Rider University has pushed through the sale of Westminster College for $40 million:

Rider University’s Board of Trustees announced today it has signed a non-binding term sheet with Beijing Kaiwen Education Technology Co., Ltd, a Chinese firm that owns the Kaiwen Academies, two prominent K-12 international schools in Beijing, for the transfer of ownership of Westminster Choir College, Westminster Conservatory of Music, and Westminster Continuing Education. This major step forward will ensure that the choir college and its entities remain open in Princeton, NJ.

That is what they want you to know.

What they don’t want you to know is that Kaiwen changed its name two months ago from Jiangsu Zhongtai Bridge Steel Structure Company, as it entered negotiations with Rider. Until then it had no background in education.

Rider’s president was so desperate to be show of Westminster that very little diligence was done into the buyer.


The former head of chorus at the Conservatoire in Tours, France, has been charged with sexual crimes committed against six or seven boys, the regional prosecuto said today.

The offences took place during trips to Paris.

The suspect, whose name has not been given, has a previous conviction for sexual assault on a minor.



The Semper Oper has named Omer Meir Wellber, 36, as its principal guest conductor from next season.

Slightly more startling, at the end of September the Semper will have a new production of Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron, directed by the Catalan bad boy Calixto Bieito.

Alan Gilbert conducts. Sir John Tomlinson und Lance Ryan sing the title roles.

Altogether, there will be 12 new productions at Dresden next season.

The head of Creative Scotland has apologised to Parliament for screwing up this year’s handouts.

‘We can’t let this happen again,’ she said.

So she gets to keep her job.

Read on here.

Karoly Schranz has decided to retire as second violin of the Takacs Quartet after 40 years.

His successor will be Harumi Rhodes. She starts in May.


The death has been announced of Anna Karkowska, one of two musician sisters who created a stir with a series of videos made with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Anna died on February 14 of breast cancer in New York state, where she had made her home for the past 20 years.


Mikko Franck is back from his first mission to Benin as ambassador for UNICEF France.

Mikko writes:

Today in a village in Sô-Ava region. The closest health center is 30 minutes boat trip away but the people don’t go there as they can’t afford the petrol for the boats. So the hospital was brought to them that for example this 3 day-old baby can have her vaccinations

Thomas Hampson has withdrawn from Munich’s Cosi fan tutte next month.

His replacement is Luca Tittoto.

Also out at Munich is Isabel Leonard who was meant to be singing Angelina in Cenerentola. Her substitute is Margarita Gritskova.


In the first act of The Banality of Love by Ella Milch-Sheriff, a world premiere at Regensburg Opera, the audience is showered with yellow stars in the opening act.


One the opening night, some people walked out.

My own reaction was mild amusement, not much more.

The opera recounts the affair between the brilliant philosopher Martin Heidegger, who became an avid Nazi, and his Jewish student Hannah Arendt.

Why was I not shocked by the yellow stars? Perhaps because the power of such symbols has been neutered by over-familiarity. Perhaps because the opera was gripping enough not to need them. Perhaps because I resented the Israeli director, Itay Tiran, over-simplifying the story with such gestures.

Were the stars inappropriate? I am still in two minds.

More about the opera itself before long.



Rafael Payare, newly appointed music director in San Diego, has told the Ulster Orchestra he’ll be leaving them next year.

The Ulster Orchestra survives on repeated state bailouts.


Next season at the Met features just four new productions. 

They can’t fit more, apparently, into a drary schedule.

Dutch National Opera has announced its new season.

Twelve new operas.

Including a Stockhausen medley, Kurtag’s forthcoming opera, Donnacha Dennehy’s opera on the life of Gesualdo, the John Adams Golden West reboot, and Enesco’s immortal Oedpie.

Now that’s what we call an opera season.


Christmas comes in February for the composing profession.

Yesterday it was half a million bucks for Kaija Saariaho.

Today it’s $40,000 apiece from the Siemens Foundation for Clara Iannotta (Italy), Timothy McCormack (USA) and the Catalan Oriol Saladrigues.