Message from promoter Chris Metzler:


Attn Touring US musicians coming to the UK – DO NOT COME INTO THE UK VIA IRELAND, your COS workpermits are worthless. Sad to say I just had a tour from a Texan singer songwriter cancel due to the British/Irish immigration turning them away in Dublin. Thousands have been lost to the artists, the promoters and myself. They had the correct COS (work permits) but due to the 1971 Control order legislation being re-introduced and the current Brexit situation they were told to go back home.

They are not the first to have this happen in the last weeks, read here for more Please warn any US acts (or anybody requiring a COS) traveling to the UK not to come in via Ireland or they will live to regret it. #FuckBrexit


Clemency Burton-Hill, a  BBC radio and TV presenter, is to be Creative Director, Music & Arts, at the New York classical station WQXR.


“I am absolutely delighted to be joining New York Public Radio as its first Creative Director, Music & Arts,” said Burton-Hill. “As a broadcaster, writer, musician and producer, I am committed to bringing the joys of classical music and the arts to as wide and diverse an audience as possible. I have long admired the work of WQXR for its shared ambition, and it will be a privilege to help lead the creative direction of an organization that is already a byword for world-class broadcasting excellence. Digital platforms are evolving alongside a renewed interest in the live experience. I believe we have an opportunity – and an obligation – to cultivate and engage new audiences through inventive programming that not only supports our mission, but champions the artists and institutions that help bring the world’s greatest music alive. I very much look forward to joining Shannon and her outstanding team at WQXR and returning to New York, my favorite city on earth.”

The Olympian list of her accomplishments in the press release speaks for itself:

Burton-Hill has been one of the UK’s most prominent arts and music broadcasters for the past decade. As the host of BBC Radio 3’s Breakfast Show, she helped to welcome a new audience to classical music, building on her own deep love of the art form and her background as an award-winning violinist. She began her broadcasting career in 2008 as a television presenter on the BBC Proms and has since worked on many prestigious music and arts programs including the Leeds International Piano Competition and BBC Young Musician of the Year. In 2009, she began working on Radio 3, where she has presented a wide range of other programs for the network, including live concerts such as the Last Night of the Proms, a weekly broadcast from Wigmore Hall, and the New Generation Artists strand.  Since 2015 she has hosted the live global cinema relays from the Royal Opera House.  Burton-Hill is a co-founder of the multi-award-winning chamber ensemble Aurora Orchestra, and a co-creator and co-curator, with conductor Daniel Harding, of the Interplay festival in Stockholm, which brought together classical music with diverse other subjects including particle physics, neuroscience, mathematics, food and art history.

Outside of broadcasting, Burton-Hill is an esteemed journalist and writer. Her work has been published in every major UK publication, including The Economist, the Financial Times, the Guardian, Observer and Independent, and has included profiles of writers, musicians and other luminaries of the arts. She has been the music columnist for BBC Culture since 2013 and chief interviewer for BBC Music Magazine since 2017. The author of two novels, both published by Headline, in October she published her first non-fiction book, Year of Wonder: Classical Music for Every Day, which suggests a piece of music for each day of the year with engaging background and context. With its accompanying playlists published on Spotify and Apple Music, it has been a bestseller in the UK, and rights have been sold everywhere from China to Europe. The US edition will be published in November by HarperCollins.


In a highly unusual case, the Boston-based conductor Jonathan McPhee is suing Symphony NH for unfair dismissal from his post as music director.

McPhee claims he was fired after raising concerns about the orchestra’s financial audit.

‘Mr McPhee noticed an inaccurate and unspecified artist expense in the amount of $10,000 was included in the financial reports,’ says his deposition.

Symphony NH, which is the oldest professional orchestra in New Hampshire, denies misconduct but gives no reason for the conductor’s dismissal.

McPhee is now music director of the Lexington Symphony.

Report here.

The headline in Broadcast magazine reads: BBC puts the Proms out to tender.

We don’t have a subscription and can’t offer you any more, but it does not look good.

If the BBC sees fit to farm out the filming of the Proms, how long before it devolves the whole season into external hands?

And would that necessarily be such a bad idea?

Friends report the death of Maria Beloussova, a vibrant Russian pianist who served as professor of chamber music at the Paris Conservatoire.

In her performing career, Maria played with Ivry Gitlis, Joseph Silverstein, Bernard Greenhouse and Maja Bogdanovic. She was a strong champion of contemporary Russian composers.

Our sympathies to her young family.

However, adds an end-of-season company report:

Lower sales income was significantly offset by a Harvey recovery fundraising campaign that has raised more than $9.5 million to date. HGO presented its entire 63rd season in the HGO Resilience Theater, a temporary venue the company built in Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center after its home in the Wortham Theater Center was seriously damaged by flooding. The company will return to the Wortham in the fall with a gala benefit concert featuring Plácido Domingo and Ana María Martínez on September 26.

Sony Classical, after what seems like a long period of inaction, has claimed the scalp of Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak, formerly with Decca.

Her first album will be duets with her husband, Roberto Alagna, out later this year.

She has an effervescent personality and, unexpectedly, a PhD in music. Or so the PR says.

We reported yesterday that Elena Stikhina had pulled out of Trovatore in Paris.

The Opéra said she had ‘withdrawn from all future productions.’

That’s not what we hear. Peeps in her entourage say that a 24 hour delay in the receipt of her European visa meant she would have arrived one day late in Paris for rehearsals. So the Opéra dropped her. Just like that.

Soon after, Elena Stikhina was asked to sing five Toscas at the Berlin Staatsoper, starting this Saturday.

So who’s the loser?


Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla today extended her music director’s contract with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for two more years until summer 2021.

This will take her past the CBSO’s centenary season and quell recent speculation of a post in North America.


The Philadelphia Orchestra’s trip to Israel is being accompanied by an unusually large number of patrons.

On tour, the orchestra normally takes an entourage of a dozen or so friends on the plane. For the Israel trip, 70 are going along.

Read here.

photo: Elizabeth Starr Masoudnia

The clarinettist Robert Larm has posted the following situation report on Venezuela, received from a source who needs to remain anonymous. We can vouch independently for the accuracy of the first two points. The third cannot be confirmed.


1. El Sistema will be continued. In what shape it will be down the road is anyone’s guess. Its founder, Jose Antonio Abreu, was able to skillfully navigate the political mine field for many years. But now that he has passed away one person familiar with the situation told me “…nothing can happen like before.”


2. The SIMÓN BOLÍVAR ORCHESTRA has been disbanded. This is the musical ensemble that catapulted El Sistema, Gustavo Dudamel, Abreu and Venezuela to the forefront of the classical music world. It was a revolutionary concept that has had similar systems sprout up all over the world. This is the orchestra that was seen in the top concert halls around the world and recorded multiple cds and videos. What started off as a youth group became a full fledged professional orchestra as the players aged out. Many of its core members had played together for nearly twenty years. Now it is all gone under the mandate of the government led by President Nicolas Maduro. The group that recently performed in Vienna was an excellent group of entirely new and younger players. The government wanted to “show off” El Sistema.

3. GUSTAVO DUDAMEL is now considered persona non grata by the Venezuelan government. If he attempts to enter the country he will be detained at the airport or forced to board a plane and immediately leave the country. He is not even being allowed to assist at his mentor’s funeral, Maestro Abreu.

Why am I sharing this? A friend from Facebook reached out to me and asked to set things straight as to what exactly is going on in their home country. Is this person reliable? Yes, I would vouch for this individual. I cannot share any details about this person because it could endanger the individual and the individual’s family. More details and names were given which I cannot share. This is very serious – people can just disappear if word gets out to those in power.

May we all hope that my friend has over exaggerated the musical situation in Venezuela. However, this person has shown me things that validate the claims that are being made.

The tenor is preparing Loris in Giordano’s Fedora for a La Scala production in 2020.

You read it here first.