The seven worst news topics of 2016

The seven worst news topics of 2016


norman lebrecht

December 22, 2016

1 So many deaths:





Gilbert Kaplan

Harnoncourt and his grandson

Daniela Dessi


Leonard Cohen

The longest serving orchestral player

Neville Marriner

George Martin


Steven Stucky


and so many, many more human tragedies.

2 Three avoidable orchestra strikes, unnecessary misery

3 New York Phil picks the wrong music director (as usual)

4 Airlines treat us like convicts

5 Maestros play politics


Crossover singers control the conversation

7 Brexit, Trump and the Vienna putsch.

So where’s the upside?



  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    The upside is that this year will soon be over.

  • Fred Obelisk says:

    How interesting.
    I wonder what percentage of the views on this site can be attributed to those seven?

  • Petros Linardos says:

    There is plenty of upside with great musicians or institutions that don’t necessarily generate headlines, like Marlboro Music or Menahem Pressler.

    Moreover, reports of the death of the record industry are always exaggerated. Every year leaves us at least a few great recordings. Kiril Gerstein’s recording of Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes comes to my mind. Even Norman Lebrecht gave five stars to some new recordings.

  • Ricardo Odriozola says:

    You forgot to mention Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, two giants in their own right.

    • Ricardo Odriozola says:

      …and Karel Husa (I see someone mentioned him below). I worked with him briefly at the Eastman School, playing his trio for violin, clarinet and piano with two fellow students. Lovely man!

  • Ungeheuer says:

    “Crossover singers control the conversation” ONLY because they are given unmerited airtime and publicity. If people like Mr. Lebrecht and others in the media simply chose to ignore them the problem would be solved. At least Mr. Lebrecht sought balance with this story:

  • Cecylia Arzewski says:

    You forgot Joseph Silverstein!!!!!

    • Daniel F. says:

      Let me “second” that: perhaps the greatest musician, nicest and smartest and most genuine person to ever play in the Boston Symphony. And, without stretching the point a whole, you could include the entire USA. Unconscionable to have forgotten Joseph Silverstein among 2016’s “departed”, especially as he was still contributing so much to the world!

      • Ricardo Odriozola says:

        Great man and musician! Met him in several occasions and played for him at a master class once. But he died in 2015.

        • Daniel F. says:

          You’re absolutely right, Ricardo: it doesn’t seem like that long ago, but it is. As the kids say, “may bad”–and apologies to NL.

    • NYMike says:

      Belonging to the short list of top 20th century concertmasters both as superb fiddlers and excellent leaders including: Piastro, Dicterow and Mischakoff, but whose influence on the profession far exceeded theirs.

  • John Borstlap says:

    The upside is that nr 3 is not really true.

  • Brian Hughes says:

    Karel Husa, a giant figure in the land of his birth (Czechoslovakia–yes, that’s what it was then) and his adopted country. It is said that Music for Prague, 1968 is among the most widely performed works of the mid to late 20th century (and into the 21st). Of course, this is little known, as it is a piece for wind band.

  • V.Lind says:

    I wonder if Prince is really just an et cetera in music deaths this year…

  • Ungeheuer says:

    To the list of the dead should be added Ed Rosen, amateur singer and opera fan from NYC.

  • Christine Tebb says:

    Please do not forgot Johan Botha.

  • M2N2K says:

    Another sad topic of 2016 — cancellations; particularly by Jonas Kaufmann whose career as a great operatic singer unfortunately seems to be essentially over.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Isn’t that a bit too pessimistic? Vocal cords are like bicycle’s inner tubes, when patched-up, they will last again for a considerable time, especially with a young bicycle.

  • John Borstlap says:

    But for the Bordeaux it promises to have been quite a good year.