Press release:

The Ex-Croall; McEwen Stradivari violin was sold today, at auction, by Ingles & Hayday for £1,920,000

Considered by leading authority W.E. Hill & Sons as a fine example of Antonio Stradivari’s violins from the 1680’s, the instrument represents a key stage in the development of the luthier’s distinctive style. The violin, which is in fine condition, has a back crafted from a single piece of maple with irregular flame and Stradivari’s trademark golden varnish.  Notable performers who have played the Ex-Croall; McEwen include Frank Peter Zimmermann (who performed on the instrument between 1985 and 1990), Alexander Gilman, and Suyeon Kim.

The New York classical music station is to be led by Shannon Connelly, a digital music specialist with no apparent classical expertise. Here’s the announcement:


New York Public Radio, home of WQXR, WNYC Radio, and WNYC Studios, today announced that digital music executive and entrepreneur Shannon Connolly has been named Senior Vice President and General Manager, Music at New York Public Radio….


Connolly brings over two decades of digital music experience to the role, including product management, ad sales, and business development. As Senior Vice President, Music Strategy & Operations for the Viacom Music Group, she built and managed a cross-functional team responsible for growing digital reach and revenue for the world’s largest music channels (MTV, CMT), shows (Unplugged, Crossroads), and live events (Video Music Awards).

Most recently, Connolly founded her own company, The Yams, a chat-based recommendation service. She began her career as a consultant in the Media and Entertainment practice at Accenture.

“Classical music has been around for centuries, but new technologies present the possibility of making it relevant and accessible in exciting new ways,” said Connolly. “As a lifelong fan of classical and public radio, I’m thrilled to join the stellar team at WQXR and NYPR to bring this art form to new platforms and new audiences around the world.”


Rainer Kussmaul, first concertmaster of the orchestra from 1993 to 1998, has died at the age of 70.

One of the leading players of the Abbado era, he founded Berlin Baroque Soloists and did much to move the orchestra towards greater diversity.

Before joining the Berlin Phil, he was violin professor for 16 years in Freiburg, returning to his teaching post when he left the Philharmonic frontline.

Ulrich Knörzer, member of the orchestra board, writes:: ‘Rainer Kussmaul was one of the most influential musicians of the Abbado era with the Berliner Philharmoniker. He impressed us not only with his warm but clear sound, but also with his inexhaustible curiosity for the new. His status as one of the pioneers and masters of the Baroque violin is testimony to his wide artistic horizons. As a teacher he had a great impact on outstanding violinists of the younger generation, including our present 1st concertmaster Daishin Kashimoto.’

Three groups have clubbed together to give the struggling orchestra some breathing space.

The Heinz family, long the orchestra’s biggest backer, has pledged a further $5 million.

The Benter Foundation will give $1 million and the Eden Hall Foundation half a million.

Sentenced was passed today on Răzvan Ioan Dincă, chief executive of Bucharest National Opera.

He will serve six years for abuse of office, plus 315 days in lieu of a fine.

The sentence has not been reported yet in Romania, where the government is trying to abolish the anti-corruption laws.

Members have elected Horace Trubridge to be the next general secretary of the Musicians’ Union in the UK.

They had a clear, radical choice in Kathy Dyson, who would have been the first woman to run the MU.

But they opted for more of what they know. Trubridge will succeed John Smith in July.

Hans-Peter König has pulled out as Gurnemanz in the new Parsifal production, opening tomorrow.


No Panic.

Rene Pape calmly steps in to the general rehearsal and first two nights.

Solists at the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet are in uproar over leaked plans by the incoming general director, Annilese Miskimmon, to cut the number of singers maintained on staff.

The anxious performers have posted a bellicose picture on their Facebook page.

They are also concerned about their diminishing pension fund.

Ms Miskimmon starts work in July.



After running a deficit of $200,000, Eugene Opera’s general director Mark Beudert says he won’t renew his contract, which ends in June. The company has cancelled the rest of its season. The future looks bleak.

The Copenhagen Jazz Fesival is in trouble for telling an Israeli musician that artists from his country were not welcome ‘for political reasons’.

The musician, Alon Farber, posted the exchange on Facebook:



I’m writing this post in English because I think it’s relevant to all of you. I just applied for the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. The reply was that:
“Hi Alon,
For political reasons, we are not presenting artists from Israel these years, unfortunately.

Kenneth is the director of the festival, Kenneth Hansen.

The deputy mayor of Copenhagen warns he may have to reconsider city funding for the festival.

‘For political reasons’, no doubt.