Cello students in Fairbanks, Alaska, greeted their arriving teacher with a lantern-faced cello drawn in the snow.

‘They were hoping he’d see it when he flies in,’ said Alaska Cello Intensive director Rebecca Levey. ‘For these kids he’s like an idol, you know.’

Zuill Bailey is performing the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra.


Roger Kaiser has gone to ground. He has deleted six years of posts from his Facebook page and is not taking calls.

The Dallas opera fan is refusing to comment on his reckless act last Saturday, disrupting one opera and causing the cancellation of another. A friend says he’s really, truly sorry.

Dallas News reports:

Dallas actor Paul J. Williams, who said he communicated with Kaiser, his Facebook friend, on Monday. All Kaiser did, Williams said, was carry out a warm, loving gesture, an act of compassion made to honor a friend who loved opera. In other words, think of it as being no different than Chicago Cubs fans scattering their loved one’s ashes at Wrigley Field, which despite warnings against it, baseball fans are prone to do anyway…

Kaiser, Williams said, ‘had absolutely no intention or even thought that this would create a problem. He was doing it solely for his beloved friend. As far as I know, it was just a friend. I’ve never known Roger to be in a relationship.’


The organ of Putin post-truth reports small US demonstrations against Denis Matsuev, the president’s favourite pianist, using Cold War inflammatory language:

The US tour of outstanding Russian pianist Denis Matsuev was marred with attacks from rabid members of anti-Russian Signerbusters group.

The group organized a picket at Carnegie Hall prior to the concert of Denis Matsuev and accused the musician of supporting “Putin’s criminal regime.”

Later, Arts Against Aggression group in Boston organized a Halloween-style installation called “Putin & Matsuev House of Horrors” near the building of a local concert hall.

According to the organizers of the above-mentioned acts, US citizens should ask themselves whether it is appropriate to continue cooperation with the Russian artists, who support the policies of President Vladimir Putin.

Denis Matsuev runs many charitable programs, conducts youth music competitions and festivals for youth and children, such as “Stars on Baikal” and “Crescendo.”

Read on here.


Help Musicians UK has published the results of an extensive survey on musicians and mental health, said to be the largest of its kind undertaken anywhere in the world.

The data are fairly alarming. Some 71% of respondents admitted to anxiety and panic attacks and 65% reporting they had suffered from depression.

Out of 2,200 who responded, 768 said they worked in pop music, 689 in classical music, 676 in alternative, 649 in rock and 431 in electronica.


sibelius gallen-kalleia-drunk

Singers are sharing sad news of the death of Kent Cottam, a veteran Met chorister who retired two years ago.


Met Opera Chorus Retirement Party, April 22, 2014: Retired choristers Theresa Teng, Kent Cottam & Marty Singleton

Sony Classical are jubilant.

They have signed Natalie Dessay, a French icon, from Warner Cassics which, at it happens is based in France.

This is not good for Warner. Dessay made her name on former EMI under the guidance of Alain Lanceron, who steered her and EMI under the Warner umbrella. She and Lanceron are friends. Their work together has been outstanding.



But with the slowing of record sales she may have become frustrated with the lack of new releases.

Sony were waiting to pounce.

Press release below.


Natalie, with Novak Djokovic


Paris / New York, November 1, 2016 Sony Music Entertainment France is very proud to announce an exclusive long-term agreement with one of France’s most prominent artists, soprano extraordinaire and multi-faceted performer Natalie Dessay, whose recordings will be released worldwide by the Sony Classical division.

The hallmark of Natalie Dessay’s exceptional career has been a constant diversifying, renewing and expanding of her repertoire, from dazzling coloratura to tragic roles, from the fireworks of Mozart’s “Magic Flute” to the most heart-rending and fragile melodies françaises or her immensely successful collaboration with Michel Legrand. Natalie Dessay has pushed the boundaries of her original classical repertoire to Jazz, American musicals and the finest chansons. Her passions and performances are now spanning the entire spectrum of music.

Since her début at the Opéra Bastille in 1992 in Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffmann”, she has appeared continuously on all of the world’s leading opera stages, from La Scala, Milan, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, winning universal international acclaim for her performances. More recently, she has embarked on worldwide tours of recitals and concerts, her extraordinary stage presence establishing her not only as a singer but also as an actress who has conquered audiences far beyond the classical world.

After 22 years as a recording artist for Virgin Classics (now Erato/Warner), Ms. Dessay’s first release on Sony Classical will be “Pictures of America”, to be released on December 2, 2016. This astonishing musical journey through jazz and Broadway works inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper will be followed in the spring of 2017 by a collection of Schubert Lieder masterpieces.

Commenting on the new collaboration with Sony Classical, Natalie Dessay said: “I’m thrilled to work with Sony, who will accompany me in my new artistic life and new projects like Pictures of America, Michel Legrand’s new cycle of songs or the Schubert album with Philippe Cassard. Working with a new team is extremely invigorating and will allow me to explore new ideas, to go further in my own creativity and my taste for new musical territories.”

Hervé Defranoux, Director of Sony Classical and Jazz France: “Natalie Dessay is one of France’s most exciting and unique artists because she can embrace all musical genres with equal passion and success. She has built a consummate career and a continued artistic relevance without parallel. We are thrilled by the prospect of accompanying and further developing her fantastic musical path.”

Bogdan Roscic, President of Sony Classical: “I have always admired Natalie Dessay’s work, live and on recordings, because of the extraordinary degree of artistic freedom and the many ways of musical expression that she has created for herself. Going beyond interpretations of the standard repertoire, she has pursued many diverse concepts with a curiosity and authority that have put her at the very top of our industry. The Sony Classical teams around the world are greatly looking forward to starting our collaboration with her.”

While Fort Worth and Pittsburgh are on strike to resist an imposed wage cut, musicians of the Portland Symphony Orchestra in Maine have been offered jam today, jam tomorrow.

The musicians have signed a four-year deal, involving a four percent rise this year, and another four percent next.

That sows confidence.

The PSO is a fairly modest operation, running on $2 million a year. The music director is Robert Moody. The executive director is Carolyn Nishon.


After years of being blocked by GEMA, the rights agency, the free online channel will be available immediately to German viewers under a new licensing agreement, signed this morning.

First reports here and here.

Youtube was last seen in Germany in April 2009. Since then, all German viewers have seen is this:



As of this hour, that sign has disappeared (you may cherish it as a collector’s item).

Youtube’s re-emergence is a setback for classical streaming services, which have thrived better in deprived German lands than elsewhere due largely to lack of free alternatives.



In a brazen dilution of a cherished brand, the BBC has licensed BBC Proms Dubai, a mini-festival.

‘The BBC Proms will travel to the Gulf state for four performances next March,’ it has been locally announced.

The music will be performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers, the musicians’ first visit to the UAE …

The six concerts over four days include classical repertoire, British music and new music — including works by Dubai-based composers Joanna Marsh and Mohammad Fairouz, and Australian-Egyptian composer Joseph Tawadros’ Quartet. The BBC Proms Dubai concerts will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

It wouldn’t be the BBC Proms without the Last Night Of The Proms, the traditional end to the festival that sees flag-waving music fans sing along to Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea-Songs, Thomas Arne’s Rule, Britannia! and Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (aka Land of Hope and Glory).

The festival is all part of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Cultural Collaboration led by the British Council, meaning there will also be workshops, masterclasses and open rehearsals.

David Pickard, Director, BBC Proms says: “I am delighted that the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers will be performing at Dubai Opera for the inaugural BBC Proms Dubai, giving audiences in the UAE an opportunity to sample a taste of the BBC Proms experience. Through this series of concerts and learning events we hope to give the audience an idea of what the Proms are all about, making classical music accessible through quality music-making, outreach work, affordable ticket prices and broadcasts.”

andrew davis proms2

Jasper Hope, Dubai Opera Chief Executive says: “The BBC Proms is a magical festival which I know extremely well from my time at the Royal Albert Hall and I’m thrilled that for the first time ever, residents of and visitors to Dubai will be able to enjoy a taste of the world’s greatest classical music festival right here at Dubai Opera. This is yet more evidence that Dubai Opera is becoming the definitive destination in the GCC for the very best music and entertainment from the whole world, as well as being a stage on which we can celebrate the best in local and regional talent to the broadest possible audience.”


In the expanding battle over image rights, Lawrence Brownlee has got in first.

The successful tenor kicked off his own opera news station this weekend at the Richard Tucker awards.

‘Larry, you’re so bad!’ exclaims one of his colleagues.

And funny.

I’m excited to announce the launch of my new TV News station #LBTV! For our first segment, our intrepid field reporter L.B. Everston was on-scene at this past Sunday’s Richard Tucker Music Foundation 2016 Gala at Carnegie Hall, asking the tough questions to some of opera’s biggest stars, including AILYN PÉREZ, Javier Camarena, Jamie Barton and 2016 Tucker Award-winner Tamara Wilson. Enjoy, and we’ll see you next time on LBTV!

An arts complex, including the emirate’s first opera theatre, was inaugurated last night by the Italian crooner.

The opera house seats 2,000. No programme has yet been announced.