News has come in of the death of Julia Gomelskaya, Ukraine’s most successful composer, together with her husband Sergei, an instrumental player. They had been together since student days, a devoted couple.


The pair were killed in a two-car smash on the Odessa-Nikolayev road three days ago while on their way to a concert marking the 80th birthday of Julia’s teacher, Alexander Krasotova.

Julia and Sergei were 52.

Julia, originally from Saratov in Russia, won a 1990s scholarship to the Guildhall in London, where she studied with Robert Saxton and received her first commissions, from the Spitalfields Festival and the Wigmore Hall.

In 2002 she wrote a chamber opera, The Divine Sarah, for BBC Radio 3.

In all, she leaves about 90 works.

A friend, in shock, describes Julia as ‘excellent personality, enormous talent’.

May she and Sergei rest in peace.

Our condolences to their daughter.


Northern Ireland Opera have picked Walter Sutcliffe as artistic director, replacing Oliver Mears who has gone to Covent Garden.

Sutcliffe has extensive experience as a stage director in Europe.

You wonder why he was not considered at ENO.


Official release:

Following an extensive recruitment process attracting applications from across the world, Northern Ireland Opera is delighted to announce opera and theatre director Walter Sutcliffe as its new Artistic Director. Walter will take up the position with the company in February 2017.

A graduate of the University of Cambridge and the Royal College of Music, London, and former Staff Director at Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf, Walter has extensive opera and theatre experience, and has directed critically-acclaimed productions which have been seen in the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, France and Estonia.

As stage director, Walter has been a regular guest at the Oper Frankfurt, and has directed productions for Teatro Regio di Torino, Semperoper Dresden, Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, Theater Magdeburg, Theater Chemnitz, Di Capo Opera, New York (where he directed the American stage premiere of Leoš Janáček’s first opera, Sarka), Klangbogen Festival, Vienna (where he directed the Austrian premiere of Michael Tippett’s The Knot Garden), and the Royal Academy of Music, London, amongst many others. Debuts at Teatro Municipal de Santiago, Chile and Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires are also planned.

The Scottish conductor Donald Runnicles has renewed his contract as Generalmusikdirektor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin for six more years, taking him to 2022. He’ll be 68 by then.


Runnicles retired this year as chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Connecticut train conductor Bob McDonough found the Yale Glee Club on his train at the weekend.

What could he do, folks? He conducted them, of course…



Two ensemble members of the Erfurt Theatre have been cast in the Met’s next season.

Vazgen Ghazaryan is a bass, Won Whi Choi a tenor. Both are fulltime ensemble members, little known outside Erfurt.



A city of 400,000 in the dead centre of Germany, Erfurt has a year-round opera theatre and symphony orchestra.

The two singers have been sworn to silence on their Met roles.


The Erfurt intendant Guy Montavon says: ‘The public here has long known that these are outstanding singers. This is a major career boost for them.’

Walter Meroz, bassoonist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra from 1951 to 1995 and teacher of three player generations, died last week at the age of 83.

A man of gentle ways, Walter served for many years and with immense tact as the orchestra’s disciplinary officer.

His most famous solo was in a deathless pop song, Arik Einstein’s Atur Mitzchech.

Watch at 3:04.


In the Argentine city of Moron, outraged parents attacked a trumpet player in the Cathedral, beating him so badly that he died of his injuries. The attack took place at the end of October. The musician died last week after a prolonged coma.


Marcelo Fabian Pecollo, a trumpet player in the Moron city orchestra, had been jailed in 2010 for 30 years for raping children as young as four years old. He was released in 2014 after his sentence was reduced.

He was taking part in a church charity concert when parents identified and attacked him, beating him – it is reported – with his own instrument.

There is a non-tabloid account of the lynch in La Nacion.


We are sad to share news of the death of Jerrold Rubenstein, a New Yorker who became concertmaster at La Monnaie orchestra in Brussels and later of the Belgian national orchestra.

A formidable chamber musician, widely recorded, Jerrold taught for 30 years at the Antwerp Conservatoire, and at Izmir and Dublin. He founded the Festival Mozart at Waterloo.


Our sympathies to his wife, the pianist Dalia Ouziel, and their family.

This country is going backwards.

BBC report:

More money was spent on vinyl than downloaded albums last week, for the first time.

Vinyl sales made the record industry £2.4m, while downloads took in £2.1m, the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) said.


bartok field recording

Staff have been told that Lorna Aizlewood is leaving, effective immediately.

Lorna, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel, has been an incredibly effective advocate for a company that is co-owned by a convicted fraudster and a wild-card Russian investor. She has produced consistently good returns and restored the artists’ agency side of the business to something resembling credibility.

All gone now.

We’ll update as more details come through.


First UPDATE: Deathly silence.


Among the slew of self-advertisements, the one that stands out is for Joey Alexander, a 13 year-old from Bali, who is nominated for jazz improvisation.

Joey is mentored by Wynton Marsalis.

joey alexander

Munich’s  Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz has named Anthony Bramall as its next chief conductor, starting in summer 2017.

Bramall, 59, is deputy music director at Leipzig Opera.

His Munich predecessor, Marco Comin, is leaving abruptly in protest at a downmarket trend in repertoire. he said: ‘If a house wants to do a lot of operetta and musicals, it needs a chief who can do these well. That is not me.’