We have been informed of the death in Massachusetts of Raymond Hanson, three weeks after his 98th birthday.

Raymond studied piano with Harold Bauer at the Hartt School of Music in 1946 and taught there until his retirement in 1992, though he continued teaching privately until this year.

His wife Anne Koscielny died two years ago.

There’s a fascinating John Mortensen interview with him here.

Anna Netrebko has told the Bavarian State Opera she cannot sing Tosca next July because she is required to appear at the FIFA World Cup in Moscow.

Since it is unlikely she will appear on the pitch for the Russian XI, it is safe to assume she has been summoned by Vladimir Putin as associated entertainment.

Munich has replaced her with the experienced Angela Gheorghiu.

Netrebko is due to make her role debut as Tosca next April in New York.


The Quatuor Ebène has named Marie Chilemme as its new viola player.

She replaces Adrien Boisseau, 26, who quit suddenly after two years to pursue a solo career.

New lineup:

Analysis by data scientist Dr Abigail Lebrecht reveals that the country is so divided that no party can win an election by relying exclusively on Leave or Remain voters.

Off-topic, perhaps, but political dynamite.

Read here.

From our pals at Ludwig Van Toronto:

I’m tone deaf. I can’t sing. It’s usually accompanied by a smile or laugh, but the message is both clear and absolute. And wrong.

Lorna MacDonald is Professor of Voice Studies and Vocal Pedagogy at the University of Toronto, and she puts it even more strongly. “That’s a blatant lie.”

Of all creative endeavours, singing is perhaps the most poorly understood. To the chagrin of vocal teachers everywhere, singing is the one pursuit where you will be told, you can’t sing, so don’t bother. Parents will readily pony up the resources for acting lessons, or soccer, but when it comes to the ability to sing, many people are still under the impression that it’s something magical – you either have it, or you don’t.

A study of undergrads at Queen’s University, found that about 17 percent reported themselves as being tone deaf. It’s such a common fallacy in our society that it has led to a world of singers — the small minority — and non-singers — the vast majority. But is that really based in reality? Science — and those vocal teachers —  say no….

Read on here.