Meet Michael Shaham, son of Hagai. He’s 15 years old and he has been playing the violin in Israel under his father’s tuition since he was six.

He has now reached the stage of playing the Tchaikovsky concerto with professional orchestras.


Michael’s older sister, Noga, plays viola. She’s 17.

Their aunt is the international mezzo-soprano Rinat Shaham.


Constantine Orbelian is no longer General Director and Artistic Director of Yerevan Opera.

The American conductor was sacked by the acting culture minister after budget disagreements.

Orbelian is a well-connected musician who made numerous recordings with the late Dmitri Hvorostovsky. He had been in charge in Yerevan for less than three years.


From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

If I have a small reservation about the Boston Symphony’s playing under Andris Nelsons, it is that they lack the ragged edges that Shostakovich might have expected to hear in music of such half-blinded rage. Russian orchestras leave blood on the floor after playing Shostakovich 7. Boston leaves, at most, tissues.

 The Nelsons Shostakovich cycle is, however, proving epochal, a must-have guide to the works of this great master….

Read on here.

And here.

From the Minnesota Orchestra season roll-out, just in:

The Orchestra also offers a new Musical Mindfulness program (page 8), expanding upon the recently-added Yoga Class at Orchestra Hall series by presenting three guided meditation sessions onstage with an Orchestra musician or small ensemble providing live music at each event. 

Alex Mugnaioni, star of a UK tour of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, has left his instrument on a train.

It was the 18.34 Southeastern from London Bridge to Sidcup, Mugnaioni. Email if you have seen it.

The mandolin is dated 1890.

Mugnaioni said: ‘We spent a long time hunting for the perfect Mandolin, it’s devastating to lose it so close to the show. I’m playing throughout the show and you create quite a connection with an instrument. If anyone has picked it up by mistake we’d be so grateful for its return.’


The plan is to increase entry cost to the bear-pit from a ridiculously low 3-4 Euros to a still affordable 10 Euros. The increase will be phased in over the course of next season.

Stand by for gilet-jaune protests.

Here’s the official version:

Seitens des Eigentümervertreters, der Bundestheater-Holding, wurde die Geschäftsführung der Wiener Staatsoper im Zuge der Budgetplanung angehalten, ab 2019/2020 die Stehplatzpreise zu erhöhen. Die Wiener Staatsoper möchte den StammkundInnen dennoch die Möglichkeit geben, ihre Stehplatzkarte zum bisherigen Preis zu erwerben.

InhaberInnen der – kostenlos erhältlichen – BundestheaterCard können im Rahmen des allgemeinen Vorverkaufs (d.h. ab Mai 2019 für September, ab Juni für Oktober sowie in der Folge zwei Monate vor dem jeweiligen Vorstellungstermin) eine Stehplatzkarte (max. 1 Karte pro Vorstellung pro Person bzw. Kunde) an den Kassen oder online bis einen Tag vor der jeweiligen Vorstellung erwerben. Der Preis beträgt wie zuletzt € 4,- und € 3,- (bzw. € 2,50 und € 2,- bei Preisen K, M und F). Beim Online-Kauf sind die verfügbaren Stehplatzkarten erst nach erfolgreicher Anmeldung und nur für BundestheaterCard-KundInnen sichtbar (Infos zur BundestheaterCard unter

Am Vorstellungstag werden Stehplatzkarten zum Einheitspreis von € 10,- (bzw. € 5,- bei Preisen K und M) angeboten, und zwar wie bisher ab 80 Minuten vor Beginn an der Stehplatzkassa.

Die Stehplatzberechtigungskarte sowie die Stehplatzschecks werden ab der Saison 2019/2020 nicht mehr aufgelegt.

It’s been one of the more engaging competitions that I have seen.

You can watch the finals at these times.

Friday 29th March 

19.30-21.30  violin finals 1 – participants choose any major concerto of their choice from 19th or 20th century repertoire

Saturday 30th March

15.00 – 17.00 clarinet finals – participants perform Mozart clarinet concerto in A major, K.622, 1st Movement + Nielsen clarinet concerto

19.30 – 21.00 flute finals – Mozart flute concerto in G, KV 313, 2nd and 3rd movements + Nielsen Flute concerto

Sunday 31st March

14.00-16.30  violin finals 2 – participants perform Nielsen’s violin concerto

18.00              prize ceremony for all three competitions


All you need to do is click here.


The US radio show Performance Today has come up with this clumsy gong.

It has given the 2019 award to Joann Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Fine musician. Very nice person. Meaningless title.


Among the many memories shared with me by the sorely-missed Victor Hochhauser:

….After Oistrakh, there was Slava — the cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich who, when in London, insisted on staying at the Hochhausers. After the Soviets threw him out for giving shelter to the dissident writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Slava and his family lived in the Hochhauser office for a while, permanently wrecking Victor’s credit in Moscow. Victor eventually got him a flat in Maida Vale.

After concerts, coming down literally to earth, Slava would get on his knees and scrub the tiled floor. At his 60th birthday in Washington DC, with the Hochhausers and half of Hollywood in attendance, I saw Nancy Reagan take charge of the orchestra to conduct “Happy Birthday”….

Read on here.

I have written an extensive piece for Standpoint on the perpendicular rise of women with batons.

It starts like this:

Change is coming — gender change. Half of England’s orchestras and opera houses are looking for a music director. Vladimir Jurowski and Esa-Pekka Salonen are leaving the London Philharmonic and the Philharmonia. Antonio Pappano has served notice on Covent Garden. Opera North is headless. Vasily Petrenko is stepping down at the Royal Liverpool Phil and Mark Elder has supposedly renewed for the last time at the Hallé. 

This kind of mass transition is rare, so much so you’d have to go back to 1990 when Bernstein and Karajan died. Then, it was about generational shift. Now, it’s about gender politics….

Read on here.




Mark Reizen lived to the grand age of 97.