Patrick Aspbury, of Chelmsford, was one of three cathedral singers who formed The Choirboys in 2005 and enjoyed a blaze of fame on Decca Records until their voices broke.

Patrick, 23, grew up into a promising young composer.

He was struck last week by a train at Chelmsford station.

There will be an inquest.

l-r: Ben Inman, Patrick Aspbury, and CJ Porter-Thaw

Erato tell us they have spent the last three days recording Berlioz’s Les Troyens in Strasbourg.

It involved the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, three choirs and sixteen soloists over two five-hour concerts with conductor John Nelson, a total of 239 musicians.

The headline artists are the US mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and tenor Michael Spyres and the French-Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux.

The set will be released in November.

Photo: Grégory Massat/Erato

We are informed of the death of Nada Puttar-Gold who was a member of Berlin’s City opera in the late 1950s and of the Frankfurt company until 1966.

She then returned to her native Croatia, singing at Zagreb Opera until 1979.

She commanded more than 60 roles, from Purcell’s Dido to late Richard Strauss.

James Wilkinson, a negotiator who settled a musicians’ strike at the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1976 and stayed involved for the next 40 years, has died, aged 72.

During one of many crises, between 2011 and 2015, Jim stood in as president and chief executive.

A quiet man whose shy smile concealed a sharp brain, he was the antithesis of the usual type of board member who demands bang for buck. Jim worked consensually with his board, the musicians and the community to keep the orchestra alive. He loved music and was well loved in return.

After coffee with Jim you came away full of hope for the future of orchestras.

The incoming chief of the NY Phil has been giving a hint or two of her priorities when she comes to turn around a sinking institution. It’s not the words she uses so much as the relationships she defines.

Watch here.

The Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili, who lives in Munich and is a German citizen, makes no secret of her political differences with the city’s music director.

In an interview with Merkur, Batiashvili says Gergiev has learned to expect opposition from artists who resent his support for Vladimir Putin. ‘I have turned down concert offers with him,’ she says bluntly. ‘I am lucky to be able to work with other outstanding conductors.’

Read here.

From Welsh National Opera:

It is with the profoundest sadness that we inform you that Paul Gyton, tenor of 40 years with the Chorus, passed away in the early hours of 18 April. Only last week we celebrated his years of service with the Company, an acknowledgement which meant a tremendous amount to Paul, particularly in most recent days. Our thoughts are with Paul’s wife Alwyn, his family and friends at this saddest of times. We must also acknowledge the loss that his friends and colleagues in the WNO Chorus and wider Company will all feel at this time; they will miss him terribly….

Paul Gyton joined the tenor section of the Chorus at Welsh National Opera on 12 April 1977.

Throughout the past 40 years, Paul has contributed massively to the musical life of the Company.

His huge commitment as a Chorister, as well as being such a good colleague and a true friend to so many over that time is impossible to acknowledge easily. The sheer number of performances, places visited, miles travelled, notes and words learned and sung in languages many and varied (!) is virtually impossible to imagine.

Paul Gyton as Mosquito in Cunning Little Vixen

A colleague writes: ‘Paul was the sunniest of WNO choristers and will be missed by chorister colleagues and visiting artists alike.’


From a press release:

As students arrive for this year’s Yorkshire Young Sinfonia (YYS) course and concert with Ray Chen, one thing will be missing … all the sheet music.

Thanks to the music app Newzik, students will be met by a room filled with iPads. The use of digital technology instead of traditional sheet music is still new in the classical music world, with only a handful of professional orchestras trying out this innovation so far. “The use of digital technology for orchestras has been advancing in recent times, but as yet no youth orchestra has actually performed an entire concert using only screens” said conductor Tom Hammond…

Helen Pidd, the Guardian’s northern editor, has written an immaculate piece about the private music school’s bid to reinvent itself with a new head and a new concert hall after four years coping with historic allegations of student abuse.

Alun Jones, the new head, says: ‘I have inherited a school in exceptional health, always looking back with care at the students and anyone in our family who was hurt. But my job is also to make sure that any lessons that had to be learnt have to be learnt.’

Read here.

Our mole at the Vienna State Opera spotted Oscar winner Nicholas Cage enjoying an Easter performance of Parsifal (eat your heart out, Perez Hilton).

Not many film actors have the Sitzfleisch for Wagner.

It is twenty years since Sir Simon Rattle took up Wagner’s last opera and made it his first in the UK.

Baden-Baden has announced he will conduct a new Dieter Dorn production next Easter, his final residency at the festival with the Berlin Philharmonic.