Houston Grand Opera has signed Eun Sun Kim as principal guest conductor, starting September 2019.

‘Eun Sun Kim seems to me a limitless talent at the outset of an important career,’ said HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers, ‘as her music-making is elegant, effortless, precise, and deep. Her incredible facility with languages and ability to communicate with singers, both supporting and challenging them, are all-too-rare qualities in a conductor. Having been the music director of HGO for a long time now, I am excited to welcome her fresh ear and new musical ideas, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with her.’

Gérard Jouannest was Brel’s regular pianist.

He also got a composing co-credit for such immortal legends as this:

Gérard died yesterday, aged 85.

From Terry Teachout’s column today on the ban on James Levine’s recordings at the Met’s radio channel:

… Perhaps it doesn’t matter all that much that the Kennedy Center has hosed Mr. Cosby’s name off its increasingly trivial roll of pop-culture sycophancy. But Met Opera Radio did something far more consequential when it chucked Mr. Levine’s historic recordings into the memory hole, an act of suppression that bears a distant but nonetheless definite resemblance to book-burning. By doing so, it effectively declared that great musicians must also be good men—a position that can be defended only by the tone-deaf.

Read on here.


From the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra in Sweden:

During the spring, a letter arrived at Helsingborg Concert Hall. The letter referred to a Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra concert in which music by homosexual and bisexual composers was performed. The anonymous writer accused the HSO of ‘hopping aboard the fag train’. In response to this criticism, the HSO will perform a newly written cantata Bögtåget (The Fag Train).

The anonymous writer states that, ‘like many others’, she/he will not be visiting our concert hall again. The HSO, led by Fredrik Österling and tenor soloist Rickard Söderberg (pictured), is using the text of this letter in the cantata on May 26.


Österling, says: ‘As an artistic institution, we naturally actively relate to our surroundings and events going on around us. The hate letter I received reeked of contempt and fear for the love between human beings. I had no hesitation when Rickard Söderberg suggested that I should set it to music. By considering the text as an opera libretto, we were able to scrutinise the emotions that the anonymous sender was seeking to express. And at the same time, we are doing exactly what an artistic institution should be doing; we are reflecting our times in our art.’

More than two dozen readers got the right answers to our brainbox Birgit Nilsson quiz.

All can now be revealed:


1 When did Birgit Nilsson (BN) marry Bertil Niklasson?
20 September 1948

2 Which country featured BN as Turandot on a postage stamp?

3 What is the earliest extant recording of BN?
Berwald: Estrella de Soria – Estrella’s aria / April 1947 with Stockholm RO / Frykberg

4 Which conductor did BN infamously have a disagreement with over the lighting design during a rehearsal of Wagner’s Ring?<
Herbert von Karajan

5 With the exception of three roles BN first performed all of her roles in Stockholm (and usually in Swedish). What are the roles and where did she perform them?

Amelia (Ballo in maschera), 1958 Vienna; Leonore (Fidelio), 1953 Bad Hersfeld, Germany; Elettra (Idomeneo), 1951 Glyndebourne

6 BN made her MET debut 18 December 1959 as Isolde. The second performance had three different Tristans – who were they?

Karl Liebl, Ramon Vinay, Alberto da Costa

7 According to opera gossip columns, which famous tenor decided to exact revenge by biting Birgit instead of kissing her during their love scene in the third act of Turandot after losing a battle of the high Cs with Birgit in the previous act?
Franco Corelli

8 What was the name of BN’s beloved St. Bernard?

And the winner…. shake the hat….. is….

Peter Steiner on London N6……

A box will be on its way to you soon.


UPDATE: The winner got one answer wrong. We’re having a reshuffle.


Watch this spot.


The winner is: Alain Ober of New York City.



Fabio Luisi, 59, has extended his contract until 2023 with the Danish Radio symphony orchestra.

The press release speaks of his ‘great passion for Carl Nielsen’s music’ and upcoming performances by Hans Abrahamsen and Bent Sørensen.

‘With Fabio Luisi in the lead, we find that many new doors are open to the DR Symphony Orchestra,’ says DR boss, Kim Bohr.

Here’s the DR’s full set of conductors:

Herbert Blomstedt 1967-1977

Lamberto Gardelli 1986-1988

Leif Segerstam 1988-1995

Ulf Schirmer 1995-1998

Gerd Albrecht 1999-2004

Thomas Dausgaard 2004-2012

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos 2012-2014

Fabio Luisi 2017-2023


The fast-rising Hong Kong conductor, 32, was named this morning music director of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra in Belgium.

Former assistant conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, Elim is chief conductor at Norrlands Opera in Sweden and principal guest with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

She conducted Antwerp for the first time last November and it must have gone well. She starts work there in October 2019.


The composer Moritz Eggert, professor of composition at the Munich Hochschule, has been talking about the jail sentence handed to his academy’s former president, Siegfried Mauser.

He tells Deutschlandfunk: ‘I believe one can say with fairly great certainty that there are such cases at virtually all the music academies in Germany.’ Mostly, says Eggert, the accusations are hushed up and the professors go on to get a better job in another college.

At the Munich Hochschule, he says, there have been instances of professors showing their genitals to students and reports of various forms of harassment, up to and including rape. Eggert says he was threatened with the sack when he asked too many questions.

A second Munich professor, a well-known composer, is due to face trial soon.



The Welsh baritone has been suffering from vocal fatigue for the past several months.

He has just cancelled a Flying Dutchman at the Baden Baden Whitsum Festival with laryngitis.

Gergiev conducts the Munich Philharmonic.

The Swede John Lundgren has been flown in.

Wish Bryn better.