Moments before Jorge Federico Osorio walked onto the Atlanta Symphony Hall stage last night to play Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, he was told of a change of conductor.

Robert Spano, who had conducted Leonard Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony in the first half, had been ordered to go home with flu.

His assistant Stephen Mulligan stepped in without having rehearsed with the soloist.

The pair got a standing ovation.

The following message was sent out to all chorus members tonight:

With overwhelming sadness we announce the sudden and unexpected death of our beloved chorus master Stefan Bevier who’s died in his home in Berlin. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family as he’s already missed. 

Stefan, who was 59, had worked with the Philharmonia since 1999 and as chorus master since 2010.

A member of the Orchestra Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic, he studied singing with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Schuch-Tovini and Aribert Reimann, and conducting with Sergiu Celibidache. He worked with Karajan, Eugen Jochum, Karl Böhm, Leonard Bernstein, Charles Dutoit, Lorin Maazel, Colin Davis, Riccardo Muti, Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, Christoph von Dohnányi, Vladimir Ashkenazy and many more.

We reported midweek that Angela Hewitt took a tumble shortly before a recital in Oxford and hurt her ankle so badly she could not stand.

So she set out for the venue in a wheelchair and gave the performance as scheduled.

Two nights later, on Friday, she played the Wigmore Hall.

Only then did she go for a full medical assessment, which revealed a broken bone in her foot.

It may be a while before she’s back on the dance floor, but hats off to her courage in not cancelling.



Alexander Ali Rahbari was going through security at Antalya airport yesterday when Turkish border police confiscated his baton on the grounds that it was a dangerous weapon.

Rahbari, 69, has been using the same baton for 30 years and has checked it in his hand luggage through hundreds of airports. He is a regular guest conductor of the Antalya State Symphony Orchestra. Now he has nothing to wave at them.

Once upon a time, there was a Bach Festival of international renown at the University of Oregon, in Eugene.

Its founder Helmut Rilling retired in 2011. His successor, the British conductor Matthew Halls, was fired last year after allegedly making a racial joke to his good friend Reggie Mobley, who said he took no offence.

Since then, the university has behaved like a bunch of clowns.

The latest mishap was to announce the engagement as a guest conductor of Jaap ter Linden, ‘a pioneer in the emergence of the historical performance movement,’ according to the website.



Then someone realised that Jaap ter Linden was fired three years ago by the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio after three students complained of a racial slur they said he used in rehearsal. Oberlin is a hotpot for such issues.

So Jaap ter Linden’s concert has now been dropped from the Bach Festival website.

Full story here.

Send in the clowns.


More than 200 leading musicians have signed a petition calling on the Netanyahu government to drop its plan to deport African asylum seekers who have sought refuge in the country

The signatories include the conductors Ilan Volkov, Yoav Talmi, Daniel Cohen and Yuval Zorn; composers Chaya Czernowin, Zvi Avni, and Jerusalem Academy president Yinam Leef; singers Mira Zakai, Chen Reiss, Hila Baggio and Keren Hadar; pianists Einav Yarden, Iddo Bar Shai and Shay Wosner, as well as section leaders from both the Israel Philharmonic and the Israel Symphony orchestras.

They write:

The refusal of several countries to accept Jewish refugees before, during and after the Second World War, is one of our most traumatic memories as a society. We must not be those who will be responsible for creating similar trauma in a community which needs our assistance at this time, assistance we are able to offer. 
We call upon the Israeli government and its Prime Minister to learn the lesson from this traumatic memory, to take part in helping to solve the global refugee crisis, and to set an example in the way it treats asylum seekers within its borders.

Te winners of the 12,000-Euro first prize in Heidelberg are the Spanish Cuarteto Cosmos.

Get it? They want to rule the universe.

Second place? Simply Quartet.



The short and tragic life of Eric Sun was recorded in a must-read New Yorker profile early this month.

Eric, a Facebook engineer who built the network’s knowledge graph, was an enthusiastic violinist who managed to acquire a Vuillaume. After being diagnosed the incurable brain cancer, he spent the last months of his life playing in a production of Fiddler on the Roof.

Eric died in November, aged 33.

But he left instructions for his violin to be placed in a foundation where others can continue to use it.

Here’s how to apply.


King’s College Cambridge is seeking a new Director of Music to succeed Stephen Cleobury in October 2019.

Cleobury, who has just turned 69, has led Kings since 1982 and has also been director of the Cambridge University Musical Society until 2009, making numerous recordings and television programmes.

The Provost, Professor Michael Proctor, said: ‘The College owes a huge debt of gratitude to Stephen Cleobury for his distinguished service and tireless efforts and we shall be celebrating his unique contribution in due course. We are seeking someone of the highest calibre as his replacement, and look forward to seeing the music and Choir of King’s thrive long into the future.’

The Dean, the Revd Dr Stephen Cherry commented: ‘Choral musicians around the world look to King’s for example and inspiration, and the pressures of the post are considerable. The Choir has developed its repertoire, and the extent of its touring and recording activity, very considerably in recent decades but the core of its life is the choral worship in Chapel that takes place every day in term. As we look to the future, the continued integrity and excellence of the music in Chapel will be a major priority.’