Kate Openshaw                       Tom Elwin

Amy Cardigan

Krzysztof Chorzelski, Belcea Quartet

Julia Sitkovetsky


Emma Denton, Carducci Quartet



Mark Anthony Turnage, composer

Isabella Nicola Cabrera was born ten years ago without a left hand.

This week she played the violin for the first time, thanks to a device fitted by the engineering department of George Mason University.

More here.

The YAS Quartet has cancelled a concert in Halifax for the second time because of ‘an immigration issue involving Russian violinist Artem Kolesov.’

Kolesov is the Russian violinist who last week issued an impassioned statement on being Russian and gay in the 21st century. Watch his video here.

Musicians of the Metropolitan Opera, 42 of them, are playing today for injured servicemen at the 23rd Street Veterans Affairs NY Harbor Healthcare System Facility.

It’s an initiative of several members of the orchestra, a way of reaching out to a wider community. Something the instutition they work for fails signally to do.

Details here.

We have been sent a link to ‘a newly formed pension awareness group’ of US-based musicians who are worried about the management of the AFM pension pot.

Here’s how it begins:

As you may have heard, our hard-earned pension benefits could be slashed to a negligible monthly payout once we retire. Our Fund Trustees say this is due to a series of unfortunate events, but it seems more and more clear that the true unfortunate event is that they are responsible for a decade of poor performance, and have been less than transparent about the health of the Fund. 

It’s true that in 2008 we incurred catastrophic losses to our pension fund. That was a terrible year in the market for all, and during that crash almost every multiemployer fund suffered substantial losses. But our pension fund performed much worse … AFM-EPF lost nearly 40% (AFM website)  of assets spanning the 18 months surrounding the crash, while other funds suffered an average of 25%. After that difficult period, the majority of multiemployer pension funds bounced back, and 60% of those plans were back in the Green Zone by 2011 (PBGC). Not ours, however. The AFM-EPF fund continued to underperform every single year.

Let’s talk numbers here for a minute… 

Read on here.

Tweet just in from the superorch: Leider kann das heutige Konzert der Blechbläser der Philharmoniker nicht stattfinden, wir bitten um Verständnis.

The longform version (in English):

‘Unfortunately, today’s concert of the brass players of the Berlin Philharmonic cannot take place due to several illnesses in the ensemble and must be postponed to a later date.’

The performance was meant to be:

Sarah Willis Horn

Christhard Gössling, Olaf Ott, and Thomas Leyendecker, Jesper Busk Sørensen Trombone
Alexander von Puttkamer Tuba

Jan Schlichte drums

Works by William Byrd, John Dowland, Johann Sebastian Bach, Anton Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, Malcolm Arnold, Werner Pirchner and Christian Mühlbacher

photo: Peter Adamik/Berlin Phil

The winner of the 10th Hilde Zadek competition is Monica Dewey, 27, a soprano from Atlanta, now based in Bloomington, Indiana.

The competition is a major gateway to European opera stages.

Its founder, soprano Hilde Zadek, will turn 100 later this year.

It is reported that the Merkel government is on the verge of pumping an  extra 25.7 million Euros of federal funds into Berlin’s cultural institutions.

Seven million have been earmarked for the Berlin Philharmonic, lesser amounts for the opera houses.

Read here.

Counterpoint: The case for shifting arts money to the regions.


There has been much concern in recent weeks about the future of the Copenhagen Philharmonic and Denmark’s radio orchestras, which are facing a severe subsidy cut and structural overhaul.

It is now clear that the money saved will go directly to four orchestras in Odense, Aarhus, Jutland and Aalborg.

This is a coherent policy, and one that might take root elsewhere. Orchestras in capital cities have access to private wealth and international sponsors. With a boost in central funding, regional orchestras can (if well run) begin to compete on a more level playing field.

All too often – as I outlined in my Spectator piece this month – big-city orchestras are allowed to coast on past glories while regional ingenuity is ignored.

In Glasgow, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra is letting in under-18s for free next year. In Manchester, the Hallé is experimenting with robots in partnership with Siemens. In Liverpool, the music director goes to home matches at Anfield and writes a column in the programme. In Birmingham, the players picked a music director who was under 30 (not to mention female and brilliant). And in London it’s same-old, same-old, same-old.

You can now read the full Spectator column here.

UPDATE: Merkel orders more arts money for Berlin.