press announcement:

James Burton is the next Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, an appointment that takes effect immediately in conjunction with this week’s Andris Nelsons-led Boston Symphony performances of Bach’s monumental Mass in B Minor, February 2-7, for which Mr. Burton prepared the chorus. In addition, Mr. Burton takes on the newly established title of BSO Choral Director, a role in which he will explore new opportunities to enhance the orchestra’s choral activities. The appointment of Mr. Burton to the position of BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus is the result of a search that began in summer 2015, when a committee of TFC members, Boston Symphony musicians, BSO staff, and a representative from the  BSO’s Board of Trustees, was convened and charged with appointing the next chorus director, under the guidance of Mr. Nelsons. Mr. Burton is only the second conductor to be appointed director of the TFC since its founding in 1970; he follows in the footsteps of John Oliver, founder and director of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus from 1970-2015, who currently holds the title Founder and Conductor Laureate.

Andris Nelsons said: ‘Together with my wonderful BSO colleagues, I am very honored to celebrate the appointment of James Burton as the next Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. We are excited to have found such an inspiring and unique person to lead the BSO’s special chorus, and proud to continue the incredible legacy of TFC Founder and Conductor Laureate John Oliver.

‘James has an extraordinary ear for vocal balance and blend. His immense understanding of the numerous different languages of the chorus’s repertoire, and instincts with all musical styles, are just a few of his many gifts.  He has greatly  impressed us all with his ability to inspire the chorus and communicate his ideas so effectively regarding both technique and music interpretation. Finally, we all so appreciate James’ collaborative spirit in all his work, sharing his enthusiasm and passion for music with all of us. We all join him in our goal to bring our very best music-making to our wonderful audiences, who have always shown so much admiration and kind support to our all-volunteer chorus.



We have belatedly been made aware of the death on Christmas Eve of Philip Cannon, a fine composer and teacher, at the age of 87.

A student of Imogen Holst, Vaughan Williams and Hindemith, he wrote against the modernist grain and was not played much on the BBC after 1960.

Despite this, his lovely piano concertino received more than 1,000 performances.

The Guardian has an obituary.

Elim Chan made her Scottish début with the Royal Scottish National Oorchestra last week in Kirkcaldy and Musselburgh, conducting Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture and Italian Symphony, and other pieces.

She clicked straight away with the orchestra.

So Elim, 30, has been asked to come back the week after next, deputising for Neeme Järvi, who is unwell.

In a resounding message to Washington and Mexico City, youth orchestras from the US and Mexico have been giving joint concerts this week around the area where the wall is supposed to go.

The concerts, titled ‘The Bridge’, were given by the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestra and Esperanza Azteca Symphony Orchestra of Ciudad Juarez.

Full report here.

Julie A. Jordan, who has taught piano in the evening division at Juilliard for 30 years, has been dumped in what is said to be a ‘restructuring’.

She claims that only the older teachers were fired.

Julie, 63, wants her job back plus compensation.

Read a bit more here.

Graz Opera has just named Oksana Lyniv as its next music director, replacing Dirk Kaftan, who is going to Bonn.

Originating from Lviv in the Ukraine, Oksana Lyniv has been music assistant to Kirill Petrenko at Bavarian State Opera for the past three years. She conducted several productions in Munich and she will make her Barcelona debut at the Liceu in April with Flying Dutchman.

She is the first woman ever to raise a baton in ultra-conservative Graz.

A Baltimore symphonist, Michael Hersch received his first career boost from Marin Alsop.

Now Hersch, 45, has been awarded the Johns Hopkins University President’s Frontier Award, worth quarter of a million dollars, ‘to help him share (his) ideas with the world’.

Hersch is head of the Peabody Institute’s Composition Department in Baltimore.


It’s a campaign the chain is road-testing in Holland.

Recognise any of the musicians?

The soloist is Wendy Kokkelkoren.

The conductor is violinist Guido Dieteren.


Ilan Ben Ami has been found guilty of bludgeoning Dafna Bar Zion to death with a hammer in August 2014, after two years of marriage.

‘With the deceased on the ground, the defendant covered her head with a garment and continued to pound her head with the hammer many times,’ said the indictment.

Ben Ami played in the world music band, Habreira Hativit.

Daniele Abbado’s new setting of Il Trovatore, the first new production since 2001 in the house where his father was once music director, resets Verdi’s masterpiece intriguingly in the Spanish civil war.

Netrebko sings Leonore. Ludovic Tézier is Conte di Luna. Roberto Alagna sings Manrico. Marco Armiliato conducts.

Slipped Disc will be there.


Valery Gergiev made the extraordinary claim in Belgrade, attributing the statistic to the Russian culture minister.

The Mariinsky now has two theatres in St Petersburg and a third on the Pacific seaboard.

Bolshoi, anyone?

The talks are stalled, reportedly over how much time off the music director gets while on tour, but Thielemann, 57, told the Dresdner Morgenpost today that he intends to stay beyond 2019, when his contract expires.

‘I get on well with the orchestra, they work well with me… In the German-speaking world, my position is the best,’ he said.