Hans Neuenfels has said his production of Pique Dame at this summer’s Salzburg Festival will probably be his last.

‘I’ve done enough,’ he told the Berliner Zeitung.

Neuenfels, 76, is renowned for a Bayreuth Lohengrin in which the chorus was dressed as rats.


Washington lawyer Leonard Silverstein died earlier this month at the age of 96.

He was a board member of the National Symphony Orchestra when Mstislav Rostropovich was exiled from the Soviet Union.

In this interview filmed four years ago, Leonard tells the cellist Steven Honigberg how he broke the bank to bring Slava to the capital.

Secret history at its best.

The salary – $200,000 – was a steal. And Slava put DC on the musical map for 17 years.

The scene is from a Belgian opera house.

It is what one US opera chief has chosen as his Facebook pic.

Strange fact: The Belgian conductor who has just been fined for taking sneaky pictures on a French nudist beach is on the staff of this same US opera company. He and the opera boss seem to share a common interest in the human form.



Message received:

New York, NY (February 26, 2018) – Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is pleased to announce an exciting new partnership with CaringKind to bring extraordinary musical experiences to people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and their caregivers in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The pilot program, called “With Music in Mind,” marks the first time CaringKind’s connect2culture program – an initiative that helps cultural organizations develop programs for New York’s Alzheimer’s community – is bringing performing arts programming into the Bronx and Brooklyn. Formerly known as the Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter, CaringKind has been New York City’s leading expert on Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving for more than 30 years.

“With Music in Mind,” funded by a generous $30,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, comprises two important components:  training and performance.  Experts from CaringKind will provide in-depth “Understanding Dementia” training designed specifically for Orpheus staff and musicians. Staff and musicians will be sensitized to the special needs of this community and provided with the tools needed to orient people with dementia and their caregivers to the musical experience.

The initiative will culminate in May 2018 with two special 90-minute performance events – one at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale on May 8th, and another at the Brooklyn Museum (a connect2culture partner) on May 15th.  “With Music in Mind” audiences will consist entirely of people with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their caregivers.  Each program will offer an intimate concert performed by Orpheus, followed by a conversation between the musicians and the audience, and concluding with a social tea.


The PRS Foundation has secured a pledge from 45 international events to achieve a 50/50 male/female lineup.

Among the pledgers are: Aldeburgh Festival (England), Borealis (Norway), Canadian Music Week (Canada), Cheltenham Music Festival (England), Eurosonic Noorderslag (Netherlands), FOCUS Wales (Wales), Granada Experience (Spain), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (England), A2IM Indie Week (USA), Katowice JazzArt Festival (Poland), Kendal Calling (England), Liverpool International Music Festival (England), Liverpool Sound City (England), Manchester Jazz Festival (England), Midem (France), BBC Proms (England), Roundhouse Rising (England), Spitalfields Music (England), Sŵn (Wales), Trondheim Calling (Norway), Waves Vienna (Austria), Westway LAB (Portugal), Wide Days (Scotland), Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival (France).


Nick Van Bloss is a Tourette’s sufferer.

He has written to six orchestras asking if the reason they won’t let him play is down to his disability.

The Royal Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Hallé in Manchester… strongly deny any allegation of discrimination, saying that they are inundated with hundreds of requests from talented soloists every week for a tiny handful of places. They insisted that their selections were based solely on musical merit.

Read on here.


The public broadcaster Radio-Canada in Montreal has let it be known that it is digitising its record collection and will destroy over 200,000 CDs when the process is finished next year.

CBC is downsizing and an executive said it could not give away the recordings ‘without first verifying the copyright situation,’ which would be ‘too expensive.’

It is not yet known what will happen to 200,000 LPs, 70,000 78s and a unique collection of music manuscripts, many of which were donated to the station in the assumption they would be preserved.

Surely some public-spirited person must come forward to offer the music a safe home?

Read on here.


We are saddened to learn of the death, aged 77, of Yoshiuki Yamagishi, a former member of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Yoshi was a student of  Zvi Harel, who played prncipal cello for several years in one of the Tokyo orchestras. When Zvi returned to Israel, Yoshi came too. He learned fluent Hebrew and joined Gari Bertini’s chamber ensemble around 1968 before landing a seat in the Israel Philharmonic.

Gil Sharon recalls: ‘He married a Japanese girl, I was at his wedding at the Japanese residence in Tel Aviv, and had 3 sons, all born in Israel. After a few years he returned to Japan where he conducted and played and became a manager for orchestra tours. I met him again in Tokyo about 13 years ago and he still spoke good Hebrew. Yoshi was a wonderful musician, person and friend and he will be missed.’

A Belgian conductor, living in Los Angeles, has been fined 5,000 Euros in Bordeaux for shooting videos last summer on a nudist beach.

The musician, 45, said it was a case of mistaken identity. He claimed he had not been to France in four years.

If the conductor did, by chance, stray onto a nudist beach, he probably mistook it for the latest Konzept opera from La Monnaie.