select Music since 1997, is to step down from his post at the end of June and will be replaced by the current Head of Sales and Marketing, David Blake. Anthony will remain with the Naxos Group as Managing Director of the successful Naxos Audiobooks label. Select Music is part of the Naxos group of companies that includes the best-selling Naxos label and is the largest independent classical distributor in the UK.


julian lloyd webber naxos

The quarterly magazine has been reduced to three issues a year. CD reviews editor Tom Moore has been laid off.

Subscriptions are said to be markedly down and the board has ordered immediate economies.

Donald Rosenberg was brought in as editor in April 2014 in the hope of boosting circulation. A former critic on the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Rosenberg shrank review coverage and beefed up the news side with such headlines as Battle of the Early Bands. But decline has continued and the board was forced to act fast.

early music

She has withdrawn from the opening of the Royal Opera House season in London, and they haven’t found a replacement. It’s a major setback for the company.

Here’s what all sides are saying:

Anna Netrebko has said: ‘As I have begun to prepare the role, I have come to the unfortunate conclusion my voice has evolved in a different direction. This is something I could not have anticipated when Maestro Pappano and I planned this project four years ago, as we singers have to make decisions about roles and projects several years in advance. It pains me greatly to disappoint him, the Royal Opera House, and audiences in the UK. Knowing that tickets will soon go on sale and not wanting to mislead anyone, I feel I must now be honest with myself as an artist and make this very difficult decision.’

Kasper Holten, Director of Opera added, ‘We are working hard on finding a new leading soprano to join Tony Pappano, Joseph Calleja, Sonia Ganassi and Brindley Sherratt in the rehearsal room later this summer. We are, of course, very frustrated that Anna has felt it necessary to cancel a major role debut with us for the second time. We have done everything we can to avoid this situation. Whilst we regret that her withdrawal has come at such a late stage, we do respect her decision and understand how difficult this is for her as well. We are sorry for the disappointment this may cause some of our audience.’

Antonio Pappano, Music Director added, ‘I am of course saddened not to be doing this iconic opera with Anna. We had planned this project around her ambition to take it on some time ago but we all have to accept that things sometimes change. After all, it is a hugely challenging role. We have a superb creative team led by Àlex Ollé and a fantastic line up of world class singers and we will announce our new Norma shortly.

Anna and I have some other plans for the future at Covent Garden, in particular one of the major roles in which she has recently triumphed.’

netrebko norma

UPDATE: Netrebko cancels Met as well.