First Prize

Julien Van Mellaerts baritone

Second Prize

James Way tenor

Song Prize

Patrick Terry countertenor

Accompanist’s Prize

>Gamal Khamis piano

Ju Hyeon Han, who has been blind since she was a baby, played the significant role of Female Chorus last week in Benjamin Britten’s Rape of Lucretia.

It is claimed she is the first blind singer to be cast in a leading role in a US conservatory or university production.

Ju Hyeon is in her fourth year of a doctorate in Vocal Performance at Stony Brook University.

Report here.

Jason Haaheim used to work in nanotechnology.

He has a BA in physics and an MS in electrical engineering. He did not attend a conservatory.

Now he’s just finishing his fourth season as principal timpanist at the Met.

Jason writes: The scientist in me remains awed by the high-powered international microscope that is the Met: our Live in HD simulcasts and international radio broadcasts routinely reach hundreds of thousands of people. That exposure can be…intense.

Read Jason’s first blog here.

Mohammed Fairouz, a US citizen whose work has been recorded on Deutsche Grammophon, has said he was detained for four hours at JFK Airport, New York, by officials who refused to give a reason for their suspicion.

Fairouz, born in the UAE, travels on a US passport.

A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agency cannot talk about individuals but said people entering the United States, including American citizens, must prove that they’re eligible to enter or re-enter the country.

Read on here.

This is Fairouz’s own account.

Look closely, and you’ll see that all the players in this quartet are the same person.

Look closer still and you’ll find that she’s Dr Vicky Jolliffe, a dermatologist at the Royal London Hospital.

Before becoming a doctor, she played in the National Youth Orchestra and the European Community YO.

Vicky is presently trying to raise funds for research purposes to combat hair-loss. You can donate here.



A new sovrintende takes over in Florence next month.

Cristiano Chiarot, formerly of La Fenice, faces an accumulated debt of 62 million Euros and immediate need for 18 million more to stay open.

Report here.


Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s widow, now 86, has given a moving interview about the early days of the Concentus Musicus Wien and how her husband persuaded her to go against the conventions of the time and become its concertmaster.

Interview here.

The Victor Orban government has issued a television advertisement, attacking Brussels and George Soros as foreign elements that are supposedly interfering in Hungary’s internal affairs.

The implications will be clear to all who follow Hungarian politics.

Several leading musicians will need to consider their options at this ugly darkening of tone.

We hear from musicians in the Guiyang Symphony Orchestra that they have been called in one by one to be told that playing personnel will be cut to half size next season and wages will also be cut by fifty percent.

The orchestra, funded by a wealthy local couple, has vigorously recruited foreign musicians, as well as an Italian music director, Rico Saccani.

Now, the players are being told that there will be no foreign soloists in future and the title of music director will be abolished as there will not be enough left for him to do.

A new title will be devised for Saccani, who will conduct three last concerts in June. Several foreign players have bought houses and started families in Guiyang.

No word of the downsizing has appeared in Chinese media. The players are in shock and the sponsors have not been seen for a while. The musical ambitions of the province of Guiyang have been put on ice.

A Londoner who drops Debussy into his piano medleys has emerged a surprise favourite in the Simon Cowell television show.

Tokio Myers, 32, was 11 years old when he saw his headmaster stabbed to death in a Maida Vale school. He has developed an piano act that is distinctively his own, rooted in a classical training.

Is the pop world ready for a proper pianist?

Richard Masters, assistant professor of music at Virginia Tech, thinks he is the first American to record the music of the out-of-fashion John Ireland.

Right or wrong, he plays Ireland – and wins.

The death has been announced of the Saratov Conservatoire chief, Lev Shugom.



An exponent of the Heinrich Neuhaus school of Russian pianism, he was a Rachmaninov specialist who performed a wide repertoire in Russia and abroad.

He stepped down last year as rector of the Conservatoire.