Mark Anthony Turnage, unhappy at some of the reviews for his latest opera Coraline, says he will write no more.

He tweeted the decision, perhaps sardonically, to the Sunday Times critic Hugh Canning:

Hugh rose to the bait:

Cue for a mini-Twitter storm… read for yourselves by scrolling down the above exchange.


Carole Nelson, 76, has called time on the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra in North Dakota.

Reportedly, her bowing arm is feeling the strain.

She earns a berth in our all-time long-serving list.



Statement from the French culture minister Françoise Nyssen:

‘Today an agreement was signed with the Paris Opera House to help Saudi Arabia establish a national orchestra and an opera house, Nyssen told reporters after signing agreements with her Saudi counterpart Awwad al-Awwad in Paris.’

Presumably with Paris Opéra labour agreements.

The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is presently on a visit to France.

At today’s audition for second violins, both vacancies were filled.

Out of 21 candidates, Julia Gyenge and Liya Yakupova were selected.

Julia, a Hungarian, plays in the State Opera Orchestra.

Liya, a Russian, plays first violin with WDR in Cologne.


The first audition was held behind a screen, the next two rounds in front of the whole orchestra.

Over the past two years, most vacancies in the Vienna Phil have been filled by women. There is a three-year probation period for confirmed membership.


First, they went French with Camille Thomas.

Then Austrian-Iranian with Kian Soltan.

Now we hear the yellow label has signed the Dutch cellist Harriet Krijgh.

That’s three in six months.

A Welsh academic, Thomas Breeze, makes the case for toppling a bastion of male pride.

Sample argument:

Initially, the recreational activity of choice was drinking, with an enormous number of pubs springing up in the towns to cater for the hordes of thirsty workers. The social consequences were inevitable. To counter this, nonconformist chapels in the industrial centres preached temperance and self-improvement – and the demon drink was eventually pushed aside in favour of community music-making in the form of choirs and brass bands. The male voice choir was born.

But that was another world. What’s stopping male voice choirs from welcoming women to their ranks now? After all, to claim some sort of cultural exemption would be to place them in the sort of uncomfortable position recently occupied by private members’ clubs, golf courses and – closer to our topic – the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, none of whom convinced with their defence of: “It’s always been this way.”

Read on here.

pictured: Wessex Male Voice Choir

Kazimierz Gierżod, a distinguished pianist and former chair of the Chopin Institute in Warsaw, died on April 1.

He was also rector of the Fryderyk Chopin University.

Musicians at the Cottbus Staatstheater have written a letter attacking the conduct of their music director Evan Alexis Christ. He is accused of abusive outbursts, daily threats and insults. The musicians list a host of rehearsal incidents which they say will be corroborated by other staff at the theatre.

The Intendant, Martin Schüler, disputes the allegations and Christ has asked for the case to be deal with internally. A source close to Christ tells Slipped Disc: ‘The allegations in the letter have either been settled amicably in the past or their content is incorrect.’ But the state minister of culture has referred the matter to a superior board and there is no prospect of a swift resolution.

Evan Alexis Christ, originally from Los Angeles, was the youngest General Music Director in Germany when he was appointed by Cottbus in 2008.

More details of the uproar here and here.


Ronald Vermuelen, who departed abruptly from the strife-torn Melbourne Symphony last month, has been named head of artistic affairs at the Lyon national orchestra and auditorium.

He succeeds Christian Thompson, who has gone to work with Daniel Harding at Swedish Radio.

In Boston, where he has given an outstanding account of the second act of Tristan und Isolde, the German tenor says he’s taking his time before broaching ‘the full marathon’.

He’ll do it in a full staging, he says, ‘in three years’ time’.

‘It is so much fun!’ he cries.

Listen to his enthusiastic interview:

And a clip from the performance:

In the outpouring of grief for the 15 young hockey players who died in a weekend road crash, Canadians are discovering that one of the team was a gifted classical pianist.

Xavier Labelle, 18, was originally from Saskatoon. He played cello before moving over to the piano. And he loved that 18th century master, Muzio Clementi.


We mourn with his family and all of Canada.

UPDATE: We are delighted to report that Xavier is alive. He was misidentified among the dead, an appalling error.

Report here.

Philip Sharp has discovered this unequal advertisement for young composers:

A ‘two ticks’ policy will be in place for female composers, composers who identify as BME, transgender or non-binary, or having a disability, to automatically go through to the second stage of the selection process.

It’s from the Centre for New Music at Sheffield and Sheffield University, inviting young composers to have their music workshopped and recorded by the Ligeti Quartet.

Philip has some trenchant things to say here about identity politics in classical music.

Your views, please?