The German conductor has committed to the Semper Oper in Dresden until 2024, by which time he will be 65.

He has been there since 2012.


Press release:


(WASHINGTON)—The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced that it will undertake a full-scale renovation of its Israeli Lounge, located on the Box Tier level of the Concert Hall. The renovation is made possible by a $1.25 million gift from LetterOne, the international investment firm co-founded by businessman and philanthropist Mikhail Fridman. Through a competitive design process, a selection panel will identify a winning design that celebrates the spirit of modern-day Israel as well as the richness and vibrancy of Jewish culture. The competition launches on December 14, 2017.

“The Kennedy Center is grateful for Mikhail Fridman’s vision and generous gift,” stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “The renovation of the Israeli Lounge is an opportunity to refresh an important space and reflect on the cultural connections that shape our nation’s performing arts center. Mr. Fridman shares the Kennedy Center’s vision for a reimagined Israeli Lounge that honors Israel’s rich cultural legacy while looking toward the future.”

“When I first visited the Kennedy Center last spring, I was inspired by the Center’s dynamic, creative energy. As an Israeli citizen, I thought it was important for the Israeli Lounge to project that same dynamism, so that it can reflect modern-day Israeli culture as well as the incredible diversity of the Jewish heritage,” said Mr. Fridman. “I hope we can tap the creativity of outstanding designers and inspire a modern interpretation of the Israeli Lounge through this competitive design process, so when a member of the public enters the Israeli Lounge, they can get a better sense of the make-up of Jewish identity and experience a piece of Israel as it is today—culturally vibrant and forward-looking. I am honored to work with Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter and the selection committee to refresh this important space.”

The Israeli Lounge was a gift from the people of Israel in honor of President Kennedy presented during the Center’s opening in 1971.

Fridman, 53, founded Russia’s largest bank, Alfa. He holds Russian, Ukrainian and Israeli passports.

We thought his plan to put Aida on wheels was a dud.

Apparently not. The backers are still clamouring for investment. Read this.

Too good an opportunity to keep to ourselves…. don’t you think?



Subject: Reminder: Investor search for AIDA stadium opera production with Majestro Plácido Domingo

Dear (name witheld)

We have not receive a final feedback for this investment opportunity yet. Hence, we just remind you with this mail.

We are looking for an investor of the above mentioned unique investment opportunity.

The company has focused on the development, production and global marketing including the exploitation of all licenses and sub-licensing of the project “AIDA – The Stadium World Tour” with Plácido Domingo as artistic and music director and conductor. The detailed key data of the company including the overall concept of the stadium performance are compiled and are available to you after signing a non-disclosure agreement. We have already attached a teaser for this project.

The current situation presents itself as follows:

AIDA project has already been funded with 1.5 million EUR. For example, half of the stage set has been created with this amount and Mr. Domingo has been cashed out as well. To get the AIDA project off the ground, up to 3.5 million EUR are needed as debt capital.

What can we offer to the investor?

–          Assignment of 100% of the revenues of the cinema live streaming (might be extended of all other audio visual marketing (TV, DVD, etc.)

–          Assignment of 100% of the revenues of the first performance in Europe and of the first performance in Asia (after deduction of costs – relevant only for Asia)

–          Assignment of further revenues of merchandising, sponsoring, etc.

This is supposed to return the investment. Furthermore, the investor obtains a long-term participation of the revenues for further performances in the next years.

If this does not match your expectations, please tell us under what circumstances you could provide sufficient financing for this AIDA project.

We would really appreciate to introduce and discuss this investment option with you. If you are interested please send us your response or contact us via phone [redacted]

We guarantee absolute seriousness and confidentiality and expect it as well from your side.

mit freundlichen Grüßen / with kind regards / 谨致问候


The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has won a National Dementia Friendly Award.

Dougie Scarfe Chief Executive of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra said: “We could not be more proud and honoured to win Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Organisation of the year. The award is an outstanding tribute to the superb work of the BSO team in using music to empower the lives of those living with dementia and their careers and families.

“It’s really important for us to engage with all members of the community and if you are no longer able to attend our concerts or the symphony hall then it is important to us that your relationship with BSO does not end. For us the power of music is all encompassing even if you have lost the ability to communicate in some way, music is an absolute combined communication force.”

Over the last 12 months the BSO has embedded working with people living with dementia at the heart of their practice. They have delivered 92 separate sessions to 3,243 people engaged aged from 5 months to 100 years old. This work has manifested itself in many ways from people living in the community to those in residential and hospital care.


From our string quartet diarist, Anthea Kreston:


Being from a musical family, and married to a musical family, we are a bunch of entrepreneurs and road warriors. Between Jason and I, and including siblings and spouses and parents, we number 2 violinists, 2 violists, 3 cellists, a pianist and a French Hornist. If you stretch just a tad farther, to grandparents and kids and uncles, you can add a veritable orchestra to the list, top-to-bottom – from Executive Director, lawyer, wind instruments, public education, movie music, and program-note writing.

So – why did we all choose music, and what drew us to our different paths? This week I spoke to my oldest sister, Aimee Kreston, to find out a little about what she is up to.

I have been getting enviable photos all week in my Whatsapp – bare feet stretched out, party-shaped beverage with fresh fruit dangling lazily to the side, a peak of the brim of a floppy sun hat over the top, as pristine white beaches stretch to the left and right of those curiously still blaringly white toes. As I eye our basement water pump nervously in Berlin, rain seemingly never-ending, and craving just a sliver of blue in the carpet of grey sky, my oldest sister is sitting at the helm of a young, vibrant orchestra in Boca del Rio, Mexico, eagerly awaiting guest soloist Joshua Bell and the grand opening of their brilliant new hall, perched between land, river and Gulf of Mexico.

I grew up in a house, as the youngest of three very hard-working musical girls, surrounded by music. We were all competitive and dedicated, and every night I would go to sleep hearing my sisters hard at work on their crafts. When my oldest sister got into the famed Curtis Institute of Music, we were all proud. Immediately after graduation, nervous for her financial future, my sister landed a coveted job in the Minnesota Orchestra. She excelled, moved to a principal position, and later joined L’Orchestre de Paris – also working her way from section to a leadership position.

I asked her this week about her path, her choices, and she said that all-in-all, her 30 years as an orchestral player has been fulfilling – it offered her job and future security, an instant framework, and a set schedule. What it lacked in perhaps personal fulfillment could be made up for by outside projects, teaching and playing in mixed settings.

After a number of years in Paris, she was drawn by love and a desire for change to Los Angeles, where she maintains a busy mixed career – teaching at Colburn, playing studio music, and being concertmaster of Pasadena Symphony. When she got the invitation to Mexico this week, she jumped at the chance to go down.

This orchestra and concert hall was conceived and build as a way to build on the recent reinvigoration of this city, just outside Veracruz. Passionately supported by the Mayor, the young orchestra (most under 30) have ample rehearsal (15 hours for 1 concert as opposed to 6 to 2 in many medium sized American orchestras), an extensive community outreach program, a chamber music program and an incredible new hall. My sister loves adding a third language to her library, and is giddy with excitement over the opening this weekend – the NY Times and even the President of Mexico will be there to cheer on this fresh group of dreamers.

Am I jealous? Oh just a little bit – but I do think I see a sliver of sun coming through these dreary clouds!



Last week, a video of a woman who got a shock in mid-Stravinsky went viral on this site. Now, the person who was disturbed by the music has come forward to explain.

Stephanie Evans says she was not sleeping in the concert, just closing her eyes to concentrate.

‘In this instance I was sitting there very meditatively feeling the peace and bliss of that peaceful blissful place and then I was startled,’ she said.

The conductor, Scott Seaton, said: ‘I think it’s great that someone can have such a physical reaction to sound. And for something like this to happen very randomly here I think is great.’

More here.


From Yale News:

Many composers are known for writing music on pianos. Composer Annea Lockwood is better known for burning them.

On Wednesday afternoon, Lockwood shared insights about her compositional process with students in Department of Music visiting lecturer Kerry O’Brien’s experimental music seminar, “American Experimental Music in the Long 1960s.” Throughout the semester, students study six collections of experimental music, concluding with the collection “Women’s Work,” co-edited by Lockwood and featuring the piece “Piano Burning.”

“It’s a rare opportunity to have a dialogue about this history with someone so plugged into this scene,” O’Brien said.

More here.

The orchestra yesterday announced its third year of budget surplus under interim chief exec Kevin Smith.

But Smith, who came out of retirement to repair the orchestra after a bitter lockout, is now 67 and wants out. He will leave next summer. The orchestra has just announced a search for his successor, which is a bit late.

A call to Catherine French (pictured)? Perhaps not.

Meanwhile, the annual report detailed a 2017 surplus of $79,000 on a $32.6 million budget.


Forum Opéra reports the passing of Paul Finel, who was a popular Faust – both Berlioz and Gounod – at the Opéra Garnier in the middle of the last century.

Along with many other leading roles. All with beautiful diction.

This aria contains the immortal line ‘Je ne regrette rien.’

The sought-after tenor has rebuffed bids from the German television networks to sing in the New Year at the Tchaikovsky State Conservatoire in Moscow.

The National Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by the rising Italian conductor, Speranza Scappucci.


Munich whispers put the director of Opéra de Lyon in pole position to take over as intendant of the Bavarian State Opera in 2021, together with the conductor Vladimir Jurowski. The pair have previously worked together at the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Dorny is not Munich’s first choice. He was fired from Dresden before he even started work and his tenure at Lyon has been destabilised by an expenses scandal.

But Munich has been firmly turned down by Berlin Komische’s Barry Kosky and Covent Garden’s Antonio Pappano and time is running out to name a successor to the brilliant Nikolaus Bachler-Kirill Petrenko team.

A tainted Belgian administrator with a Berlin-based conductor is starting to look like the least-worst option.