The former head of the State Opera of South Australia pleaded not guilty in Adelaide today on charges that include indecent assault and an unlawful sexual relationship with a child.

Timothy Sexton, 58, will appear again in court in January. He has been executive and artistic director of the state opera since 2011.

The alleged offences date from the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Sexton’s name was released for publication today.

A Maryland judge has denied a peace order against concertmaster Jonathan Carney, but the orchestra have extended his suspension until next week..

It accuses him Carney of ‘behaving in an unprofessional manner and exercising poor judgment.’

This is, as we warned, not getting any better.


AP reports that President Donald Trump will not be attending the Kennedy Center Honors for cultural achievement this year, his second boycott in succession.

His wife will also stay away.

They must have something against Philip Glass. Or maybe it’s going to rain.

Other honorees are Cher, Wayne Shorter, Reba McEntire and the Hamilton team.

Booking opens tonight for the 2019 Salzburg summer festival and the big cats have been let out of the bag.

The Australian Barrie Kosky, who spent last summer at Bayreuth, will direct Offenbach’s Orphée aux Enfers. Peter Sellars (who has never been booked at Bayreuth) will do Mozart’s Idomeneo.

Achim Freyer – and this is seriously exciting – will direct George Enescu’s Oedipe. And Simon Stone will be in charge of Cherubini’s Médée.


Conducting the Berlin Phil in Taiwan.

They are inaugurating the National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts, its first international visitors.


From a new Canadian study:

Music has been identified as a strength in people with Autism Spectrum Disorder….

Fifty-one children aged 6–12 years with autism were randomized to receive 8–12 weeks of music (n = 26) or non-music intervention (n = 25). The music intervention involved use of improvisational approaches through song and rhythm to target social communication. The non-music control was a structurally matched behavioural intervention implemented in a non-musical context. Groups were assessed before and after intervention on social communication and resting-state functional connectivity of fronto-temporal brain networks. Communication scores were higher in the music group post-intervention (difference score = 4.84, P = .01).

More here.


Robin Makin, of the Liverpool law firm informs us of the death of Betty Roberts, former principal cello of the Phil and widow of the principal oboe, Keith Wood. He has given these facts of her life:

Betty was born in Leeds on 26th August 1927.  The daughter of Francis George Roberts, a schoolmaster, and Rosa (née Maltby), she was educated at West Leeds High School and studied cello with her uncle, Arthur Haynes, principal cellist of the Northern Philharmonic Orchestra. 

In 1947, aged 19, Betty was appointed to her first professional job with the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra. The players were in awe of their guest conductor, Sir Thomas Beecham and had a wonderful time.  Many fell in love with each other and Betty was no exception – it was where she met her husband, Keith Wood. 

Betty played with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with the Hallé (in the glorious days of Sir John Barbirolli) and the BBC.  She re-joined the RLPO as principal cellist in 1976 with Keith being the Orchestra’s principal oboe.  

In solo passages Betty sometimes had nervous anticipation.  However, having performed what on occasion a duet with a great soloist (such as in the slow movement of the Brahms second piano concerto) she felt exhilarated.  She regarded Elgar as the composer of the finest orchestral parts for the cello.

Betty was immaculate and elegant. Taxi drivers were kept waiting at the door countless times until Betty was ready: everything had to be to perfection.  When she played an integral part in the introduction of the black trouser suite for the ladies in the RLPO, they were glamorous and floaty in chiffon and crepe. She did the best impressions of conductor John Pritchard and Hillary Groves the wife of conductor, Sir Charles Groves.

For much of her career Betty played on an instrument made by Nicolas Amati in 1667.

The debilitating effects of playing the cello caused Betty shoulder and back problems. In 1984 Betty embarked on a career of lectures, workshops and talks on a variety of music and speech related subjects. She also became a Blue Badge registered guide, arranging tours of Liverpool’s rich heritage of music, theatre and the arts. Her preparation was immaculate.  Betty attended Leah Mainwaring’s “Communication & Public Speaking” classes.  She gained medals for the speaking of verse and prose, public speaking and an A.L.A.M Diploma.  She researched with the assistance of the Central Library recordings on CD for her classes to make sure the recordings she played were of the highest standards. She ensured the same was done for the music to be played at her funeral.

Betty’s speaking voice was a joy to listen to.  Her presentation was unique and entertaining.  Betty drew on her abundant knowledge about composers, instruments, musicians, orchestras and many personal anecdotes of her musical career. Betty was interested in their welfare of those attending her classes and she had a ‘fan club’ of pupils who looked forward to her weekly Music for Pleasure class.  Each year Keith joined Betty in extending hospitality entertaining the whole class for lunch at their home in Grassendale.

Betty took great pleasure in her garden and did a lot of cooking in the Cordon Bleu style.  She joked that the cellar of her home would be the best place to be in the event of nuclear war as it was fully stocked with an amazing array of Harrods Food Hall products and Keith’s wine.


Symphoria’s principal pops conductor, Sean O’Loughlin, and his family have been forced to evacuate their home at the approach of the California wildfires.

O’Loughlin lives in the Westlake Village area of Los Angeles County. ‘I want to thank everyone who has shown us kind words, concern and love during this unbelievable time,’ O’Loughlin said.

More here.

The hardworking Swede has cancelled Turandot at the Teatro Real in Madrid.

She will be replaced in the Robert Wilson production by Oksana Dyka and Irene Theorin.

The Brahms-Institut of the Lübeck music academy has acquired an unknown letter of Johannes Brahms.

Dated October 1868, it congratulates the singer Maria Schmidt on her marriage to the composer Theodor Kirchner.

Brahms is 35 at the time and unmarried. Had he fancied Maria?

We may never know.

photo © Brahms-Institut Lübeck


Wolfgang Zuckermann invented the do-it-yourself harpsichord kit.

A German-Jewish immigrant in New York, he issued his first kit in 1960 and sold 10,000 in a decade, from a workshop on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village.

Caustic about other makers, he wrote of one brand that it was tubby, ugly and ‘suffers from laryngitis, possessing a coarse, whispering tone.’

He moved to London in the 1970s, becoming a published expert on its mews and byways.

In 1994, he opened a bookshop in Avignon, where he has just died.

Valentin Snegirev, who has died at 86, was principal percussionist of the USSR State Orchestra from 1952 to 2002.

He was also principal singer at the State Academy of Music.

In 1956, he participated with Svyatoslav Richter and Vasily Lobanov in the Soviet premiere of Bartok’s sonata for two pianos and percussion.

He was a tough cookie, they say.