Gene Gutowski, a Holocaust survivor, has died of pneumonia in Warsaw, aged 90.

He made three films with Roman Polanski in the mid-Sixties –  Repulsion, Cul-de-Sac and The Fearless Vampire Killers – had a falling out, then approached him again at the turn of the century to make The Pianist, a film that reflected their common experience in Warsaw under German occupation.


the pianist

The international US bass Steven Humes was trying to explain to his little daughter why he’s away from home so much – and then she took control.

‘No matter what the show,’ says Estella, ‘ he always sings LOUD’.

Steve tells Slippedisc: ‘Narrating it helps my daughter understand and be part of my travels a bit. It takes the edge off the 6 week trip!’

steven humes


We have reports of the death of Friedrich von Huene, founder of the Early Music Shop of New England and a pioneer in reproducing 18th century recorders.

von huehne

Joel Cohen of the Boston Camerata writes:

from the Music Director Emeritus

We render deepest homage to the great Friedrich von Huene, who died peacefully last Sunday near his wife Ingeborg, their children, and grandchild.

You will be reading elsewhere about Friedrich’s enormous contribution to the early instrument revival, his pioneering studies of historic wind instruments, his success in creating an independent business, and his profound influence on a younger generation of craftsmen/instrument makers.

But what I want to evoke right now, so gratefully, is Friedrich’s wonderful presence in, and enthusiasm for, the art of early music. He and Inge were charter members of the Camerata of the Museum of Fine Arts (now the Boston Camerata), and their skill on a range of instruments, and evident love for the repertoires, made a deep and lasting impression on the youngster I was in 1963, performing for the first time with the ensemble. Friedrich loved to play. He had a rich and personal sound on recorders and flute, and his forward-looking energy imparted vitality and focus to what was at that early point a sometimes-tentative mix of professionals and amateurs.

Friedrich continued to perform with Camerata for several seasons after its change in directorship, and co-founded, with me, the Cambridge Consort. He and Inge remained connected for many years with the world of Boston performance, encouraging young musicians and mentoring so many of us with good advice and friendship. Friedrich and Inge, it must not be forgotten, were co-founders of the Boston Early Music Festival; their vision for our field lives happily on, and continues to inspire us.

I and the Boston Camerata are honored to have known Friedrich von Huene as colleague, mentor, and friend. At this time of sadness, but also of consoling memory of a life well lived, we send loving condolences to his wife and family.

Joel Cohen 5/11/2016

Vasily Petrenko, 39, philharmonic music director in Liverpool and Oslo, has taken on the Svetlanov Symphony Orchestra as principal guest conductor.


vasily petrenko

He will be working with its artstic director, Vladimir Jurowski.


Amid political paralysis, we hear that the wonderful musician Gilberto Gil has been rushed to hospital with kidney issues. Gil was minister of culture in the previous government and a figure of universal respect.

gilberto gil

We wish him a swift recovery.

From the NY Times obit of Star Trek actor William Schallert:

He attended the University of California, Los Angeles, with the intention of becoming a composer, studying at one point under Arnold Schoenberg. But, he said, he came to the conclusion that he could not “work fast enough to make a living” in music, and his interest turned to acting.

Who knew?

arnold-schoenberg smoking

The archetype Elektra of our times has a big birthday cming up at the end of the month.

She was born on May 26, 1921. Some say, 1917.

Either way, it’s good to know she’s still around.

Forum Opera reports the death of Hélène Jossoud, a popular mezzo in French opera houses.

The venerated Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini began his Hamburg recital last night with an audio statement by an 18 year-old Afghan refugee. The concert was in a series themed ‘Freedom’.

The audience erupted in boos.

Pollini then sat down and played Schoenberg’s Six Little Piano Pieces, a performance which he dedicated to the memory of Pierre Boulez. The puzzled public could not see the connection.

Review here (in German).

boulez pollini

Klaus Maetzl, violinist in the Alban Berg Quartet, concertmaster of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and much-loved professor of the vienna music university passed away on May 4.

Klaus played in the quartet for its first 10 years, leaving in 1981.

klaus Maetzl

The frost has thawed.

Twelve years after he stormed out of La Scala, Riccardo Muti will give two concerts there in January with the touring Chicago Symphony Orchestra, it was announced last night.

One barrier, however, remains.

After the musicians side with his enemies in a vote of no-confidence in March 2005, Muti said he would not conduct the La Scala orchestra again. When he does, peace can truly be declared.

riccardo muti solemn