Obituaries of Sylvia Peters, the veteran TV announcer of impeccable poise who presented the Queen’s Coronation in 1953, have dwelt on some of the hoops she was put through before the BBC accepted her natural authority.

One was requiring her to pronounce the name of a certain American orchestra.

Which? (and why?)


SOLUTION: Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, to eliminate lispers.

The hottest pianist of the moment, Daniil Trifonov, has cancelled his two dates at Tanglewood this week with an ear infection. He was playing last week at Verbier high altitude and departed in distress.

He is replaced by the Canadian Marc-André Hamelin in recital and by the Argentine Ingrid Fliter in Chopin’s second piano concerto.

It’s Ingrid belated debut with the Boston Symphony.



FliterIngrid0214col2_Sussie Ahlburg

The great Finn Jorma Hynninen announced at Savonlinna that yesterday’s recital was ‘with certainty my last professional performance.’ Jorma is 75.

His final set? Schubert’s Winterreise.

Jorma made his debut in 1970 and went on to sing at the Met, La Scala, Vienna and most major houses. He also elicited new operas from Finnish composers: Sallinen, Rautavaara and Kalevi Aho.

He leaves more than 100 recordings.

jorma hynninen

A German composer called Martin Gerigk has reduced the soaring Vaughan Williams masterpiece to string sextet.

See what you think. A bit anaemic?

You are watching a net premiere on Slipped Disc.

The soloist is Eric Silberger.


Musicians in Israel are mourning the death today of Andre Hajdu, one of the country’s most learned and modest composers. A student of Kodaly in Budapest and of Messaien in Paris, he settled in Jerusalem in 1966 and applied himself to exploring Jewish roots in music.

As head of the music department at Bar-Ilan University, he gently mentored two generations of composers and ethnomusicologists.

He and I had two intense Mahler conversations in which we disagreed totally and amicably.

Andre hajdu

He said once that he liked his audience to feel pleasure – amid some suffering.

The death has been announced of Elena Doria, chorus singer and, later, director of the children’s chorus at the Metropolitan Opera, spending 20 years in each role. She also earned movie credits for her work on Phantom of the Opera and helped train the children’s chorus at Covent Garden.

Born Elsie Marie Goldberg in Providence Rhode Island, she won a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Italy and returned to spend almost her entire career at the Met.

Elena Doria

McDonalds in Holland have launched a Maestro burger.

maestro shark

Can’t think who it looks like.

Any idea?

Bamberg Archbishop Ludwig Schick has launched a podium assault on Parsifal at Bayreuth, both at the present production and at Wagner’s original concept.

He said the opera was, from the outset, offensive to the Christian religion, which it sought to bury.

Read here.


The Munich opera festival has announced the sum of its ticket sales: 99.92 percent.

The Tirol Festival at Erl has just turned in results: 99.19 percent.

Sold out, to all intents and purposes.

To anyone who has attended a sold-out event, the excitement exists before the curtain rises. That gives a huge lift to the performers and allows the administrators to plan with confidence for the future. The atmospheric benefit is felt all around the country.

It has been a very long while since the Metropolitan Opera had a full house. An air of defeat has settled on the house. Maybe the solution is to close off 2,000 seats and pretend that it’s full.

The absence of that full feeling diminishes everything that is presented on stage.

met seats


The Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific and its subsidiary Dragonair have relaxed their rules on musical instruments in response to complaints from the local Sinfonietta.

The changes were announced with some fanfare in an article in the South China Morning Post. Text follows.

hong kong strings

Change in tune: Cathay Pacific and Dragonair relax carry-on baggage policy for musical instruments

New maximum size dimensions 93 by 39 by 24cm meant to address criticism from Hong Kong Sinfonietta and others

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 July, 2016, 12:09pm

UPDATED : Sunday, 31 July, 2016, 10:49pm


18 Jul 2016

Passengers are now able to carry larger musical instruments such as clarinets, erhus and violins on board as Cathay Pacific Airways and its subsidiary airline Dragonair relaxed their baggage policy.

The move came amid criticism from musicians that the airlines’ policy on musical instruments had been too rigid and deterred many high-profile musicians from flying with the carriers.

Under the new policy now in effect, the maximum dimensions for musical instruments considered as carry-on baggage is 93 by 39 by 24cm – almost three times larger than the previous dimension limit, according to a press release released by Cathay Pacific on Sunday.

Passengers may bring musical instruments such as clarinets, erhus, flutes, violas, trombones and violins into the cabin if the items are stored in a hard-bound case.

Previously, passengers were only allowed to bring “small musical instruments such as flutes or violins” measuring no greater than 78 by 25 by 15cm.

Many violinists were often forced to check in their instruments by the airline’s ground crew, who determined the instruments failed to meet the size requirements.

Hong Kong Sinfonietta had decided not to fly with the two airlines for its overseas performances after a dispute over a trombone in April in which ground crew insisted the instrument be checked in rather than carried as hand luggage.

Orchestra spokeswoman Amanda Mok said some instruments were extremely precious and could be irreparably damaged if they were kept with other luggage in the hold.

The Post earlier reported that Cathay Pacific was considering revising its baggage policy on musical instruments following a lunch in May between Hong Kong Bar Association chairwoman Winnie Tam Wan-chi and the airline’s senior management. During the lunch, Tam complained that her daughter could not bring her violin aboard on a trip to Beijing and urged the airline to relax its policy.

hong kong strings