The former music director of the New York Philharmonic has been named principal guest conductor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, starting next April.

That will keep him partly occupied until he takes over as chief conductor at the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie in September 2019.


Dan Kempson, a former opera singer who has worked at the Met and other US opera houses, has decided it is time to speak out about sexual harassment in the opera world.

He believes that gay young men are particularly vulnerable victims.


Opera is indisputably a very gay industry– for much of the 20th century, it was one of the few places where LGBT individuals could live their lives openly.
So then why does this happen? You could point to the Barihunks effect, where young singers are objectified and told their abs are more important than their voice. You could say it’s an extension of artistic license given to creative professionals — if you want incredible art from incredible artists, that might come with baggage. You could say it’s because a singer’s job description is an aberration, including kissing coworkers publicly and sometimes barely clothed (in rehearsal).
That’s all bullshit. It happens for the same reason it happens in Hollywood, and why it used to happen in corporate America: because those in power are often perpetrators — and those who aren’t perpetrators allow it to happen. 

Read on here.



This is the February 1943 issue of Etude magazine showing Dmitry Shostakovich against the backdrop of besieged Leningrad.

It’s every bit as strong at the famous Time magazine cover, a mark of the talent and ambition of editorial staff on music magazines in those heady times.

Our thanks to Denis Plutalov for sharing this picture from a music school library.

During an event billed as ‘The Concert of a Lifetime’, the violinist Joshua Bell suffered a persistent nosebleed and was reaching for tissues throughout his performance.

The concert was a tribute to the late Herbert Axelrod, a controversial businessman and violin collector who mingled occasional philanthropy with outright fraud and went to jail for dodging US taxes.

Among Axelrod’s dubious enterprises was a sale of overvalued Italian violins to the New Jersey Symphony, almost driving the orchestra out of business.

Bell, however, was a recipient of one of his better Guarneris.

The concert took place before an audience of 400 at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal, New Jersey.

Nosebleeds can be brought on by emotion.

Read Martin Steinberg’s concert report here.


The drummer Alvin Queen, born in Mount Vernon, New York, has been notified that U.S. Homeland Security will not allow him to enter the US to perform at a long-planned Washington concert.

The concert, titled Jazz mmet France, is hosted by Wynton Marsalis and Dr. David Skorton , Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.

Mr Queen, 67, who holds a Swiss passport, was informed that, due to a run-in with the law as a youth half a century ago he would require a special Waiver from the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security.

He says: ‘Sadly, this doesn’t surprise me one bit. I’ve spent months preparing for this concert. Dozens of others are also implicated in its planning. Funny thing, I gave up my US passport to make life simpler at tax time. I never dreamed I would one day be denied entry, and with such ridiculous reasoning. I am frankly disgusted to be disrespected in this way after a half century devoted to music.’

The only person who could grant an instant Waiver is President Trump and … let’s not go there.

More here.


It is now six months since the Chinese pianist suffered an injury to his arm.

Recovery is painfully slow.

Statement from the Berlin Phil:


Lang Lang very much regrets that he is forced to withdraw from his upcoming guest appearances as a
soloist in concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main and on a concert tour of Asia. He needs to allow additional time to recover fully from a tendinitis of his left arm. We hope Lang Lang gets better soon and look forward to him appearing with us as a soloist in the future.

We are grateful that the young Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho has agreed to step in for him for the concerts in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Seoul. We are also grateful to Yuja Wang, who will step in for the concerts in Guangzhou, Wuhan, Shanghai and Tokyo.



We hear that the Czech Philharmonic will announce Semyon Bychkov on Monday to succeed the late Jiri Belohlavek as music director.

Bychkov, 64, is an outstanding conductor of immense international experience, and one who has worked fruitfully with the orchestra over the past few years.

The Czech Phil has always been at its peak with a Czech in the podium. There was an opportunity for Belohlavek to be followed by one of his proteges – Jakub Hrusa, Tomas Netopil, Tomas Hanus – but the Czechs, not for the first time, have chosen an international brand over local brilliance.