From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

Amid the seasonal rock fall of weird-shaped box sets and unopenable record turkeys, one project stands out as indispensable in both musical and moral dimensions….

So who are we talking about?

…  resisting celebrity, Communism and the temptations of the music world, taught the next three generations of leading harpsichordists from her home …

Any closer?

Read on here.

Or here.


Joshua Brown from Gurnee, Illinois, has been handed a 1679 Pietro Guarneri violin on long-term loan by a patron of Chicago’s Stradivari Society, a division of the instrument dealers Bein & Fushi.

A somewhat stunned Josh said: ‘Playing such a high caliber instrument really opens up so many more ways for me to express myself as a musician.’

It’s… David Cooper.

He’s from Michigan, presently principal horn of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

He likes dogs.


photo ©

This is the second principal horn position. It was last held by Radek Baborak who left the orchestra in 2009.

The search to replace him has taken seven years.

Stefan Dohr is the first principal horn.


This is what it’s like to sit in the middle of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra with music director Daniel Harding in a 360-degree video from yesterday’s rehearsal of Stravinskys “the firebird”.

Daniel says: ‘Absolutely terrifying video of how it is to sit in the orchestra and attempt to decipher the wild gyrations of a conductor…’

press release:

Violinist Michael Barenboim releases his debut solo album in January 2017 featuring the unusual juxtaposition of Bach, Bartók and Boulez. Three works demanding huge technical capabilities and pushing the boundaries of the violin’s playability, the album includes J.S. Bach’s Sonata in C Major BWV1005, Bartók’s Sonata Sz.117 and Boulez’s Anthèmes I & II. The latter, which Michael Barenboim recorded at IRCAM, is a celebration of a long history of collaboration between the late composer and the soloist, who worked on Anthèmes together….

Michael Barenboim was brought up in a multicultural environment between Berlin and Paris, is fluent in several languages and studied Philosophy at the Sorbonne.

photo: © Chris Christodoulou/Lebrecht Music&Arts


Menahem Pressler is back today in Madgeburg, where he was born, giving two concerts with the town orchestra.

The town has announced that from 2017 it will award an annual Menahem Pressler prize.

Happy birthday, Menahem, and many, many more.


The Austrian Ministry for Enviroment and Agriculture has drawn public attention to a resolution by CITES, the conference on endangered species, which bans the import or export of products made of black woods (grenadille, palisander and others) from January 1, 2017.

The is would affect oboes, clarinets, guitar and the fingerboards of some violins.

You may be asked to show proof that you owned the instrument before January 1, 2017.

Here’s the resolution. Be prepared.


Vesa Siren reports that the Finnish maestro will be conducting an orchestra of Juilliard School and Sibelius Academy students at concerts in Helsinki and the Lincoln Center. Read here (if your Finnish is up to it).

UPDATE: Here’s a hat-doffing statement from the Sibelius Academy:

The Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki and the world-famous Juilliard School in New York will join forces, forming a joint symphony orchestra to celebrate the centenary of Finland’s independence. The orchestra will give concerts at the Music Centre in Helsinki on 26 August, at the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm on 28 August and at Lincoln Center in New York City on 5 September 2017. The orchestra will be conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, an alumnus of the Sibelius Academy.

The tour programme will feature both Finnish and American music: Four Legends from the Kalevala (Lemminkäinen Suite), Op. 22, by Jean Sibelius (1895/1897), Mania by Esa-Pekka Salonen (2000) and Radical Light by Steven Stucky (2006–2007), the latter inspired by Sibelius’s Fourth and Seventh Symphonies. Cellist Jonathan Roozeman will appear as soloist in Salonen’s work. The orchestra will have some 80 members – half of the orchestra will come from the Sibelius Academy and half from Juilliard. The musicians representing the Sibelius Academy will be selected by audition during February and March.

Tuomas Auvinen, the Dean of the Sibelius Academy, is in charge of the project and is pleased that this joint tour came together for Finland’s centenary year.

“It is excellent to be able to celebrate Finland’s independence with a student project shared with both Juilliard and Esa-Pekka. We combine tradition with skills and youthful enthusiasm. We are internationally oriented and boldly forward-looking. High-quality education and international mindset mark the way forward for our country’s next 100 years,” says Auvinen.

Meeting of the world’s best music schools

Founded in 1905, the Juilliard School is considered the best performing arts university in the world. Last March, it was ranked first in the QS World University Ranking, in which performing arts were included for the first time. The Sibelius Academy was ranked 7th – the only Finnish university in the top 10.

Collaboration between the Sibelius Academy and the Juilliard School was launched in 2005 with a visit from the Juilliard orchestra to Helsinki as part of the school’s centenary tour. The following project in 2013 involved performances by a chamber orchestra with students from both universities in New York and Helsinki, and it was supported by Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation.

The 2017 tour is also made possible by a substantial grant from the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation. The tour is a part of the programme for the centenary celebrations in Finland. The Sibelius Academy Foundation and Wärtsilä are also sponsoring the tour.

The rehearsal period for the tour will be held in Helsinki on 23–26 August 2017.


The Vienna State Opera has announced the death of Lotte Rysanek-Dörler, at the age of 93.

Lotte Rysanek was an ensemble member for three decades, appearing in almost 1,000 performances of close to 50 roles, including Marzelline, Musetta, the Countess (Le nozze di Figaro), Leonora (Il trovatore) and Cio-Cio-San.

She was the much-loved sister of the internationally renowned Leonie Rysanek, who died in 1998.

Lotte Rysanek wurde am 18. März 1924 in Wien geboren und erhielt ihre Ausbildung am Konservatorium der Stadt Wien. Ihr Bühnendebüt gab sie 1950 am Klagenfurter Stadttheater als Manon. Ihr erster Staatsopernauftritt war am 5. November 1954 (Wiener Staatsoper im Volksoperngebäude) als Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly). Von 1. September 1956 bis zur ihrer Pensionierung am 31. August 1987 war sie Ensemblemitglied der Wiener Staatsoper, wo sie weiters u. a. Agathe (Der Freischütz), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Marzelline (Fidelio), Leonora (Il trovatore), Mimì (La Bohème), Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Giulietta und Antonia (Les contes d’Hoffmann), Nedda (Pagliacci) verkörperte. Zu ihren meistgesungen Partien zählen Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte – 87 mal), Musetta (La Bohème – 67 mal), Stimme vom Himmel (Don Carlo – 53 mal) sowie
Helmwige (Die Walküre), die sie sogar 109 mal, auch bei ihrem letzten Auftritt im Haus am Ring am 3. Dezember 1987 sang. Insgesamt verkörperte sie an der Wiener Staatsoper 46 Partien in 939 Vorstellungen. Gastspiele führten die Künstlerin an die Volksoper Wien, die Staatsopern von Hamburg und München, die Deutsche Oper am Rhein, nach Zürich und zu den Bayreuther und Bregenzer Festspielen. Sie war auch als Operetten- und Konzertsängerin erfolgreich. Lotte Rysanek wurde 1968 zur Österreichischen Kammersängerin und 1987 zum Ehrenmitglied der Wiener Staatsoper ernannt. 1977 wurde ihr das Österreichische Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst I. Klasse

Die feierliche Einsegnung und anschließende Beisetzung findet auf dem Friedhof Hietzing (Maxingstraße 15, 1130 Wien) am Donnerstag, 29. Dezember 2016 um 14.00 Uhr statt.

Tributes are coming in for Karel Husa, a great composer and wonderfully courteous man who, we learn, never allowed any communication to go unanswered.

A Czech exile in the United States from 1954, his music banned in his homeland for the next 35 years, Husa left a huge footprint on American music through the hundreds of composers that he taught, encouraging them to go beyond conventional sound.

His student, Byron Adams, wrote this in Husa’s New Grove entry: Given his propensity to experiment, it is not surprising that Husa has composed for an impressive array of instrumental combinations. With the exception of opera, he has explored virtually every major musical genre from song to symphony. In his search for colourful and novel sonorities, Husa creates vividly expressive musical canvases, filled with arresting timbres and startling juxtapositions of texture; he can be described as the abstract expressionist par excellence of late twentieth music. 

His death two days ago, recorded on Slipped Disc, has yet to be acknowledged by any US media, online or cold print, or by any music institution except his publisher.

Say hello to Jon Dante, principal trumpet of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, presently guest principal in Shanghai.

Jon, an old friend of, found this message in his mailbox this morning:

I want to say thank you for showing that even people of badass seemingly unsophisticated nature (tattoos, skateboarding, motorcycling &c) CAN STILL KICK ASS IN THE CLASSICAL FIELD.

The first not-your-regular portait can be seen here. Keep the pictures coming in.

The star attraction has, ‘with a heavy heart’, pulled out of the opening of Hamburg’s dazzling new Elbphilharmonie on January 11-12.

His replacement, announced overnight, is the Slovak lyric tenor Pavol Bresnik.

Kaufmann has been out for three months with a vocal cord injury and his return has been repeatedly delayed on doctors’ orders.

Following the Hamburg cancellation, it seems likely that he will also cancel a long-awaited Lohengrin in Paris.

We wish Jonas a speedy recovery.