Joseph W. Polisi has decided to step down in June 2018. He will have been president of the school for 34 years.

The New York Times calls him ‘transformative’ and tributes are flowing in from all corners of the music establishment. Detractors see Juilliard as soulless and efficient, a well-run factory for career musicians.

Here’s the Juilliard announcement:

1/5/16 12:30-3:00 PM -- Chicago, IL, USA

Juilliard School visit to the Nord Anglia Chicago Campus in Lincoln Park

© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2016


NEW YORK, October 5 — Joseph W. Polisi, Juilliard’s sixth and longest-serving president, announced today that he will step down at the end of June 2018. Polisi will have been in office for 34 years, presiding over one of the most dynamic and successful eras in the school’s history, one that is marked by steady expansion of Juilliard’s activities within the school, into the broader community, and, especially in recent years, internationally. Juilliard’s board of trustees has appointed a committee led by Board Chair Bruce Kovner to conduct the search for Polisi’s successor.

During his tenure, Polisi has brought formidable gifts as public speaker, writer, and musician, as well as educator and administrator, to the execution of his duties as Juilliard’s president, transforming nearly every aspect of the school. His concept of “the artist as citizen” — the title of his 2005 collection of speeches exhorting performing artists to become informed, articulate, and involved arts advocates in the world community — has had ripple effects in arts education not only at Juilliard, but around the country and the world.

“It has been an immense honor to help lead this distinguished institution in partnership with a motivated and generous board, a brilliant faculty, a dedicated administrative staff, and extraordinary classes of highly talented student artists,” said Polisi. “Juilliard is a place that gives back to our global society by educating new generations of artists who enhance the enduring traditions embodied in the art forms of music, dance, and drama. I know that this important mission will flourish in the time ahead.”

“Joseph has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to artistic and educational integrity while fostering a spirit of community and humanity at the school,” noted Kovner. “For more than three decades, he has embodied and enhanced Juilliard values, elevating educational standards to include an emphasis on entrepreneurship and social responsibility. Joseph’s contribution to the field of arts education is unparalleled.”

Highlights of the remarkable number and diversity of initiatives overseen by Polisi include:

  • Creation of Historical Performance and Jazz Studies programs, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Drama
  • Construction of Juilliard’s first dormitory, the Meredith Willson Residence Hall
  • A major renovation and expansion of the Juilliard building, adding nearly 40,000 square feet of additional space to the Irene Diamond Building at Lincoln Center, supported by major gifts from the Irene Diamond Fund, the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, and Juilliard Board Chair Bruce Kovner
  • Development of The Tianjin Juilliard School in China, for which he serves as board chair, and which will offer a U.S.-accredited master’s degree – a first for any performing arts institution in China
  • Formation of the Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Program, a multifaceted collaboration involving an innovative arts education curriculum for students in grades K-12
  • Digital educational initiatives including the development of Juilliard Open Studios apps, online courses, and other products for the consumer education market
  • National and international touring programs for Juilliard’s Dance, Drama, and Music Divisions, and the commissioning of hundreds of new music, dance, and drama works
  • The Juilliard Manuscript Collection created through the donation of rare and invaluable items collected by Bruce Kovner, with digital images of materials freely available to all through the Juilliard Manuscript Collection website
  • Creation of the Alan D. Marks Center for Career Services and Entrepreneurship
  • Establishment of the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts
  • Extensive community engagement programs including the Morse and Gluck Fellowships and the Music Advancement Program
  • Numerous and extensive scholarship programs including the Kovner Fellowship Program, which covers the full cost of attendance, and the Jerome L. Greene Fellowship program, the first to offer full-tuition scholarships across all divisions

Polisi, 68, became the school’s president in September 1984, having previously served as dean of the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (1983–84). Prior to that he had been dean of faculty at the Manhattan School of Music (1980–83) and executive officer of the Yale University School of Music (1976–80). A native New Yorker, he studied bassoon with his father, William Polisi, who served on the Juilliard faculty (from 1951 to 1982) and was principal bassoonist of the New York Philharmonic (from 1943 to 1958). Joseph Polisi holds two master’s degrees and a doctorate from the Yale School of Music, and has continued to perform as a soloist and chamber musician throughout his career. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Arts in international relations from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from Yale University and eight other institutions, as well as Musical America’s “Educator of the Year” award for 2005.

Chorus member Pablo B. Strong takes his video camera in to work at English National Opera.

Here’s his latest opus on the general rehearsal, newly posted, beautifully done.

Pablo says: Please share.


Having grown swiftly disillusioned with young Lionel Bringuier, the Tonhalle orchestra is scouting for talent.

NZZ’s Christian Berzins has some thoughts on the subject, and a shortlist:

Young blood: Lorenzo Viotti (born 1990), or Krzysztof Urbański (1982);


Old masters:  Mariss Jansons (1943), or Charles Dutoit (1936);

Midlifers: Franz Welser-Möst (1960), or Philippe Jordan (1974).

Do not be surprised if Christoph Eschenbach drops in.

Full article here.


They are selling the cello bow once used by Jacqueline du Pre.

Price estimate: £20-30,000.

du pre macdomnictubbs_button_cap-250x2502x

Barry Stees of the Cleveland Orchestra informs us of the death on Monday of K. David Van Hoesen, long-serving principal bassoon of the Rochester Philharmonic and an Eastman teacher whose students sit in every major US orchestra and teach at most leading conservatories. He knew all there was to know about bassoon.

Just listen to his splendid solos in this William Schuman piece:

Van Hoesen was professor of bassoon at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (1950-54) and at Cleveland Institute of Music (1952-54) before joining Eastman in 1954. He was Cleveland’s second bassoon before joining Rochester.


He also played 64 years in the Lake Placid Sinfonietta, the longest known tenure of any bassoonist.

The first musical consequence of the Russian Revolution was the formation of Persimfans, an orchestra of equals that functioned without a conductor. It played for a decade, from 1922 until Stalin’s first purge.

Now Persimfans has risen again.

The pianist Peter Aydou has formed the orchestra with 112 Moscow friends and put on a first concert this week in the Big Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire.

Here’s how the Parsifal overture sounds without a maestro.

And here’s Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet overture.

Slipped Disc readers are the first to see these unofficial videos. Any thoughts?


Raphael Wallfisch and Jakob Kullberg have joined London’s Royal College of Music as professors of cello.

Starting today.

raphael wallfischjakob-kullberg


What began as a musicians strike is now turning into a full-scale lockout.

The following letter has been sent out to all employees, underlining the company’s intention to keep Heinz Hall open ‘for our patrons’. In order to do so, it may require us to hire replacement workers, either on a temporary or permanent basis, as will be determined by the business necessity that we face.

The letter was clearly written by a non-native English speaker.

Here’s the full letter, grammatical mistakes uncorrected, dated October 4:




Dear Employee,

We had hoped that the PSI and the Pittsburgh Musicians’ Union, Local No. 60-471, could have reached an agreement on all of the terms and conditions for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement without the decision to strike. However, we will continue to work to achieve an Agreement.

This letter is intended to explain your compensation and benefits during the time that you are on strike. All weeks that you have worked up to the date of the first day of the strike, September 30, 2016, that have not been paid, will be paid by us to you at the close of the next payroll period (mandatory deductions apply). No compensation will be paid thereafter.

By reason of this economic strike, as we understand it, you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits. Existing healthcare benefits were continued to be provided up to the last day of September, 2016. You will receive our standard COBRA letter that will offer healthcare benefit continuation thereafter at your own expense. No accrual toward any other fringe benefit will continue during the time that you are on strike. Please understand that this letter is not be intended to interfere with your protected rights under the National Labor Relations Act, as those rights are explained to you by your Union, nor is it to be interpreted as a comment on your decision to exercise your right to engage in an economic strike.

As stated above, it is intended only to serve as an information letter concerning your compensation and benefits as of this date. You must realize that the PSI has an obligation to keep Heinz Hall open and operating to serve our patrons and others as they expect and as may be required. In order to do so, it may require us to hire replacement workers, either on a temporary or permanent basis, as will be determined by the business necessity that we face. If we take that course of action, the PSI will assure you that it will provide to you all rights that are required by law.

A copy of this letter has been provided to your Orchestra Committee representative, Mr. Micah Howard. If you have any questions, please raise them with Mr. Howard and us for further explanation, if necessary.



Christian Schörnich

Senior Vice President & COO Pittsburgh Symphony, Inc.


pittsburgh heinz hall

Personnel details: Christian Schörnich joined the organisation as COO on January 1 this year, having previously worked at the United Nations. He is married to Pittsburgh Symphony violinist Eva Burmeister.

Melia Tourangeau, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony said on his appointment: ‘Christian Schörnich brings incredible management expertise to the Pittsburgh Symphony. His strengths in finance, business operations, negotiations, and change management align with my priorities for the role and my vision for the growth of the Pittsburgh Symphony.’

Sunday will be a big night for Olga Peretyatko.

Jonas Kaufmann has pulled out of the Echo Klassik awards as a result of his throat bleed, leaving Olga in the live television limelight to receive the Solo Recording of the Year award.

Olga last made the news when she got stabbed at the Met.

Among other presentations, the German culture minister Monika Grütters will present Alfred Brendel with a lifetime achievement award.

olga peretyatko

You may add this story to your collection of Brandenburg concertos.

The Intendant of the Brandenburg Theatre, Klaus Deschner, decided recently that it was time for the music director, Peter Gülke, to call it a day. Gülke, who is 82 and has been unwell, vehemently disagreed.



They shared some angry, vocal exchanges.

Then the musicians got involved, voting unanimously for Gülke, a nationally renowned figure, to remain.

So now it is Deschner, who is 73, who has been ordered to pack his bags at the end of the season.



Boston University has announced that Zachery Camhi, the double-bass student who went missing in New York on September 18, has been located. No details are being disclosed. Zachery has a history of bipolar illness.

Thanks to all who helped in ensuring his safety.



A stalwart of English opera, Thomas Round joined the D’Oyly Carte company while still a wartime fighter pilot and moved on in 1949 as a principal tenor to Sadlers Wells.

He appeared in the first full-length opera televised by the BBC – Traviata, with Heather Harper, 1955 – and in Beecham’s world premiere of the Delius opera, Irmelin. He also recorded several operas for EMI.

But his heart was the G&S. In 1963 he founded Gilbert and Sullivan For All, touring North America, Australia and beyond.

He died on October 2, two weeks before what would have been his 101st birthday.