John von Rhein has the story here:

Eugene Izotov, now principal oboe of the San Francisco Symphony, is no longer listed on the personnel page of the CSO program book, and his resignation has yet to be announced. Management has further declined comment on internal reports that CSO principal trumpet Christopher Martin will take a leave of absence next season to play first chair trumpet with the New York Philharmonic.

Do such key personnel changes bother Muti? Do they threaten the orchestra’s musical identity and well-being?

“Absolutely not,” he replied. “With all respect to Izotov, no player is indispensable in this orchestra. I spoke with Chris Martin today. He is very close to the Chicago Symphony but he wants another experience (away from the orchestra). So we shall see. Change is natural in symphony orchestras.’



photo: Todd Rosenberg

From a Telegraph news feature on the Mayor’s Music Fund:

‘There was a kid I met four years ago at City Hall,’ he says. ‘He won a music scholarship and he went on to get an academic scholarship to study at Christ’s Hospital school in Sussex and, as a result, his life has been totally transformed.

‘That story sticks in my mind. But there are thousands of young people across the capital whose lives are better now than they were when I came into office. So if you’re asking me for my legacy, hand on heart, there it is: confidence and social mobility. And I’m very, very proud of it.’

That ‘kid’ was Emmanuel Odujebe, now 13, who became one of the first children to be sponsored by the Mayor’s Music Fund (MMF), launched in 2011 to support some of the most musically talented children from the least privileged backgrounds in the capital.

They were provided with an instrument, weekly small-group tuition during the school day and, crucially, constant personal mentoring.

In addition, there was compulsory attendance at music ensembles on Saturday mornings, as well as regular opportunities to perform in concerts alongside professional musicians. The initiative was the brainchild of Johnson and one of his senior advisors, Veronica Wadley.

In that first year, 100 of the poorest children from 32 London boroughs were nominated by their music teachers to receive the four-year scholarships…

Read on here.

boris veronica emmanuel

Johnson, Wadley, with Emmanuel Odujebe, earlier this year. photo: Paul J Cochrane

His pal Denis Matsuev has published this birthday picture of the two of them in the deep.

gergiev swimming

Valery Gergiev is 63 today.

Denis’s message:

Сегодня день рождения у маэстро Гергиева, моего дорогого друга! Я его поздравляю, желаю оставаться в таком же гергиевском драйве, который заряжает всех, в том числе вашего покорного слугу! А ещё благодарю его за бесконечные великие импровизации! Потому что этой ночью мы с ним созванивались, и так получилось, что сегодня вечером мы с ним будем на сцене Концертного зала им. Чайковского играть Второй концерт для фортепиано с оркестром С. В. Рахманинова. Это в стиле маэстро Гергиева, и мне это очень нравится! Несмотря на сверхплотный график, я не могу отказать своему другу в день его рождения и буду с ним на сцене сегодня!
Today is the birthday of maestro Gergiev! My dearest friend! I congratulate him on it and wish him keep on his breathtaking drive, that affects everybody around, including your humble servant. And I thank him with all my heart for his great improvisations! Cause this night he called me and it happened so, that today we are performing Rachmaninoff’s Second piano concerto on the stage of Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. It is definitely Gergiev’s Style. And I love it! So we play Rachmaninov at Gergiev’s Birthday!

Mike Vincent is scooping overtime today on Musical Toronto.

He has pic and story of the teen scream turning out to hear three members of Opera Atelier sing for joy at Bieber’s father’s engagement. Toronto’s where it’s all at.

Read Mike here.

justin bieber party

Justin Bieber (l) with host Andy Curnew

We hear that Rion Wentworth has won the vacant doublebass seat in the New York Phil.

Nothing official yet. Their press dept. inhabits the 20th century.

rion wentworth


Rion has lived in New York City for the last fifteen years where he is a freelance musician. He has performed extensively with the New York Philharmonic including tours of the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He has also played with the New York City Ballet Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Rion teaches on the faculty of the Juilliard School’s Pre College division and at Hunter College.

Their opening Shostakovich release won a Grammy. Now DG has signed Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony to complete the cycle. Bold move: the outer symphonies – 1-3, 11-15 – never sell well.

press release:

The Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons, and Deutsche Grammophon have expanded their award-winning recording partnership by extending their original agreement, which focused primarily on Shostakovich Symphonies 5-10 (works composed during the period of Shostakovich’s difficult relationship with Stalin and the Soviet regime, mid-1930s to 1953), to include live recordings of the composer’s entire canon of 15 symphonies, plus the masterpiece opera, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.  The first album of the new partnership between the BSO, Nelsons, and DG, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, released in July 2015, won the Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance at the 58th annual Grammy Awards in February 2016.

[CD art - Symphonies 5, 8, 9]In addition to the news about the contract extension, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Deutsche Grammophon announce the second installment in their series of live recordings of Shostakovich’s music under the direction of BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons, to be released worldwide on May 27, 2016. The second installment of Shostakovich Under Stalin’s Shadow, a two-disc set, will feature Symphonies 5, 8, and 9, as well as incidental music to Hamlet; these works were recorded live during the BSO’s 2015-16 season.

press release:

Washington National Opera (WNO) today announced that American soprano Christine Goerke will sing the role of Brünnhilde in the Monday, May 2 performance of The Valkyrie, the second opera in Wagner’s epic Ring cycle, which WNO is presenting for the first time. She is stepping in for British soprano Catherine Foster, who injured her leg during the dress rehearsal of The Valkyrie on Saturday, April 23. Ms. Foster has been advised by her medical team to allow her leg to heal for a few more days before returning to the stage. At this time, she is expected to make her American stage debut in the performance of Siegfried, the cycle’s third opera, on Wednesday, May 4.

“While we are all very sorry to have to delay the introduction of Catherine Foster—the reigning Bayreuth Brünnhilde—to our Ring audience, we are grateful that an artist of the caliber of Christine Goerke has graciously agreed to step in at the last minute,” said WNO Artistic Director and Ring director Francesca Zambello.



Lukas Geniusas (2nd place) and Lucas Debargue (fourth) played the same venue this weekend.

Who won?

Mike Vincent says Toronto did: The point is not the competition itself (musicians are not racehorses, after all), but to compare and contrast the different approaches that make each pianist’s artistry unique.

Read on here.

lucas debargue st pete

It was confirmed this morning that Bellowhead-reject Jeremy Corbyn has accepted an invitation to appear at the mud-caked Glastonbury Festival.

jeremy corbyn

We hear some Glyndebourne donors would like to Trump that.

The Republican near-as-dammit nominee names Beverly Sills as a role model. He is fond of quoting the Met soprano’s maxim: ‘There are no short cuts to anywhere worth going.’

Watch out for his coiffed Meistersinger walk-on.


The city of Budapest has summarily cut its subsidy to the Budapest Festival Orchestra from HUF 260 million to 60m. The 80 percent reduction leaves the orchestra with the equivalent of less than 200,000 Euros ($220,000) in city support. There was no advance warning or consultation, and no reason has been given.

The orchestra has cancelled three concerts, a tour and a week of outreach concerts including the landmark synagogue concerts.

Ivan has announced a protest rally in Budapest on May 7 under the slogan ‘Budapest deserves more; a leadership that looks after the culture of this wonderful city.’

This weekend he issued a video denouncing the city’s decision. It drew 30,000 viewers in a day.
ivan fischer
The orchestra’s much-larger state funding – HUF 1,150 million – is unaffected.


Can’t be done?

Will be done.

In May 2020 at the centenary of the Göttingen Handel Festival. And all 42 in about two weeks.

‘We’re not sure of the finances,’ says intendant Tobias Wolff, ‘but the vision is there.’

handel halle