The deadine for application passed this week and they’ve just finished counting the number of submissions.

It is 954 from 58 countries.

They will now be whittled down by judges on the strength of their videos.

The final number of admissions will be 24 pianists, 24 violinists, 24 cellists, 60 vocalists (30 men/women) and 96 wind instrument players.



From the PR division of the Philadelphia music director:

Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s “A Cat’s Music Playlist” is available to stream or download on Apple Music and Spotify. Along with the playlist, Yannick provided a personal note with each selection to provide insight into why he chose the work.

“A Cat’s Music Playlist” Companion

Chopin: The Nocturnes by Claudio Arrau–“Ideal for afternoon pet naps … Once in a while, I will even play some Nocturnes on my Pleyel piano at home so my cats can hear it live!”

Debussy, Fauré & Ravel: String Quartets by Quatuor Ébène–“French music is a favorite of our three cats, and the sounds of string instruments remind them of Pierre playing his viola at home.”

Schubert: Lieder by Franz Schubert, Renée Fleming, Christoph Eschenbach–“Animals have great taste when it comes to the human voice—and our dear friend Renée’s voice always casts a spell on them!”

Destination Rachmaninov: Departure by Daniil Trifonov, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin–“Our cats are great romantics; they love passionate music. This one is for early evenings, with some adrenalin rushes before a good night’s sleep.”

Mahler: Symphony No. 5 by The Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin–“Our cats each have their favorite movement: Rodolfo indulges in the first movement, Melisande purrs during the Adagietto, and Rafa revels in the Finale!”

Mendelssohn: Symphonies 1-5 (Live) by the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, RIAS Kammerchor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin–“This is clearly morning music: lots of energy and good for playful moments!”

Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro by Luca Pisaroni, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin–“As you may notice, our cats have operatic names and, fortunately, they love listening to opera. This great Mozart masterpiece is one of their favorites!”

Richard Strauss: Tone Poems by Herbert von Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic–“Even with his Italian name, our Rodolfo is a big fan of German music, when it is bold, full, and rich, like this great collection.”

Wagner: Parsifal by Sir George Solti, Vienna Philharmonic–“Our first cat was named Parsifal, and his love for Wagner’s music was second to none. Parsifal was a real connoisseur and would listen (and nap) during the entire opera (close to five hours!).”

Debussy by Seong-Jin Cho–“Once upon a time, we had a Pelleas next to our dear Melisande, and the sounds of Debussy at the piano would be the soundtrack to their cuddles.”

Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 1-9 by the Orchestre Métropolitain, Yannick Nézet-Séguin–“It might seem like an odd choice, but Bruckner’s symphonies are a big hit with all of our cats! I believe this to be cosmic music, and it touches the harmony of the earth and nature, and therefore … our pets!”

Stravinsky / Stokowski–The Rite of Spring / Bach Transcriptions by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, The Philadelphia Orchestra–“When our cats need to burn some energy—sprints, marathons, mouse-toy hunting—this is the perfect soundtrack!”

Rossini: Cats’ Duet by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf–“Well, ‘of course’ our cats can sing this ‘better’ (in their minds), but they still enjoy when humans try to imitate their unique vocabulary.”

Speaks Volumes by Nico Muhly–“Our pets have long and tiring days. After all, a commitment to napping takes much energy! This collection of pieces from our dear friend (and pet lover) Nico is sure to be restorative.”

Higdon / Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos by Hilary Hahn, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Vasily Petrenko–“Our dear friend Jennifer Higdon is Philadelphia-based, a true animal lover, and one of the great composers of our time. Our cats can discern how special her music is!”

Brahms: The Hungarian Connection by Andreas Ottensamer–“Our close friend Andy wouldn’t disagree; the clarinet is the perfect cat instrument! Our little friends LOVE to listen to clarinet music, and Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet is ideal for lullabies before the night (or before another nap!).”


Larry Johnson has written a perceptive, painful up-to-the minute account of the Chicago Symphony strike. He seems to have struck a chord with this sentence:

‘…  slowly, quietly, yet inexorably both the institution and the musicians appear to be losing material support and hard-won loyalty from the very people that matter most—their long-time subscribers and loyal audience members.’

Read the full article here.

The new man in the hot seat is Aidan Oliver, who has has been Acting Chorus Master for the past month.

Aidan, 43, is founding director of Philharmonia Voices, a professional choir that works with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen. He is also director of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, which will involve some shuttling up the train schedules.

Stephen Langridge, Artistic Director of Glyndebourne, said: ‘We’re delighted to have made this appointment. The Glyndebourne Chorus enjoys an international reputation for excellence and Aidan’s pedigree and experience as a chorus director makes him the ideal person to guide the ensemble in to the future.’

Let’s hope so. The last chap departed abruptly and is seeking compensation.



Madrid rolled out 2019-20 this morning, an interesting collection from Juan Matabosch:

Don Carlo (Verdi) · Nicola Luisotti (c) David McVicar (d)

Il pirata (Bellini) – Maurizio Benini (c) Emilio Sagi (d)/ Barrie Kosky ·

Into the Little HIll (George Benjamin) · Tim Murray (c) Marcos Morau (d)

Three Tales (Reich) · Nacho de Paz, Norbert Ommer

Achille in Sciro (Corselli) – Ivor Bolton (c) Mariame Clement (d)

Lear (Reimann) – Simone Young (c) Calixto Bieito (d)

The Passenger (Weinberg) – David Afkham (c) David Pountney (c)

Cast details here.

Igor Levit has recorded the 32 piano sonatas for Sony.

The big box lands in September.

In his first season as music director of the Zurich Tonhalle orchestra, Paavo Järvi’s concerts will focus on his Nordic roots in Estonia, Russia,
Finland, Latvia and Sweden.

Opening with Sibelius’s Kullervo, he will go on to record the complete Tchaikovsky symphonies for Alpha, instal the Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür as the orchestra’s Creative Chair and take parties of Swiss to his summer festival at Pärnu.

Details are just being announced.


Contrary to yesterday’s story in The Stage, the ACE today insists that excellence will still play a part in its grant allocations. Two tweets in reply to our previous story:



Members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra have sent a check to their striking colleagues and this message to the CSOA Board:

The musicians of the Boston Symphony wish to express our unwavering support for our colleagues and fellow musicians of the Chicago Symphony, and urge you to end this strike immediately by withdrawing your demand to discontinue the musicians’ defined benefit pension plan. World-class institutions like the CSO are built and earn their reputations over years, decades, and centuries. But as we have seen countless times, irreparable damage can be done in a matter of days and weeks.

In addition to the vast superiority of defined benefit plans in economic efficiency and cost over the long term, the musicians of the BSO know very well how crucial they are in upholding the artistic quality of ensembles such as ours. Defined benefit plans allow a natural attrition and turn-over of players who are not forced to work past the point where they can contribute fully at the incredibly high level they are expected to perform. By attempting to withdraw this plan, you are threatening the artistic standard and the very heart of your organization.

We respectfully ask that you reconsider your position and offer the musicians of the CSO a contract that will allow them to remain one of the world’s great orchestras. The city of Chicago deserves no less.

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is planning a concert performance of Strauss’s Elektra a year from now.

It will feature Catherine Foster in the title role.

It is her first opera on British soil in 20 years.

Foster, 44, has been a fixture at Bayreuth as Brünnhilde since 2013. Yet no UK opera company has found room in its schedules to present this outstanding British singer.

Could it be a class thing?

Foster spent 15 years as a midwife and nurse in a Nottingham hospital before moving to Germany as a member of the Weimar National Theatre.

She did not come up through the British opera system, a system which persists in denying her existence. She believes the system failed her.


Arts Council England let it be known this week that relevance, not excellence, will be its main reason for giving grants.

The London Symphony Orchestra has promptly retuned:

The latest from the flooded Duisburg theatre is that the damage from a broken sprinkler system is extensive.

Wagner’s Götterdämmerung is supposed to open on May 5, but there is nowhere to rehearse it and hopes of getting it on stage are getting damper by the day. ‘We currently do not know if and in what form we can bring out the production,’ said Deutsche Oper am Rhein’s intendant, Christoph Meyer.