A student of Ivan Galamian and Nathan Milstein, Hugh Ewart joined the Oregon Symphony as concertmaster in 1949 and played for 30 years.

Report here.


Photo: Motoya Nakamura/2006

He’s out of Tosca this week.

Bedauerlicherweise musste Jonas Kaufmann krankheitsbedingt soeben die morgige (Donnerstag, 11. Mai 2017) Vorstellung von “Tosca” absagen – an seiner Stelle springt dankenswerterweise Aleksandrs Antonenko für die Partie des Cavaradossi kurzfristig ein. Wie bereits bekannt gegeben, singt Martina Serafin in dieser Vorstellung die Tosca anstelle der erkrankten Angela Gheorghiu.

That’s both of them out of the show. But the subs are pretty strong.

Dutch opera is mourning the death of Dennis Wilgenhof, a popular and accomplished singer whose career was on an upward trajectory.

A few months ago he sang Wagner at Bavarian State Opera, a few weeks ago he was singing at La Scala.

Dennis, who was 44, was found dead on Tuesday in a hotel in Maastricht, where he taught at the local academy. He is believed to have suffered a heart attack.

Our condolences to his loved ones.

The tenor Mihael Schade writes: ‘Holland has lost not only its tallest and nicest bass, but a superbly musically gifted opera bass on the doorstep of a big career.

‘Our opera community lost a wonderful young man who was personable, friendly, professional, outgoing and a team player. I spent 44 days rehearsing and performing at LaScala with Dennis Wilgenhof in February and March just recently, and can say that my life is better for having met him- his completely shocking death is to me a reminder to go out there and Carpe Diem, live the dream you love , but while you do just love and call your loved ones- rest in peace Dennis- too soon Lord too soon!’

First up is … Kent Nagano.

He will conduct the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra on July 7 at the Elbphilharmonie where Trump and Putin will be attending the G20 summit… and the evening concert.

Programme has not yet been decided.


press statement:

NEW YORK, May 10 — The Juilliard School announced today that it has selected Damian Woetzel, director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program, artistic director of Vail Dance Festival, and former principal dancer at New York City Ballet, to serve as its seventh president beginning July 2018.

Woetzel, 49, was chosen after an extensive search process led by a board-appointed search committee and Board Chair Bruce Kovner in consultation with faculty, student, and staff representatives. Juilliard’s current and longest-serving president, Joseph W. Polisi, announced in October that he will be stepping down at the end of June 2018…

Woetzel, who turns 50 next week, retired in 2008 from an illustrious career as a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, and was celebrated internationally for his performances across a wide range of repertory. In addition to his positions at the Aspen Institute and Vail Dance Festival, Woetzel is also an independent director, choreographer, and producer.

From the Philadelphia Orchestra:

Conductor Tugan Sokhiev (pictured, right) has withdrawn from his planned concert engagement with the Philadelphia Orchestra this week due to a health matter. He is suffering a recurrence of a back problem and his physical symptoms mean he is currently unable to conduct or to travel for extended periods of time. Please join us in wishing Tugan a speedy recovery.

In his stead, The Philadelphia Orchestra welcomes Conductor-in-Residence Cristian Măcelaru to the podium. He will conduct the three concerts and the program will remain unchanged.

Sokhiev is music director of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse.


The death is reported of José Oliver Bisbal, principal flute of the National Orchestra of Spain and among the leaders of his craft.

Born in Cullera (Valencia) he played at 15 in the Orchestra of Bilbao under Frühbeck de Burgos before rising to the country’s pre-eminent flute seat.

The yellow label today signed Valérie Gross, sometimes known as the human face of Sony Classical.

Based in Berlin, Valérie has been Vice President A&R Sony Classical International, which meant that she exec-produced such artists as Jonas Kaufmann, Vittorio Grigolo and Lang Lang (who has since gone back to DG).

At DG, Valérie will be A&R Director Vocal & Opera Productions, starting immediately, which is unusual.

It appears her relations with Sony are now non-existent.

Não demorou muito para que o Brasil fosse considerado uma potência, sede dos Jogos Olímpicos e um modelo para economias emergentes.

Hoje, o país está nitidamente quebrado, incapaz de cumprir suas obrigações financeiras em qualquer nível – incluindo o campo cultural.

Ontem o Teatro São Pedro, em São Paulo, despediu dois terços de seus músicos, não tendo conseguido pagá-los por meses. Os músicos profissionais foram substituídos por estudantes, não remunerados, é claro. Não compareçam a este teatro.

A principal orquestra do país, a Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira (OSB), não paga seus músicos há meio ano e parece estar à beira do colapso.

Os artistas do Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro estão nas ruas, implorando por comida.

Não há nenhum plano para resolver este desastre. O governo parece não se importar que as instituições culturais estejam sendo destruídas e a reputação cultural do país seja reduzida a lixo. Ainda pode haver uma enorme quantidade de café no Brasil, mas em breve não haverá mais artistas para bebê-la.

Músicos brasileiros no exterior nos dizem que observam com horror a forma como sua tradição está sendo aniquilada.

Mas não há volta. Um convite aos artistas internacionais para tocar no Brasil não pode ser aceito num momento em que os músicos profissionais do país estão morrendo de fome.

O Brasil deve reestruturar suas organizações culturais antes que o mundo da música possa restaurar o seu status profissional com o país.

Cancelem o carnaval. São tempos trágicos.


The Mediacités site in France has obtained copies of personal expenses submitted by Serge Dorny, director of the Opéra de Lyon, from 2013 to 2015.

They come to more than 8,000 Euros (or dollars) a month.

Among the extravagances are a dinner with his music director, Kazushi Ono (and his wife): 644 Euros.

A new pen: 600 Euros.

Trip to Frankfurt for a meeting with its opera chief: 8,000 Euros.

Five nights in a luxury hotel in Aix to attend one concert… a 4,000-Euro tour of Russia and the Ukraine… and so on.

More details here.

Dorny, 55, has been head of Lyon Opéra since 2003. He is not hugely popular with staff, which may explain the leak of his expenses.

In Dresden, where he was fired before taking office as general director of the Semper Oper, he was accused by a government minister of acting ‘like the Sun King’.

Dorny later won a case against the Saxon government for unfair dismissal.

UPDATE: Dorny explains his expenses.

The death has been announced in Munich of Francis Travis, on April 28.

Raised in Detroit, Travis studied with Hermann Scherchen in Switzerland and became his assistant.

He worked at Basle Opera and later at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, making several commercial recordings. He was also professor of conducting at Tokyo National University.

François-Xavier Roth is relatively new at the Gürzenich orchestra in Cologine, still feeling his way with the audience.

So, at the end of the concert, he gave a little chat in German and English on recent results – football and the French election. Then he went into cabaret mode, singing Charles Trenet’s classic La Mer, with orchestral accompaniment.

Not many music directors get this volume of applause.

Now test it against the great original: