The blind Italian crooner has agreed to sing one sing at the Presidential inauguration, according to TMZ.

It is further reported he may sing a duet with Jackie Evancho, with whom he has toured.


Cast members of the Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle have shot an episode at New York’s Rikers Island jail complex, playing Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Times for about 100 inmates.

The work was conceived by Messiaen in 1940 when he was held in a prisoner of war camp.

It will give his music its widest-ever exposure when transmitted. The episode, known as “Not Yet Titled,” has also not yet been scheduled.

Full story here.

The players in Camerata Nordica have yet to be told officially that their orchestra has been suspended, and why. The website names two responsible officials: Peter Högberg. President. Kjell Lindstrom. County Music Manager. 

This morning, the musicians issued the following puzzled and regretful letter:

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

To the Board and Administration of Camerata Nordica,

As members of Camerata Nordica it is simply impossible to imagine what could possibly have sparked your actions of the past week. At this moment we musicians are watching our orchestra crumble around us without a single comment from any of you on the meeting that took place last week or what precipitated the actions of which we have yet to be officially informed. As it stands now, this locally loved, nationally celebrated and internationally acclaimed ensemble is being blown up by a board and administration who show no respect towards its musicians who have devoted themselves to this ensemble through years of service, performing incredible productions and making internationally celebrated recordings.

On December 5th our February and March productions were cancelled without warning or justification. For the musicians who give their lives and careers to this orchestra this is a blatant violation of trust and creates an unworkable environment that no musician can be part of. As of today we have yet to be officially informed of the cancellation of these tours, and no justification or compensation has been offered. This gross negligence of management and communication is simply incomprehensible. A lack of management ability is not a reason to cancel productions and to do so without officially informing the musicians and without any dialogue whatsoever is indefensible.

On December 9th, Terje Tønnesen, our beloved artistic director and the visionary behind many of our most spectacular productions and acclaimed recordings resigned from his position. Shortly thereafter, Per Nyström, our principal cellist, the administrator responsible for our players, and the source of many if not all our great musicians and leaders over the last years, likewise resigned from his duties at Camerata Nordica. It must be clearly understood by the board and administration that these two individuals have been the driving force and the only reason for the success and acclaim of Camerata Nordica in the past decades.

To think that this orchestra can exist without either Terje or Per is to completely and fundamentally misunderstand what this orchestra is and how it evolved to be what it was until this week. The complete disappearance of the board and administration and their refusal to justify their actions or react to the resignation of their most important assets is impossible for any of us to understand.

We sincerely hope that these unwarranted decisions will be reversed immediately and that we can resume the hopeful path that has been years in the making.


Willem Stam

Torbjörn Westman

Ulla Raukola

Guy Ben-Ziony

Barbro Lennstam

Mihkel Kerem

Sadie Fields

Eleonora Matsuno

Sophie Rosa

Brusk Zanganeh

Vashti Hunter

Catherine Bullock

Max Mandel

Daniel Bard

Simona Bonfiglioli

Dinara Mansurova

Abigail Fenna

Pål Solbakk

Sergej Bolkhovets

Claudia Ajmone-Marsan

Nikolay Shugaev

Jonian Ilias Kadesh

Natasa Grujic

Robert Mende


The anonymous purchaser of the Du Pre-Harell Stradivarius has placed it on extended loan with the young Hungarian cellist István Várdai.

The ‘Du Pré-Harrell’, made in 1673, is one of fewer than 65 surviving Strad cellos. Past owners include Jacqueline du Pré (who also played the 1712 ‘Davidov’ Strad), the American cellist Lynn Harrell and the Russian-American Nina Kotova, wife of IMG co-owner Barrett Wissmann.

István Várdai, the 2014 ARD winner, has a recording of the six Bach suites out next month on Brilliant Classics.


The ultra-conservative philosopher was invited to speak at the Donaueschingen festival, birthplace of post-war musical modernism. Being English, he was very polite to them in his opening remarks.

Then he put the boot in.

Important composers from Schoenberg and Stravinsky to Ligeti and Stockhausen, have been premiered in this place and before this audience. Along with Darmstadt, Donaueschingen has helped to restore Germany to the central place in European musical culture that it has occupied in the past and will always deserve. Now, in its latest and securest phase as the Musiktage, the Donaueschingen festival has become a symbol of musical modernism, and it is a great honour to be invited to speak from this podium to one of the most educated musical audiences in the world today. But in this short talk I will try to outline why I question the prominence in our musical culture of the experimental avant-garde….

Read full text here.

For example:

The contrary obstacle also lies before us: the dictatorship of the difficult. Bureaucrats charged with giving support to the arts are, today, frightened of being accused of being reactionary. I suspect that everyone in this room is frightened of being accused of being reactionary. The history of the French salons in the 19th century, and of the early reactions to musical and literary modernism, has made people aware of how easy it is to miss the true creative product, and to exalt the dead and the derivative in its stead. The safest procedure for the anxious bureaucrat is to subsidize music that is difficult, unlikely to be popular, even repugnant to the ordinary musical ear. Then one is sure to be praised for one’s advanced taste and up-to-date understanding. Besides, if a work of music is easy to assimilate and clearly destined to be popular it does not need a subsidy in any case.



The label aims to capitalise on the success of neo-populist composers like Max Richter and Ludovico Einaudi by hiring an ex-Boosey publisher to develop new copyrights.

Press release:

London, December 14th 2016: Decca has appointed highly respected publishing executive Natasha Baldwin to launch a music publishing division dedicated to expanding the opportunities for neo-classical composers to write for television, film and video games.  Decca Publishing, which launches in the UK this week, will complement the classical division of Universal Music Publishing, one of the largest and most respected publishers of classical music in the world.

Baldwin joins Universal Music Group as Senior Vice President, Head of Decca Publishing from Imagem Music where she was Group President, Creative & Marketing. Based in London, she reports directly to Dickon Stainer, President and CEO Universal Global Classics, while working closely with the senior team at Universal Music Publishing in London, New York and Santa Monica.

With streaming services and mood-based playlists providing a new platform for original works by neo-classical composers, Decca will offer an aligned recording and publishing strategy for its artists and their unique creative projects, such as Ludovico Einaudi’s Elementson Decca and Max Richter’s Sleep on Deutsche Grammophon.

Decca Publishing will work with Universal Music Publishing Classical on appropriate projects and synchronisation opportunities involving their respective composers and repertoire. The new division will also enhance Universal Music UK’s other recent soundtrack composer initiatives, such as Globe Soundtrack and Score,  a label services offering for film makers and composers launched in conjunction with Abbey Road Studios. 

David Joseph, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music UK, says: “Bringing together records and publishing under one roof at Decca will help us build the UK’s number one home for modern classical composers. Natasha’s incredible knowledge and vision for the potential of neo-classical music mean she is uniquely qualified to be its architect.”

Dickon Stainer, President and CEO, Global Classics, Universal Music Group says, “Natasha Baldwin is an exceptionally skilled and experienced publishing executive with a renowned track record. Her appointment will enable us to offer new publishing and synchronisation services to our classical artists and neo-classical composers, alongside the recording activities of our legendary classical labels and the world-famous Universal Music Publishing Classical catalogue.”

Natasha Baldwin says, “Using the platform of global brand campaigns, movies and media exploitation I’ve spent many years proving the versatility and accessibility of classical and neo-classical music. We’ve reached a moment where the democratisation of music discovery via streaming is giving developing genres a voice like never before. Through Decca Publishing my goal will be to amplify this offering and further broaden the impact of neo-classical music worldwide.”

Baldwin has had an illustrious career within the publishing world. Latterly as Group President, Creative & Marketing for Imagem Music Group, she represented the rights of some of the world’s most celebrated artists including Elvis Presley, Pink Floyd and Mark Ronson alongside many of the world’s best-loved musicals and the classical Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishing composers. Her role saw her use brand partnerships and sub-publishing deals to build the company’s footprint in developing media and emerging music markets.

About Natasha Baldwin

Before joining the central team at Imagem in 2009 as Group VP, Synch and Creative Services, Natasha Baldwin spent seven years at Boosey & Hawkes in roles including Head of Music Consultancy (Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers) and Head of Sales (Cavendish Production Library Music). She is Chairwoman of the MPA Education and Training Board and a speaker for BPI, AIM and MPA. She was also a UK Imagem board director.

The board of the Camerata Nordica, based in Oskarshamn, Sweden, has cancelled the rest of the season and announced the resignation of artistic director Terje Tonessen. The reason given is ‘unstable finances’.

That’s the official side of things.

Unofficially, players tell us that nobody on the board or in the management could be bothered to reply to emails from Terje Tonessen for the past six months.

The musicians, who make recordings for the Bis label, are keen to continue. They want an investigation into the board’s use or misuse of public funds.

UPDATE: Suspended musicians appeal to silent board.

We have been notified by musicians in Vienna of the death of Paul Leggett, a respected and popular viola player and teacher in Australia.

Paul, 48, was swimming in Ellery Creek Big Hole, near Alice Springs, when he apparently suffered cramp and went under. His body has not yet been recovered.

Before moving to Alice Springs, Paul played as associate principal in the opera orchestra in Melbourne.

His sister, the cellist Sarah Porter, writes: ‘I don’t know how to begin to say that my brother tragically drowned yesterday in a waterhole just outside of Alice Springs on a school excursion. I feel devastated and in shock to lose such an amazing person. I will miss our times of joking and playing music together. Please rest in peace, Paul.’

The Royal Melbourne Philharmonic has posted: ‘Last night was a shock and today has been a hard day. A sad day. A reminder that we should never take people, or life, for granted. That all of those lucky enough to have music in their lives have a profound ability to share it with others and make the world a better place, even if at times life can throw you a tough gig and things don’t always seem to go your way. That every person is put on this earth for a reason, and that we should all respect those who want to undertake that reason without fanfare or financial reward. Today we have lost a good person who just wanted every child to have the chance to share his love of music. Rest in peace Paul Leggett. Your never ending enthusiasm will be missed my many.’

Our condolences to his family and many friends the world over.