The death is reported of Marie-Francoise Bucquet, a much-recorded pianist, mostly of modern repertoire.

She became professor of piano at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in 1986 and head of department in 1991.

This Vogue promo is paid for by a wristwatch.

Moscow City Court has again extended the house arrest of the director Kirill Serebrennikov, who has now been detained for more than a year.

Serebrennikov is accused of embezzling federal arts money. His lawyers say he is being held on false witness testimony designed to silence a Putin critic.

Either way, he can’t leave the house til mid-September, earliest. Them longer he is held, the less foreign protest you hear. Serebrennikov is being forgotten by most western media.

The Queen of Soul died today, aged 76.

She could sing anything.

Here’s the night she stepped in for Luciano Pavarotti.

Yesterday was Matias Tarnopolsky’s first day in the office as president and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Today, this lands:

(Philadelphia, August 16, 2018)—The Philadelphia Orchestra and American Composers Orchestra (ACO) will partner for a one-day showcase on September 6, 2018, during which the Orchestra will rehearse works by six women composers as part of a collaborative working session. The selected composers, all of whom have been commissioned previously through ACO’s programs, will have their works read and recorded by The Philadelphia Orchestra in a rehearsal led by Assistant Conductor Kensho Watanabe at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. In addition, the composers will participate in meetings with Orchestra leadership and roundtable conversations with the Orchestra’s Artistic Committee and mentor composers, and will receive feedback from co-facilitators, ACO Artistic Director Derek Bermel and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and native Philadelphian Melinda Wagner….

The six invited composers––selected from the alumnae of ACO’s Underwood, EarShot, and Jazz Composer Orchestra Institute programs––will travel to Philadelphia to work collaboratively with the Orchestra. The composers are Melody Eötvös (pictured, 2014 Underwood New Music Readings), Hilary Purrington (2017 Underwood New Music Readings), Chen-Hui Jen (2012 EarShot Readings San Diego Symphony), Robin Holcomb (2016 Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute Readings Naples Philharmonic), Xi Wang (2010 Underwood New Music Readings); and Nina C. Young (2013 Underwood New Music Readings).

Philly has been notably remiss until now in featuring women composers.

Just in from the Cleveland Orchestra:

We take the recent report of sexual misconduct allegations against concertmaster William Preucil very seriously. As previously indicated, we have suspended Mr. Preucil as of July 27, 2018.

The Board of Trustees has formed a special committee to conduct an independent investigation.  David J. Hooker (former Managing Partner of Thompson Hine LLP) is chair of the committee; Alexander Cutler (former Chair and CEO of Eaton Corporation), Stephen Hoffman (President of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland), Loretta J. Mester (President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland) and Beth E. Mooney (Chair and Chief Executive Officer KeyCorp) serve as members of the committee. They have selected Helen V. Cantwell and Arian M. June from the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP to investigate Mr. Preucil’s tenure at The Cleveland Orchestra and any other matters that are raised in the course of Debevoise’s work. Upon the conclusion of the review, we will share the key findings.

The hallowed incubator of modernist music at Donaueschingen is under fire over an apparently decommissioned work.


Here’s the view of composer Wieland Hoban and a host of familiar fellow-travellers:

(More background here in VAN magazine)

Censorship in Donaueschingen


For decades, the Donaueschingen Festival (Donaueschinger Musiktage) has stood not only for new sounds, but also for new ideas and discourses, including controversial ones. Whether dealing with world politics or cultural policy, with globalization or equal opportunities in the music industry, there were generally no taboo topics.

Not in the past, at least; for I was recently forced to acknowledge that there are evidently some restrictions after all. I shared my ideas for a possible new orchestral work with the festival’s artistic director, Björn Gottstein, and asked if he might be interested in taking on the project. As well as outlining some of its anticipated sonic features, I explained that I was intending to make the piece part of my cycle on the Gaza Strip, which deals specifically with the three-week military offensive by Israel between December 2008 and January 2009 and uses documentary material, namely the testimony of an Israeli soldier who participated in the offensive.

After some time for reflection Mr Gottstein finally sent me his response on 16 July, in which he stated that he would rather give other composers a chance, as I had already been featured on the programme in 2016. I was certainly aware of this, and knew that it was an entirely fair argument. My understanding came to an abrupt end, however, when I read the next point: he told me in the clearest possible terms that although he gave composers a free hand in their use of political content, he would not tolerate any criticism of Israel at the festival and would prevent the appearance of any piece on the programme that contained such criticism. (Mr Gottstein expressly denied authorisation to publish the exact words of his statement.)

Though written in a private context, these words were an unambiguous policy statement by a public broadcaster. Mr Gottstein did not respond to my reply, sent the same day, in which I questioned this policy, and he reaffirmed it during a personal encounter on 18 July. It is nothing new that criticizing the state of Israel is a very uncomfortable matter for many in Germany, and that the burden of past German crimes often leads to the view that condemning present injustices is not appropriate in the case of Israel, at least not in Germany. Nor is it news that political pressure is exerted to suppress the topic, as was recently in evidence at the Ruhrtriennale festival.

But I consider it unacceptable for a public debate to be prevented by censorship, whatever the issue. As an employee of a public broadcaster, Mr Gottstein should not be in a position to prevent discussion of a particular topic due to his own personal convictions. Naturally curators can decide which projects they consider productive or interesting; but this is not a matter of one particular project or one particular person, for Gottstein’s words constitute an absolute ban that applies to any and all composers who might be interested in addressing this subject. I and my colleagues listed below believe that this cannot be tolerated. We believe that art must be a forum for the free exchange of ideas and reject every form of censorship.

Wieland Hoban
Composer and translator


Alejandro T. Acierto, sound artist and performer
Jack Adler-McKean, tubist
Patrícia Sucena de Almeida, composer
Udi Aloni, filmmaker
Pedro Alvarez, composer
Samuel Andreyev, composer
Pavlos Antoniadis, pianist and musicologist
Avshalom Ariel, composer and producer
Jessica Aszodi, soprano
Derek Ball, composer
Daphna Baram, comedian and director of the Israeli Committee Against House                        Demolitions
Mark Barden, composer
Ronnie Barkan, Israeli dissident
Richard Barrett, composer
Bernardo Barros, composer
Jeanie Barton, singer and composer
Günther Basmann,  musician and music therapist
Rolf Becker, actor and trade unionist
Maarten Beirens, musicologist
Esther Bejarano, musician and anti-fascist
Avi Berg, artist
Alberto Bernal, composer
Susan Blackwell, lecturer in linguistics
Philipp Blume, composer
Santiago Bogacz, composer
Dante Boon, composer
Mark Braverman, theologian and peace activist
Andreas Bräutigam, violinist
Haim Bresheeth, filmmaker, photographer and film scholar
Seth Brodsky, musicologist
Samuel Cedillo, composer
Carolyn Chen, composer
Noam Chomsky, linguist and author
Amy Cimini, musicologist
Rhona Clarke, composer
Siobhán Cleary, composer
Anne E. Cooper, poet, photographer and writer
Glenn Cornett, arts venue owner and composer
Nico Couck, guitarist
Frederik Croene, composer
Vincent Daoud, saxophonist
Raymond Deane, composer
Louis d’Heudieres, composer
Bill Dietz, composer and writer
Laurence Dreyfus, musician and musicologist
Henk van Driel, musician and painter
Jason Eckardt, composer
Dietrich Eichmann, composer
Thomas Eisner, violinist
Nancy Elan, violinist
Hajdi Elzeser, pianist
James Erber, composer
Turgut Erçetin, composer
Marc Estrin, novelist
Ray Evanoff, composer
John Fallas, writer and musicologist
Brandon Farnsworth, curator and musicologist
Tobias Faßhauer, musicologist
Amanda Feery, composer
Dror Feiler, composer
Gordon Fellman, sociologist
Mikail Fernstrom, composer and artist
Norman G. Finkelstein, author and political scientist
Michael Finnissy, composer
Sylvia Finzi, visual and sound artist
Mark Fitzgerald, musicologist
Heather Frasch, composer
Michael Gallope, musician and musicologist
Stephen Gardner, composer
Annie Garlid, violist and musicologist
Amit Gilutz, composer
Sumanth Gopinath, musicologist
Orlando Gough, composer
Annette Groth, sociologist, journalist and former German MP
Bnaya Halperin-Kaddari, composer
Mena Mark Hanna, musicologist and composer
Sam Hayden, composer
Iris Hefets, psychoanalyst and author, head of Jewish Voice for Peace Germany
Honor Heffernan, singer and actor
Björn Heile, musicologist
Dré Hočevar, composer and performer
Aaron Holloway-Nahum, composer and conductor
Mehdi Hosseini, composer and festival director
Julia Huizenga, painter
Martin Iddon, composer and musicologist
Erik Janson, composer
Graeme Jennings, violinist
Jewish Voice for Peace Germany
Fergus Johnston, composer
Seth Josel, guitarist
Georg Karger, double bassist
Dominik Karski, composer
Seth Kim-Cohen, writer and musician
Naveen Kishore, publisher
Leo van der Kleij, photographer and visual artist
Axel Klein, musicologist
Trevor Knight, composer, musician and actor
Mark Knoop, pianist
Martyna Kosecka, composer and conductor
Uday Krishnakumar, composer
Clara Latham, composer and musicologist
Michael Leslie, pianist
Les Levidow, musician and academic
Divina Levrini, musician and peace activist
Liza Lim, composer
Adi Liraz, interdisciplinary and performance artist
Peter van Loon, music machine builder
Michelle Lou, composer and sound artist
Ryszard Lubieniecki, composer and accordionist
Julien Malaussena, composer
Irmi Maunu-Kocian, arts administrator
Clint McCallum, composer and performer
Timothy McCormack, composer
Savas Michael-Matsas, writer
Cornelia Mitter, graphic artist
Idin Samimi Mofakham, composer, performer and festival director
Ryan Muncy, saxophonist
Max Murray, composer and tubist
Vidyanand Nanjundiah, biologist
Jan Nederlof, painter
Lewis J. Nielson, composer
Andrew Noble, composer
Laudan Nooshin, musicologist
Keith O’Brien, composer
Anne-Marie O’Farrell, composer
Jonathan Ofir, violinist and conductor
Ian Pace, pianist and musicologist
João Pais, engraver, performer and composer
Joan Arnau Pàmies, composer
Ilan Pappé, historian
Yoav Pasovsky, composer
Hadas Pe’ery, composer and sound artist
Stefan Pohlit, composer and ethnomusicologist
Mauricio Pauly, composer
Marek Poliks, composer
Ian Power, composer
Alwynne Pritchard, composer, performer and curator
Stephanie Reiss, physicist
Heather Roche, clarinettist
Sara Roy, political economist and author
Matthew Rubenstein, pianist
Rhian Samuel, composer
Carlos Sandoval, composer
Ruben Mattia Santorsa, guitarist
Maximilian Sauer, sound director
Fabienne Séveillac, mezzo-soprano and artistic director
Richard Scott, composer
Avi Shlaim, historian
Alexander Sigman, composer
Jurgen Simpson, composer
Adrian Smith, musicologist
Nirit Sommerfeld, singer
Aureliana Sorrento, journalist
Michael Spencer, composer
Gavin Steingo, musicologist
Lester St. Louis, cellist and composer
Sarah Streatfeild, violinist
Tom Suárez, violinist, composer and author
Alex Temple, composer
Alice Teyssier, flutist and soprano
Marcelo Toledo, composer
Peter Tregear, musicologist and performer
Pilgrim Tucker, community organiser
Tanya Ury, artist, writer, poet and activist
Ine Vanoeveren, flutist
Jackie Walker, political activist
Fredrik Wallberg, composer
Naomi Waltham-Smith, musicologist
Roger Waters, musician and activist
Barbara Balba Weber, lecturer for music outreach
Ian Wellens, musicologist and festival organiser
Ian Willcock, composer
Rachel Beckles Wilson, musicologist
Jeremy Woodruff, composer
Seth Parker Woods, cellist
Claudius von Wrochem, cellist and music outreach practitioner
Ahmad Yacoub, electrical engineer
Arash Yazdani, composer and conductor
Franck Yeznikian, composer
Somaye Zadeh, musician and poet
Slavoj Žižek, philosopher
Moshe Zuckermann, historian


From Deutsche Welle:

After the (Israeli) embassy awarded three Israeli artists 1,200 € towards their travel and accommodation costs, the BDS movement — a global campaign to boycott Israeli products and services — demanded a boycott of the Pop-Kultur music and arts festival.

US musician John Maus, Scottish singer-songwriter Alun Woodward, English musician Nadine Shah and her countryman Richard Dawson, the post-punk trio Shopping, and Welsh artist Gwenno seem to have heeded the call. They’ve cancelled their appearances at Pop-Kultur, justifying their decision with the current political situation involving Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Read on here.

We’ve received well over 100 comments on Murray Khouri’s Slipped Disc memoir of the podium monster, whether on site or on social media. Szell has lost none of his capacity to intrigue and infuriate and the keenly awaited upcoming box of Cleveland recordings will give us further cause for comment.

Some, however, see only the good in the man.

This is from Myron Bloom, 92 at Indiana University:

I want it known that Georg Szell was an absolute genius. It was the greatest privilege of my life to be his principal horn for over 25 years. I am appalled  and shocked that this article was printed. Some musicians did not have the capacity to understand the gift that they were receiving. Too bad  for them but please do not besmirch this great true musician.

Myron Bloom


The past decade has produced outstanding talents on the piano, most of them from major competitions.

Daniil Trifonov (Tchaikovsky), Seong-jin Cho (Chopin), Beatrice Rana (Van Cliburn), Boris Giltburg (Reine Elisabeth) and quite a few others since 2008 have already left big footprints on the concert stage.


But I struggle to name a single winner of a major violin competition who has made a comparable mark apart from, perhaps, Ray Chen (Reine Elisabeth, 2009).

Now why is that?

Last night Montreal announced yet another violin competition. Is that what we really need?