Sergei Stadler and the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra have applied for recognition in the Guinness World Records for performing all of Beethoven’s symphonies in a single day. They are not the first.

I distinctly remember Lorin Maazel pulling off the same feat in London in December 1988 as a charity stunt. He switched shoes for trainers before hitting the Ninth.

And here’s another full set in a day by Martin Brabbins.

Nothing new under the sun.


The tenor is ill, says concert agency Ildar Bakeev Entertainment.

He will be replaced by Cardiff finalist Kang Wang and Bolshoi soloist Ekaterina Morozova.

UPDATE: Florez cancels Budapest’s New Year.

A year ago, the International Music Foundation of Chicago booked cellist Sebastian Bäverstam for their Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts on January 10.

A few days ago, just before Christmas, they told Sebastian to change his arrival date to the day before the recital.

Since Sebastian had booked non-refundable tickets for the cello and himself months in advance, he replied that he was unable to do so. Sorry, said Chicago, we’ll get another cellist.

Sebastian is now $1,000 out of pocket and steaming at Chicago brutality. He is still listed on the concerts calendar and has received no reply from IMF to his emails.

The Dame Myra Hess Memorial concerts are run by Mark Riggleman, a former education director at Lyric Opera, with an artistic committee.

They owe Sebastian a refund and an apology.

Until these are forthcoming, soloists are advised to beware Chicago’s IMF.


You can read below a comment from Mark Riggleman, presenting a different account of events, and another from Sebastian claiming that Mark did not respond to his concerns or reply to his emails. Clearly, communications between the presenter and the artist (or his agent) were some way less than desirable.

Our American violinist in Berlin, Anthea Kreston, hits the end of a tough year.


The Danes are a happy, open people. They say the happiest on earth. Spending six days in Copenhagen with my family, we felt more at home than in any city (yet) in Europe. It is like the Portland of Europe. Lots of stunningly pierced and tattooed moms and dads, babies strapped across chests, passing nooks with all manner of foods for sale, book stores, crazy thrift stores, and smiling people aboard city buses, enroute to Tivoli gardens or the living rooms of friends. We decked our little rented apartment out in the teeniest Christmas tree in earth, which we decorated with homemade ornaments.

The Danish concept of hygge, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is “coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well being.” This has always come natural to me – everywhere I live I put Christmas lights around the ceilings year-round, the walls are crowded with vintage maps, a pot of some sort of mushy vegetarian thing bubbles on the stove, couches and beanbag chairs are draped with cosy blankets, fireplace glowing. Candles are on the table, tea in the pot, and books are balanced on various surfaces. Our door is always open – we love a full house (our guest room is rarely vacant – our most recent visitor from Corvallis stayed 10 days).

So, hygge (pronounced “hue-guh) follows me. It is this part of me that slowly disappears during tour, my head hitting the pillow of a sterile hotel room more often than I would like – it is hard to keep balance, to remain yourself and have enough of the things that add up to your personal happiness trail mix. But I will work on this when work restarts. I don’t know how to do it – and the balance slips away so slowly that one day, you look into the mirror and notice it is all gone – but now I will try to bring it with me, somehow. Maybe I will bring my knitting with me, sketch book – drink more hot cocoa?

In the meantime, I am savoring my final days as a mom – our Staycation in Berlin includes lots of museums, bakeries, cooking, and dinners with friends. Yesterday was the Espionage Museum, where I even took a turn going through the laser parcourse – tucking in my sweater, I crawled and wriggled my way between the green fingers of lasers as my family jumped and screamed. So now I will trade in my hygge for a little bit of the old gemütlichkeit – spiced warm red wine, anyone?


The president of Armenia, Serzh Sargysan, called in the visiting pianist for a meeting yesterday.

He thanked Evgeny Kissin for being one of the few world artists to commemorate the centenary of the Armenian genocide, an atrocity still denied by its Turkish neighbours.

Ferenc Tarjáni died in Budapest on December 27.

A member of the Hungarian Wind Quintet, he was co-principal of Hungarian Radio Orchestra and professor of horn  at the Liszt Academy of Music. Widely recorded, he was the foremost Hungarian hornist of his generation.

It has emerged that Rohan Stewart-MacDonald, whose death we reported last week, died in a late-night collision with two lorries on a road near Stratford-upon-Avon.

Rohan, 42, had moved to Shakespeare’s town in 2014, becoming a live wire of its music scene. A pianist, singer and musicologist, he was among the foremost authorities on the music of Muzio Clementi.

Stephen Dodsworth, musical director at Stratford Chamber Choir and organist at Holy Trinity Church, said: ‘He was the gentlest, nicest and most talented person you could meet. He was well known in music circles not just locally but internationally as well, but if you spoke to him you would never know it because he was just so modest.’

Rohan is survived by his mother.

Tributes here.