In his final concerts in June as music director of the New York Philharmonic, Gilbert has invited musicians from 19 countries to augment his orchestra ‘in support of peace, development, and human rights’.

The countries involved Australia, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Venezuela and the United Kingdom.

As the Trump administration burns bridges, Gilbert has made an important gesture to keep human lines open.



The Syrian clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh, who struggled to get back to his US home during the Trump travel ban, has been named composer-in-resident at Classical Movements, a DC-based music org.

Classical Movements will commission Kinan to compose a work for full orchestra, as well as chamber and choral pieces.


News release just in:

Andris Nelsons, Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Gewandhauskapellmeister Designate, will lead a unique multidimensional collaboration between his two orchestras over a five-year period beginning with the 2017-18 concert season.  An unprecedented partnership in the world of orchestral music, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Gewandhausorchester Alliance will explore the many historic connections between these two world-famous orchestras, inspire new cultural exchanges, and create a wide spectrum of performance and educational programs designed to bring a new dimension of concert experience to each of the orchestra’s respective audiences.

Andris says: ‘The creation of an alliance is a natural step, since these two respected ensembles have, in the course of their history, already been closely associated with one another. I am so eager to invest my energies into the individual and joint musical direction of my two orchestral families in order  to bring new artistic enrichment and perspective to both orchestras and audiences. By bringing the tremendous strengths and gifts of these two remarkable orchestras together we have developed a new and dynamic approach to programming that we hope will inspire our audiences to discover more about this fascinating relationship.

‘From commissioning new works to be performed in Boston and Leipzig, to creating musician exchanges at the professional and student levels, and presenting a wide spectrum of programs about the wonderful legacies of these two great orchestras and how they so beautifully relate to each other, this unique partnership has a great potential to bring a new and powerful perspective to our fantastic world of classical music. We truly hope that our audiences at home and around the world will be inspired by our growing BSO/GHO Alliance, to get to know their extraordinary musical gifts, both individually and  collectively.’

The unsettled orchestra, which is under an international musicians’ boycott for sacking players without reason, has now dismissed an executive in arbitrary fashion.

Here’s what happened.

The orchestra, together with board members and some of its staff, gave a charity concert in December.

Someone posted a negative Facebook comment (below) about the piano paying of CEO Nor Raina Yeong Abdullah.



She ordered the marketing director, Carl Selvarajah, to remove it. When he failed to do so, she fired him.

An everyday story at the Malaysian Phil.

The review:

I have attended this so-called charity concert for the past two years. It is nice that DFP MPO does this kind of charity, but is that the real motivation behind the concert? In reality it appears to be an exercise in self aggrandisement by the CEO Nor Raina Yeong Abdullah. Nor Raina inserts herself into as many acts on the concert as possible. I’ve heard that she created this concert just so that she can perform on the DFP stage, and she uses this platform to get access to Tun Dr Mahathir and Tun Siti Hasmah. (I’ve seen her after this and other events and Nor Raina loves to show off her self-importance by letting everyone know that she is with the Tuns. In the 2015 charity concert she made a big show of holding Tun Siti Hasmah’s hand.)

But the shameful fact is Nor Raina’s piano playing is very mediocre at best. In fact, the most enjoyable pieces were those on which she was not playing! It is heartwarming to watch Tun Siti Hasmah play the violin at her age. (I should point out that Tun’s violin performance was marred by obvious wrong entrances and wrong notes played by Nor Raina!) On the 2015 concert Nor Raina even fancied herself to be able to play the Erhu, a feat she proudly told friends she mastered in 2 weeks! In saying this, she mocks the centuries old tradition of Erhu playing. And it was blatantly obvious when watching Nor Raina “playing” the Erhu that she was faking everything!

The Dyslexia Children’s Dance Group and the students in Winnie Cheah’s Symphonia Fantasia were sweet and unpretentious. Puan Juniwati Rahmat Hussin’s “Mr Bean” routine provided nice comic relief, and the staff Gamelan ensemble’s playing was commendable, with the accompanying dancing quite impressive. Appearances by Roy and Salamiah Hassan gave some credibility to the concert, and a closing highlight was Tun Dr Mahathir and Tun Siti Hasmah singing together. (This would have been better without the terrible guitarist – Eizaz Azhar? – who was out of tune and played all kinds of wrong chords). 

In short, bravo to the the DFP MPO staff for giving their time and talents to this charity concert. And 5 stars to the Tuns. But 0 stars to CEO Nor Raina Yeong Abdullah. She should be ashamed of herself for such flagrant abuse of power.

New Dots, a London group that gave 33 premieres over the past five years, has called it quits.


The Hong Kong Philharmonic seem rather proud of this live collaboration with a DJ.

Some of the players seem to think otherwise.

Watch their faces on the video.

Any complaints should be addressed to the music director, Jaap Van Zweden.

A flood of 400 applicants for BBC Cardiff’s Singer of the World competition has been whittled down to 20.

The competitors are:

Miriam Albano (Italy, mezzo)

Louise Alder (England, soprano)

Dominic Barberi (England, bass)

Batjargal Bayarsaikhan (Mongolia, tenor)

John Chest (USA, baritone)

Sioned Gwen Davies (Wales, mezzo)

Anthony Clark Evans (USA, baritone)

Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar (Mongolia, baritone)

Anush Hovhannisyan (Armenia, soprano)

Barnokhon Ismatullaeva (Uzbekistan, soprano)

Lilly Jørstad (Norway, mezzo)


Ezgi Karakaya (Turkey, mezzo)

Nadezhda Karyazina (Russia, mezzo)

Konstantin Lee (South Korea, tenor)

Roberto Lorenzi (Italy, bass-baritone)

Catriona Morison (Scotland, mezzo-soprano)

Lukhanyo Moyake (South Africa, tenor)

Iurii Samoilov (Ukraine, baritone)<

Ivan Thirion (Belgium, baritone)

Kang Wang (Australia, tenor)

The incoming music director of the Metropolitan Opera is marketing farm products back home.

The caption reads: Proud ambassador of milk.

Nathan Chan, who starts this week as Third Chair Cello in the Seattle Symphony, has a Youtube channel with 6.1 million views ad is generally as cool as can be.

The things you have to do these days to win an audition.

President Trump can say what he likes.

So long as Gustavo Dudamel is music director in Los Angeles, there will be closer ties with neighbours to the south.

The Dude has announced a 10-day ‘CDMX — Music From Mexico City’ series in next season’s plans.

He says: ‘We keep creating these bridges… As I said when I started as music director, it’s about showing that we are one America.’

Rupert Christiansen in the Telegraph calls it a charmless disappointment.

Andrew Clements in the Guardian says the music doesn’t do enough to justify making the play into an opera.

Richard Morrison in the Times describes ‘unremitting old-fashioned atonality with an orchestral flourish’.

Richard Fairman in the Financial Times warns that ‘the audience must be prepared to surrender patiently to its fragmentary and elusive style’.

Not a good opening night for The Winter’s Tale by Ryan Wigglesworth, conducted by the composer.

photo: Johan Persson/ENO

The freesheets are a bit more positive. Barry Millington in the Standard reports ‘an immensely accomplished first opera by Wigglesworth’. Cara Chanteau writes in the Independent: ‘Successful, definitely – but perhaps just a tad too respectful.’

Facebook hired Tamara Hrivnak from Warner some weeks back as head of music licensing.

It is now advertising for a legal director of music licensing.

That seems to mean the social media giant is heading towards a Youtube-style arrangement with copyright owners. Hrivnak says: ‘ I look forward to deepening Facebook’s relationship with the music industry.’