press release:

Milwaukee, Wis. (May 25, 2016)  – Viswa Subbaraman today announced he will be leaving his position as artistic director of Skylight Music Theatre effective July 31, 2016, in order to focus on his conducting career and commitment to new opera works. Following his departure, he will serve as artistic advisor to Skylight through January 2017.

Subbaraman made the announcement as he prepared for a 7 ½ week residency at Opera Saratoga in New York, where he will conduct the American premiere of the major new work by Philip Glass, “The Witches of Venice,” from July 1 -17, 2016.

Subbaraman was appointed artistic director at Skylight in September 2012, and launched his inaugural season in 2013-14. …Among the critically acclaimed productions Subbaraman conducted at Skylight were Thomas AdesPowder Her Face, Hans Werner Henze’s El Cimarrón, Philip Glass’ Hydrogen Jukebox and a Bollywood version of Beethoven’s Fidelio. He also programmed traditional operas such as Puccini’s Tosca and Rossini’s La Cenerentola, reimagining them for Skylight’s 350-seat Baroque theater. Subbaraman conducted the world premiere of Somtow Sucharitkul’s The Snow Dragon, which became the Skylight Music Theatre’s first international touring production. Most recently, Subbaraman conducted Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar, a co-production between Milwaukee Opera Theatre and Wild Space Dance Company.



The inter-Berlin orchestra championship ended today with a weak victory for the Philharmonic, who seem incapable of scoring a goal in open play.

They beat the Deutsche Sinfonie Orchester (DSO) on penalties in the semi-final and the orchestra of Deutsch Oper by the same method in the final.

The BPO team seem far too pleased with themselves.

Wait til Louis Van Gaalhoven arrives as the new manager.

berlin phil football winners

L-r: Amihai Grosz, Gunars Upatnieks, Olaf Ott, Zoltán Almási, Lukas Böhm, Nikolaus Römisch, Philipp Bohnen, Wieland Welzel, Mathis Stier, Tomás Jamnik (Foto: Rosmarie Arndt)

A report commissioned by the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, following 30 cases of sexual abuse of pupils across the city has recommended that conservatoires should end one-on-one music lessons as a child protection measure.

Music teachers are outraged.

Report here (en francais).

child abuse

The Daily Telegraph was the first broadsheet newspaper to abolish its arts editor, her deputy and the dedicated arts desk a couple of years ago.

After the clearout, arts stories in the paper were handled sensitively and by Andrew Pettie, who held the title Head of Arts and Entertainment.

Today (we hear) Andrew is among a dozen senior staff who were told that their jobs are considered redundant, following a survey by a management consultancy firm.


andrew pettie


The pianist Luis Batlle, a key figure for five decades at Marlboro Music School and Festival and mentor to such noted pianists as Jonathan Biss, Yefim Bronfman, Murray Perahia and Peter Serkin, died today, May 25, at his home in Marlboro of complications from Parkinson’s Disease. Luis was 85.

luis Batlle



Mitsuko Uchida, Marlboro’s Artistic Director, said: ‘Luis was a ‘Mensch’ with integrity and honesty. He carried his intellectual and highly cultured background lightly.  I loved the simplicity in his music-making.  It was in 1974 that we first met in Marlboro and we were friends ever since.

Luis was the one who phoned me in 1993 to ask whether I was prepared to join Andras Schiff and Richard Goode as an ‘Interim Artitsitc Advisor’ for Marlboro.  He explained that ‘they think you like me, that’s why I am phoning you.’ My answer was that I might be truly interested in being involved with Marlboro, but I may not be a suitable choice.  I am a committed chamber musician, but my life is that of a soloist.’ His answer was, ‘It is not your business, it is our business to think about that.’  This was typical of Luis, and I said yes.  Here I am, still at it.  Marlboro without Luis will be a sad place.  We will all miss him.’


luis batlle2

Born in Montevideo on October 19, 1930, he was a member of one of Uruguay’s leading political families – his brother Jorge Batlle Ibanez (2000-2005) and his father Luis Conrado Battle Berres (1947-1951) served as Presidents of the country, as did a great uncle, Jose Batlle y Ordonez (1899, 1903-07, 1911-15) who instituted a series of progressive reforms that shaped the modern day republic.

As a child, his health was frail and because he enjoyed music and singing, his mother, who came from a musical family, borrowed a piano from an uncle to give young Luis’ life a focus.  His brother Jorge described that event – “one day, he sat down at the piano and never got up.” Batlle recalled memorable musical experiences growing up in Montevideo -“hearing Beniamino Gigli at age sixty and still in his prime. He was incredible in Il Trovatore and Carmen.” The young pianist also experienced touring Italian opera companies and was very taken by the performances of the great Austrian conductor Erich Kleiber.  There experiences heightened his desire to make music his life.

In Montevideo, he studied with Victoria Schenini and Wilhelm Kolischer, a pianist from Poland closely associated with Anton Rubenstein.  In1951, he won an award from the Chopin Foundation that allowed for three years of advanced studies in Paris with Yves Nat and later,  with Rudolf Serkin in Philadelphia. He, subsequently, served as Director of the Kolischer Conservatory in Montevideo.

He has concertized around the world, including performances with such artists as Salvatore Accardo, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Pina Carmirelli, Miriam Fried, Jaime Laredo, Benita Valente and Harold Wright. He was a juror for the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1974 and the Bach Competition in Washington, DC in 1976. In March 1985, Batlle played at the inauguration of Uruguay’s first democratically elected president since the military coup of 1973.

As part of the celebration of Marlboro College’s 40th anniversary, he performed all 32 Beethoven sonatas in eight concerts in conjunction with a course on Beethoven’s life.

Simon Robey is stepping down.

His replacement is energy trader Ian Taylor, a long-serving board member and donor.

Corporate press release here.


The Royal College of Music Orchestra have contrived to be a flash-mob at London’s Science Museum.

rpo science museum

Not sure what the point might be.

It’s the third or fourth orchestral flashmob we’ve been sent this month.

The venerable Dessoff Choirs have named Malcolm J. Merriweather as their ninth music director.

‘Malcolm is one of the bright rising stars of his generation of choral conductors,’ said Kent Tritle, Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Dessoff’s music director, 1996-2004. ‘Dessoff is close to my heart… Knowing them as I do, it is my great expectation that their new synergy with Malcolm will lead to new heights of artistic achievement.’

Malcolm Merriweather is also Director of Choirs at Brooklyn College, associate choirmaster at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and music director of the Voices of Haiti children’s choir in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


malcolm j merriweather

Within 24 hours of losing the coveted pianist Beatrice Rana, IMG has signed Conrad Tao, formerly with Opus3.

Tao, a composer and pianist, has a major premiere coming up next month with Jaap Van Zweden in Dallas.


The Times Higher Educational Supplement, looking at rewards for academic fat cats, has provided a search engine for salaries at most UK institutions of higher education.

So here’s the 2015 pay scale we’ve derived for running a music college or conservatoire in the UK:


royal academy of music

1 Royal Academy of Music – Jonathan Freeman-Attwood – £286,613

2 Royal College of Music – Colin Lawson –                              £217,431

3 Trinity Laban – Anthony Bowne –                                          £186,211

4 Guildhall School of Music and Drama – Barry Ife –            £171,000

5 Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – Jeffrey Sharkey –         £159,000

6 Royal Northern College of Music – Linda Merrick –         £146,000

7 Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts – Mark Featherstone-Witty – £136,884

There are some glaring anomalies here. The two London-based royal institutions appear to enjoy inflated wages. Impossible to justify paying the Royal Academy chief twice as much as the head of the Royal Northern (or is it cos she’s non-male?). Why are the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Birmingham Conservatoire unlisted?

On a national scale, the highest paid university chiefs are those at Durham, Middlesex and Salford, hardly the greatest centres of excellence.

Read the full THES article here.


Fascinating article by the Telegraph’s deputy finance editor on how Georg Frideric Handel played the London markets during the boom years of the South Sea Bubble and after.

Apparently, Handel performed much better than Sir Isaac Newton, achieving a thousandfold return on his initial investment.

Handel’s investing career took a perhaps familiar course: after an initial, highly risky foray into the stock market, he decided to stick to safer assets that paid a steady income. In fact the shares he chose to buy in the early days were in the notorious South Sea Company, which ruined many investors, including Sir Isaac Newton.

The German-born composer, however, was luckier and appears to have liquidated his holding in the enterprise by 1719 – just a year before the share price suffered its notorious, spectacular collapse.

Read on here.

handel halle

Elisabeth Braw in the Economist reports an alarming phenomenon by which some leading churches have become breeding grounds for trivial pop exploitation bands.



Die Prinzen, one of Germany’s most popular pop bands, consists of former pupils in the St Thomas Choir of Leipzig (pictured). So does the internationally-celebrated Amarcord, a classical group. The Choirboys, a British boy band, consists of two former trebles at Ely Cathedral and one from Southwell Minster. The members of Elliot Minor, a punk group, met as trebles at York Minster.

Read on here.

BBC - The Impossible Orchestra