All concerts are off for the rest of the month.

The hardline board have pushed the strike on into October.

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Details here.

Worth noting that the board is chaired by Mercedes Bass, who sits on both the Met and Carnegie hall boards.

The cancellations include three concerts scheduled for Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 that featured pianist Stephen Hough performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

“We regret that we had to cancel these performances due to the ongoing strike. The continued and loyal support of patrons and ticket holders during this difficult time is truly appreciated,” said Mercedes Bass, chairman of the symphony’s board of directors, in a statement. “The management and board are steadfastly committed to operating in a responsible manner to secure the future of this orchestra.”

Joyce DiDonato ill appear on the BBC’s long-running Desert Island Discs next Sunday.

You can listen and download here.

More intriguingly, you can start making lists of the eight records she’ll choose to take, the big book and the single luxury.

My guess is she’ll have Marilyn Horne in some bel canto and Billie Holiday in some can belto.

That leaves six discs.

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We’ll offer a CD prize for whoever gets closest to her final selection.

Benoît Cambreling bowed out this weekend as principal timpanist of the Orchestre National de Lyon after 45 years with, as you’d expect, a well-timed Sacre de Printemps.

Benoit, who is 63, has a formidable international following. Since 2011 he has been professor of percussion in Shanghai.

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Scroll through the interview to 1:51:20 and you will see  U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Ann Claire Williams and chorus sing a new Habanera for the great legal mind.

Watch.
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The conductor deals engagingly with comments and queries in three languages: Spanish, German and (mostly) English.

‘Please continue to send inquiries,’ he concludes. ‘I am very interested in your opinion.’

The US-based Italian soprano, who retired from singing in 2002, has announced a teaching program in Florida.

Press release:

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Naples, Florida (September 20, 2016) – Opera Naples’ inaugural “Renata Scotto Opera Program” is offering a once-in-a-life-time opportunity for exceptional singers from around the world who are seeking specialized musical instruction with the legendary opera star, Renata Scotto. Additionally, opera supporters can grant a gift of an underwriting sponsorship or scholarship towards the “Renata Scotto Opera Program.” The world renowned Italian soprano, stage director and teacher is known by millions as one of the greatest singers of all time. As a participant of the “Renata Scotto Opera Program,” select singers will receive multiple private voice lessons with Mme. Scotto, as well as vocal coachings from an expert staff on the repertoire of their choosing. In addition to public masterclasses, each session of the “Renata Scotto Opera Program” will conclude with four concerts, open to the public, scheduled January 21, January 25, March 13, and March 18, 2017 at the Wang Opera Center. An Evening in Monaco Annual Benefit Gala hosted by Renata Scotto is Friday, January 20, 2017 at 6 pm at the Ritz-Carlton,Tiburon in Naples, Florida.  

Opera Naples’ Artistic Director, Ramón Tebar will partner with Mme. Scotto on the execution of the program and masterclass concerts. Mr. Tebar, a long time colleague of Renata Scotto, was instrumental in securing the “Renata Scotto Opera Program” exclusively to Naples, Florida. When asked about the program, Mr. Tebar explains, “Artistic education is a column of our society. In an organization like ours, we are striving to transmit art, music and outreach to young talent and the community at large. Renata is one of the best sopranos in history and I couldn’t think of anyone better to lead this opera program for Opera Naples.” 

The “Renata Scotto Program’ is an outreach opportunity for businesses to partner with Opera Naples in support of continued education for future opera performers and receive frequent recognition at a local, national and international level. Along with top acknowledgements through all publicity and internet marketing efforts, sponsors and scholarship donors will be provided concert tickets that include meeting Renata Scotto, Ramón Tebar and the performers.  For more information about the Renata Scotto Opera Program, the Gala and concert tickets, visit operanaples.org

A few days ago we received a complaint from an Asian contestant that a well-known professor on the jury of an international competition in Europe had given top marks to his own son.

Without shame. As a matter of routine.

This happens all the time.

Zakhar Bron is a notorious giver of high marks to his pupils, who are also promoted by his own agency. When they win, so does he – three times over.

Boris Kushnir is another known offender for advancing his own proteges.

Who cares? We do.

Competition fixing is not a victimless crime. At the nepotistic contest cited above, 74 hopefuls had paid their way to a fashionable and expensive European location in the hope of winning a career boost. When the competition is rigged, the money they spent is effectively stolen from them by corruption.

Those who care for young artists, as one Shanghai judge told me he did, must be aware that young artists and their families are being ripped off every time they enter a fixed competition.

There is a simple solution: Judges cannot be allowed to vote for their own pupils. And teachers should be heavily outnumbered on juries by non-teachers.

We commend those competitions which have cleaned up their act: Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Enescu, for instance.

And we will continue to call out every known instance of teacher-pupil collusion, until the practice stops.

 

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It’s part of the job, says Dutch Minister of Education and Culture, Jet Bussemaker, smartly dismounting her bike.

Watch.

 

We hear that the frail conductor, 87, has cancelled the LSO in November.

He may be giving up long-distance travel.

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The opening production of Tristan and Isolde, conducted on Monday by Simon Rattle and sung by Nina Stemme and Stuart Skelton, has suffered an unfortunate clash with the first Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton TV debate.

Bloomberg reports: Julie Macklowe, founder of skincare-products maker vbeaute, is splitting her evening, starting with Wagner’s tragic love story and then leaving Lincoln Center “to catch the slugfest” before the final act. “There will probably be a mass exodus out of the opera then,” she said.

There could also be a similar walkout from the live simulcast crowd on Times Square.

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Seong-Jin Cho, 22, will make his concerto debut with the Warsaw Philharmonic at the Lincoln Center on October 24, and his recital debut at Carnegie Hall next February.

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No less interesting, the orchestral concert will include the New York premiere of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s fourth symphony. Wish we were there.

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From the London Symphony Orchestra:

The LSO was sad to hear of the death of former Principal Bass Clarinet John Stenhouse on 28 August 2016 at the age of 74.

John began his career in the BBC and English National Opera. He played as a freelance musician with all the major orchestras and ensembles before joining the LSO… He retired from the Orchestra in 2007.

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