Both orchestras will be 175 years old in 2017. They’ve decided to put on a joint show in NY and Vienna.

press release:

The New York Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic, both celebrating their 175th anniversaries this season, will present an unprecedented joint exhibit of archival material from throughout the venerable orchestras’ histories, to be housed at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, February 23–March 10, 2017. The exhibit will then travel to Vienna in March, where the New York Philharmonic will be performing on its EUROPE / SPRING 2017 tour (March 29 at the Konzerthaus) — the exhibit will open at the Haus der Musik on the Vienna Philharmonic’s 175 th birthday, March 28.

The exhibit, “Vienna and New York: 175 Years of Two Philharmonics,” will launch with a private event on February 22 featuring a joint performance of chamber music by musicians from the New York and Vienna Philharmonics.

Charlotte Church turned him down this afternoon with a blunt tweet: ‘@realDonaldTrump Your staff have asked me to sing at your inauguration, a simple Internet search would show I think you’re a tyrant. Bye.’


Any other Welsh songbirds been approached?

Sir Bryn? Sir Tom Jones?

Crain’s New York Business reports: Philharmonic musicians’ base salary, negotiated by the players union, is nearly $147,000. On top of that, principals have individual contracts with the orchestra, the terms of which are not disclosed. Rhoten is also a salaried faculty member at Juilliard.

More alarming is what Markus Rhoten had to do to get there: By age 10, Rhoten recalled, “I would come home from school and practice piano for an hour, drums for an hour, vibraphone for an hour and then cello for an hour.”

Where did that childhood go?

More here.

photo: Chris Lee

His nephew has put it up for sale.

His admirers want to turn it into a shrine.

Boulez, who died a year ago this week, made his home in Baden-Baden in 1959 as a protest against French conservatism. He expanded the house on Kapuzinerstrasse and bought the surrounding parkland. It is a beautiful retreat.

Now it seems likely to be sold since the family needs to pay exceptionally heavy French inheritance tax.

Read on here (auf Deutsch).

Extraordinary but true: Britten’s other maritime opera has never been seen before at Snape Maltings.

Other highlights of the 2017 Aldeburgh festival:

A new production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Netia Jones

First ever Snape Maltings performance of Billy Budd

Featured composers in 2017 are Bill Fontana, Olga Neuwirth and Jörg Widmann

13 World premieres at the festival including a new work for soprano and ensemble by Oliver Knussen

Residencies from Belgian ensemble Vox Luminis & sitarist Nishat Khan

Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine set in a local house near Snape Maltings

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla making her debut at the Festival

50th anniversary of Snape Maltings Concert Hall


Taking its lead from Brazil, which has abolished five ensembles, the local government has dismantled the young and highly promising Orquesta Sinfónica de Oaxaca (OSO), reducing its numbers from 60 to 30.

Usual reason: the money has run out.

Maybe the players should try to regroup the other side of Trump’s wall.


This is bold and timely. Johann Sebastian Bach used hateful words about the Jews in St John’s Passion and elsewhere. Often, the worst epithets are accompanied by the loveliest music.

So was Bach an early Nazi?

Music director Franz Welser-Möst has convened a debate, long overdue, in Cleveland.

Press release follows.

CLEVELAND – On Sunday March 5, 2017 at 3:00 p.m., Cleveland Orchestra Music Director Franz Welser-Most convenes a panel of guest speakers at The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood (26000 Shaker Boulevard, Beachwood, OH) to probe the question “Is Bach’s St. John Passion anti-Semitic?”, a lingering claim that surrounds this seminal work. This extraordinarily moving and achingly beautiful telling of the Crucifixion is perhaps Bach’s most daring, forceful, and poetic composition. The panel will explore the context of European history, music, and religion that influenced the creation of Bach’s masterpiece and the intersections of meaning, message, and intent.

In addition to Welser-Möst, the panel includes Rabbi Roger C. Klein, Associate Rabbi at The Temple-Tifereth Israel, and Michael Marissen, Professor Emeritus of Music at Swarthmore College and author of the newly released book, Bach and God. The conversation will be moderated by David J. Rothenberg, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Music, Case Western Reserve University. The event is free, but tickets are required and may be reserved online at or by calling the Maltz Museum at 216-593-0575.

Following the March 5 concert preview panel discussion, Franz Welser-Mӧst will lead The Cleveland Orchestra in performances of Bach’s St. John Passion on March 9, 11 and 12 at Severance Hall. 

It has been announced that the 25th Operalia competition will take place in July 2017 n one of the most corrupt oligarchies on earth, the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.

The country is still ruled by its last Soviet-era leader, Nursultan Äbishuly Nazarbayev.

Operalia will be accompanied by the Astana Opera orchestra and paid for by Nazarbayev’s ministry of culture.

Maybe Placido should be more choosy about his pals.



The new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, out today, contains an extensive entry on the mystic composer, Sir John Tavener, written by Dr Edward Venn of the University of Leeds.

Tavener died in 2013 and the DNB, the ultimate celebrity portal, likes to let the dust settle before composing the last obit.

When I asked about the omission of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, I was told, in a soothing phone call, ‘too soon, young man, too soon.’

By the standard rate of progress, Max should get his entry in 2020.

From a plucky insider plucker:

Here’s a rare opporunity to peer into the arcane world of the harp.



As the “empress” Susann McDonald (pictured) retires from the University of Indiana, the world will see how fairly the succession process is handled. Will it be her hand-picked proteges, or a spectrum of the best? Will they dare to hire someone who would offend her or her students?

The job has been posted, though not advertised. They are already inviting her ex-pupils as guest teachers. This is a public university with legal responsibilities. But no one outside the harp world ever cares enough to ensure fair play.

If it is fair, they will invite, at least, Yolanda Kondanassis (Cleveland Inst. of Music and Oberlin), Joan Holland U of Mich. and Interlochen), Elizabeth Richter (Ball State U.), pupils of Lawrence and Chalifoux, who were pupils of Salzedo, whose legacy McDonald overturned. And the greatest living harpist, Heidi Lehwalder, Salzedo’s own protege, will she be considered?

And what will happen at the Curtis Institute if Elizabeth Hainen is hired in Bloomington? Big changes are in the offing, and scandalous results seem almost guaranteed. The University in Graz is also hiring a professor of harp. With only two openings in the whole world, after years of no openings, who will win the crown? Note that virtually all University and college harp professorships in the US have been reduced to adjunct (hourly) positions, after there once being dozens of such jobs. It is a dismal time, indeed.

Brazil has abolished another orchestra, this time by social media.

The new Mayor of Sao José, Felicio Ramuth announced on Facebook that the sao josé dos campos symphony orchestra has been permanently closed. He said in a Fb video message that the city cannot pay its water bills, let alone its health care.

The rest of his page is full of pictures of Ramuth visiting a hospital.

More Brazil cuts here.