Lucy Harris, founder of Leavers for Britain and a Brexit Party candidate for the EU Parliament elections, claims ‘I used to be an opera singer’.


It must be one of the few election claims that cannot be disproved.

Recognise her, anybody?



Judges have been announced for the next Yehudi Menuhin Competition, which will take place in Richmond, Virginia, in May 2020.

It’s mostly the usual suspects:

Pamela Frank (Chair, USA),
Joji Hattori (Vice Chair, Japan/Austria),
Noah Bendix-Balgley (USA/Germany),
Ray Chen (Australia),
Aaron Dworkin (USA),
Ning Feng (China/Germany),
Ralph Kirshbaum (USA),
Anton Nel (South Africa/USA)
and Soyoung Yoon (South Korea/Switzerland).


Statement from CSOA:


On Wednesday evening, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association accepted Mayor Emanuel’s offer to assist with the current negotiations. The Association appreciates Mayor Emanuel’s offer, and we look forward to working with him and the Chicago Federation of Musicians toward a mutually acceptable contract for the members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.


The Dallas Symphony has hired Katharina Wincor as assistant conductor, part of its fast-track process for women with batons

Wincor, who is 23 and Austrian, has been working with the Arnold Schoenberg Choir in Vienna.



From Dance magazine:

According to the H+ | The Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory, one in every three dancers in New York City lives under the poverty line, and may lack the resources to purchase the ingredients they need to make nutritious meals.

Not to mention the fact that dancers are busy, and often running around from class to rehearsal to performance to side hustle, grabbing whatever they can get to eat on-the-go.

That’s what inspired H+ to give out free groceries to dancers through their monthly DanceMart program. No, there’s no catch—in fact, since the program’s founding in 2015 they’ve given out $1.3 million worth of groceries to over 7,500 dancers…

Read on here.


The family have announced the death of Frederick L. Hemke, a formidable saxophonist and influential professor for half a century at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music.

Among the works he premiered was Allan Pettersson’s 16th symphony and a Hemke Concerto by Augusta Read Thomas.

He is possibly best known as the inventor of a line of reeds trademarked as the Frederick L. Hemke Reeds.


Obit from the Bienen School:

Hemke was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on July 11, 1935. In 1956 he became the first American to receive the Premier Prix du Saxophone from the Conservatoire National de Musique in Paris. Hemke earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a master’s in music education from the Eastman School of Music, and a doctor of music degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Hemke joined the Northwestern faculty in 1962 and was named the Louis and Elsie Snydacker Eckstein Professor of Music. He chaired the Department of Music Performance Studies until 1994 and served as senior associate dean for administration. After 50 years of teaching, Hemke retired from the Bienen School of Music in 2012 and was named professor emeritus. His career was celebrated in June 2012 with a Saxophone Orchestra Monster Concert at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, featuring some of the world’s premier saxophonists, many of them his former students. Most recently, Hemke presented a master class for the Northwestern University Saxophone Studio in November 2018.

An internationally recognized saxophonist, Hemke performed and presented master classes and lectures throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. He appeared as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Philharmonic Orchestra, and Korea Philharmonic Orchestra. Having appeared on many occasions as an invited soloist for the World Saxophone Congress, he also coordinated the event when it was held at Northwestern in 1979. He served as an adjudicator for numerous national and international competitions and as a visiting professor at the Conservatoire National de Musique in Paris, the Sweelinck Conservatory of Music in Amsterdam, the Basel Conservatory of Music in Switzerland, and several U.S. universities.

His recordings include solo albums, chamber music, and six recordings with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. As editor for the Southern Music Company, he serves as a consultant for the Selmer Company and the La Voz Corporation, which manufactures the Frederick Hemke Premium Reed.

Hemke received many honors during his distinguished career. In 2004 he was named a Northwestern University Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence. Other honors include the Northwestern Alumni Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award, the Bienen School’s Professor of the Year award (1987, 1989, and 2002), and the Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service to Music Award.

Taimur Sullivan, Bienen School associate professor of saxophone, said Hemke’s boundless knowledge, energy, and wit was infectious.

“There is quite literally no aspect of our profession, in any corner of the globe, that has not been profoundly shaped by his artistry, pedagogy, vision, and leadership over the past 60 years. He was an inspiration to not only countless students over his long and distinguished teaching career, but to his Northwestern family in particular and the classical music community as a whole. Our world is emptier without him, but incredibly richer because of him,” Sullivan said.

Hemke is survived by his wife Junita Borg Hemke, daughter Elizabeth Hemke Shapiro (Nicholas), son Frederic John Borg Hemke (Rachel), and grandchildren Daniel, Martin, Charlotte, and Peter. A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, June 2, 2019, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. at Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Rd., Evanston, IL 60208.

The Pacific Symphony is in mourning for Timothy Landauer, who has died of cancer.

From the orchestra’s tribute:

His grandfather was a German scientist who fled the Nazis before World War II because he was Jewish. He settled in China but wasn’t allowed to leave for the US. He eventually settled in Taiwan. This move created political difficulties for Tim’s parents, the most severe of which was being forced into slave labor during the Cultural Revolution.

Tim’s father was Associate Principal Cellist of the Shanghai Symphony and his mother was a pianist. Tim’s ability to emigrate from China to the US was expedited by virtue of his winning the Piatigorsky Competition in LA in 1983….

Read on here.



From struggling English National Opera:



“For more than 125 years, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has been a crown jewel within Chicago’s rich cultural landscape. None of us want to see that jewel tarnished. After speaking with both parties, it appears that we should be able to achieve an end to this seven-week strike.

Therefore, I am offering the services of my office to serve as a forum where both parties can work in
good faith to facilitate an equitable and fair solution and that brings an end the current impasse.”


The Norwegian label Lawo Classics has been suspended from Facebook after posting cover art on a Baroque release by the Dutch master Jan Davidsz De Heem (1606-1684), which Facebook deemed to be sexual.

It shows two pieces of fruit.

Facebook is not just very, very bad. It shows signs of going completely mad.

The release is Bergen Barokk “Suite Life”.

The Berlin Philharmonic is bringing home its Baden-Baden Otello to the Philharmonie, with Sonya Yoncheva, Arsen Soghomonyan and Luca Salsi.

Tickets are 18 Euros for under-28s.

Zubin conducts.

Tix here.