The pianist has flu.

He is replaced by Pinchas Zukerman.


BBC News has published an online 2017 death roll of arts and entertainments people.

Among the notable omissions is Jiri Belohlavek, chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, 2006-12.

Just when you thought BBC News could get no dumber.



From my review of the pianist’s memoir this weekend in the Wall Street Journal:

“Memoirs and Reflections” reads as if Mr. Kissin has gone through life without touching the sides. His world is self-enclosed, self-defining, impermeable. He lives at, and for, the piano. I once asked him to name his best friend. He thought hard and came up with a conductor. When did you last see him? I pressed. “Five years ago,” he replied. He admits in the memoir to feeling, as a young man, “physical discomfort when unknown people recognised me” and now finds it “stressful” to shake hands and sign autographs.

Things may be about to change….

Read on here.

The Bibliothèque nationale de France has announced that it has received the bulk of the physical legacy of the late Pierre Boulez.

It amounts to 220 metres of books, 50 metres of archives and correspondence, as well as scores, photographs, recordings and about 100 other objects.

In a separate transaction, the Bib Nat has acquired from the Boulez estate the original manuscript of his first masterpiece, the 12 Notations for piano.

Most of his other major scores have been bought by the Paul Sacher Foundation in Switzerland.

Boulez died on January 5, 2016, aged 90.

press release:

La succession de Pierre Boulez a remis gracieusement à la Bibliothèque nationale de France un ensemble considérable d’archives du compositeur : 220 mètres linéaires de livres, 50 mètres d’archives et de correspondance, mais aussi des partitions, des photographies, disques et bandes magnétiques ainsi qu’une centaine d’objets.

Dans le même temps, la Bibliothèque a acquis le manuscrit du premier chef-d’œuvre de Pierre
Boulez, les Douze notations pour piano.

Le compositeur et chef d’orchestre Pierre Boulez (1925-2016) a profondément marqué la vie musicale, culturelle et institutionnelle de la seconde moitié du XXe siècle tant par la nouveauté de son langage musical que par ses talents d’interprète, de pédagogue, de théoricien et de polémiste mais aussi par son implication institutionnelle : il est à l’origine, notamment, de la création du Domaine musical, de l’IRCAM et de l’Ensemble Intercontemporain.

De son vivant, Pierre Boulez a cédé ses manuscrits musicaux et littéraires à la Fondation Paul Sacher tandis que la Bibliothèque nationale de France s’enrichissait, par acquisition et par don du mécène, critique musical et organisateur de concerts Pierre Souvtchinsky, d’ensembles de correspondance et surtout d’une importante série de manuscrits d’œuvres de jeunesse du compositeur : Psalmodie, la Première sonate pour piano, la Sonatine pour flûte et piano, Visage nuptial, Structures. À la suite du décès de Pierre Boulez, sa succession a décidé de remettre gracieusement à la BnF toutes les archives du compositeur qui n’étaient pas couvertes par son contrat avec la Fondation Paul Sacher : bibliothèque, partitions, correspondance, archives, objets, photographies, manuscrits d’autres compositeurs…

Par ailleurs, lors de la vente organisée par Christie’s France le 28 novembre dernier, la BnF a acquis le manuscrit du premier chef-d’œuvre de Pierre Boulez, les Douze notations pour piano. Écrites par le compositeur alors qu’il n’avait que 20 ans et qu’il était encore l’élève d’Olivier Messiaen au Conservatoire de Paris, les Douze Notations sont influencées par l’enseignement de René Leibowitz, qui initia Pierre Boulez à la technique dodécaphonique. Il s’agit, en effet, d’une série de douze variations construites autour d’une même série de douze sons, traitée en permutation circulaire. L’œuvre fut créée le 12 février 1946 aux Concerts du Triptyque par la pianiste Yvette Grimaud.


From the year’s closing Lebrecht Album of the Week:

At the turn of the 20th century, the world was wide open to young man of means. Ships were getting faster, trains more frequent and motor cars were appearing on the roads. Faced with these exciting possibilities, the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams decided to stay home…

Read on here.

And here.

Earlier this year, the German culture minister Monika Grütters announced that the Berlin Philharmonic was to receive 7.5 million Euros in federal funding on top of its generous state subsidies. It sounded like good news.

But Der Tagespiegel has done the numbers and finds that the new money is all smoke and mirrors.

In exchange for the extra grant, the orchestra has agreed to give up 3.7 million in state funds and 1.7 in Lotto money.

The net gain in federal subsidy is just 2.1 million.

All that Grütters is not necessarily gold. (Could someone please translate that aphorism into German?)

Read on here.


It has been communicated that Joshua Weilerstein, Alan Gilbert’s assistant conductor from 2011 to 2014, will take over from Charles Dutoit in four Ravel concerts on January 17-20.

Weilerstein, 30, is artistic director of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra.

Dutoit relinquished the concerts for reasons well documented.

Message from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic:


James resigned two years ago from his other job as co-leader of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.


The much-travelled Daniel Oren, 62, has been named music director at Opera Tbilisi, in the capital of Georgia.

Oren, who often conducts in a Jewish skullcap, will start work next month.

The impresaria Lilian Hochhauser has been awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List, belated recognition for almost 70 years of music making in the UK.

Lilian, who is 91, together with her husband Victor, imported the foremost Russian artists from the mid-1950s. They also pioneered inexpensive and unsubsidised family concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. In recent years, she has been presenting summer seasons of the Mariinsky and Bolshoi ballets at Covent Garden.


Among other honours, there is a knighthood for the Beatle Ringo Starr; a Companion of Honour for arts presenter Melvyn Bragg; a CBE for Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, principal of the Royal Academy of Music; OBEs for Sarah Alexander, head of the National Youth Orchestra and Guildhall professor John Sloboda; and MBEs for the violinist Anthony Marwood, for David Temple, director of Crouch End Festival Chorus.


The body of Juilliard-trained Australian pianist David Tong has been retrieved from the wreckage of an aircraft he was flying in the north of the country.

David, 34, survived the crash and made calls on his mobile but bad weather prevented rescuers from reaching him for two days. He had been working as a commercial pilot for the past three years.

Born in Macao in 1983, David Tong migrated to Australia at the age of five. He won the Vladimir Horowitz scholarship at Julliard and performed with all of Australia’s symphony orchestras, as well as many overseas.


The pianist Zsolt Bognar writes: ‘It is with great sadness that I learn my old friend David Tong was found dead on Tuesday from injuries sustained in a plane crash. I remember first meeting him in Texas in 2001 and being struck by his sunshine-filled spirit, his strong Australian accent, and vivacious temperament. He was an incredible pianist with a breathtaking technique–I remember how he burst into my practice room and deployed Chopin Etudes with ease–and as a human being and friend he will be missed. What devastating news.’