Nice little feature on the dark arts in Ludwig Van.

“It’s not as difficult as preparing for a political debate,” Kwan notes. The good news is, the world of classical music is generally a more pleasant environment than other, more cutthroat sectors of the arts and entertainment biz. Certainly, it’s nothing like the harsh light of scrutiny that the average pop star deals with on a daily basis. “We’re in a fragile genre of entertainment. There’s a security of comfort.”

“You don’t find that an issue in the arts,” agrees Victoria Lord. “I’ve rarely seen it.”…

Oh, really?

Read on here.

The young Frenchman Luc Mangholz, principal flute of Hamburg’s Elphilharmonie orchestra, won today’s audition for a vacancy at the Vienna State Opera created by the contentious removal of the Italian principal Silvia Careddu.

If he wins tenure, he will also become a member of the Vienna Philharmonic.

Mangholz is 24.

The following statement from the musicians of the Baltimore Symphony illustrates their parlous situation after their bosses cancelled the rest of the season without pay. The orchestra, deep in debt, is run by a hardline board and manager. The musicians can neither strike nor make a public protest without risking further loss of jobs. One-fifth are about to be cut. All they can do is appeal to the public conscience. Here’s what they sent out today:

Musicians’ Statement on Summer Season Cancellation

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra management abruptly cancelled the 2019 summer season yesterday without consulting the BSO musicians and will not pay the musicians past June 16, 2019. This decision defies the good will of the Maryland legislature, Governor Hogan, the citizens of Maryland, and our patrons and donors. The musicians were caught completely off-guard that their paychecks will end in less than a month. These draconian cuts are even more shocking, as they come on the heels of the BSO receiving a $3.2 million allocation in state funding just last week.

The Baltimore Symphony has been a cornerstone of the arts community for over one hundred years. Generations of Baltimore families have been entertained and educated at our performances. It is a hallmark of truly great cities to have institutions that enrich the cultural landscape and keep the arts alive and flourishing for generations to come. A vital orchestra is just as essential to a
thriving metropolitan area as museums, aquariums, theaters and stadiums. Maryland has shown that it wants a great orchestra. The State of Maryland has been incredibly generous in supporting the BSO historically. Just this summer, the State of Maryland was one of the largest supporters of our recent
tour to the United Kingdom and Ireland. After BSO management first proposed reducing the scope of the organization, including musicians’ salaries by 20% on October 30, 2018, the musicians led an appeal to the State legislature to restore public funding to pre-recession levels. We generated over 15,000 letters to elected officials to bring this initiative to fruition. Delegate Maggie McIntosh and her colleagues in the House of Delegates responded by forging HB 1404 to bring $3.2 million in additional funding over the next two fiscal years to the BSO, and to establish a “work group” to take a
comprehensive look at how the organization functions, serves diverse audiences and meets the needs of Baltimore and Maryland communities. The Senate passed it almost unanimously and the bill became law on May 24, 2019.

The timing of this decision to cut the orchestra by 20% by BSO board and management is the most disturbing aspect of this development. The summer season had just recently been announced. HB 1404 had just become law. Musicians have turned down work in other places so we could stay in Baltimore and play for the city and state we love. Now we will be unemployed while the management that caused this debacle will go on collecting their paychecks. The BSO’s president and CEO Peter Kjome and board chair Barbara Bozzuto have done all of this after stating publicly that they would not lock out the musicians. We find this disingenuous, unconscionable and irresponsible.

We urge Governor Hogan to release the funds allocated in HB 1404 with a provision that the BSO cannot lockout or impose cuts on the musicians and that senior management will not be paid if the musicians are not paid. The musicians on the stage are the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. This is evident to all who sit in our audiences and hear the magnificent sounds of this civic treasure. This vital institution has been built by musicians, patrons and civic leaders over the last 103 years. We have worked tirelessly to maintain what has been built here through our legislative efforts, and we will continue working to preserve this gem for the City of Baltimore, the citizens of Montgomery County, and the State of Maryland.

No word yet from the music director.

Jan Raes, managing director of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, will leave at the end of this year.

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra hereby announces that its Managing Director Jan Raes has decided to resign from his position at the end of December 2019. Jan Raes was appointed as general director in 2008 and by the end of 2019 will have led the orchestra for more than 11 years.

It looks like he is being scapegoated for the sacking of music director Daniele Gatti.


Netflix’s horror movie The Perfection is drawing some extreme reactions – from rowdy online protests to viewers complaining they actually threw up.

Set in a cello competition in China, it’s about what happens when Americans fall sick abroad.

Nothing to do with airlines, for once.


Rudolf Danel, one of the oldest known Auschwitz survivors, has died in Chicago, aged 103.

He played trumpet in the prisoners’ orchestra, but did not follow a musical career after the war.


Message from the Latvian singer Elina Garanca:

Dear Friends—with much regret and literally with great pain, I have to postpone my next week of concerts in Vienna and Graz. I had an accident on Monday evening and have broken a rib. I tend to be a good and quick healer, but my rib cage is indispensable for singing, so I have to wait and heal it well!

The semi-finalists were announced overnight at the 2019 Concours musical international de Montréal:

Leonard Fu (Germany)
Youjin Lee (South Korea)
Elli Choi (United States)
Christine Lim (United States/South Korea)
Lun Li (China)
Hao Zhou (United States)
Anna Lee (United States/South Korea)
Gyehee Kim (South Korea)
Hannah Tarley (États-Unis)
Fumika Mohri (Japon/Germany)
Johanna Pichlmair (Austria)
Michiru Matsuyama (Japan)



The Rotterdam Philharmonic has chosen the Portuguese virtuoso Cristiana Neves as first horn.

Apparently, she blew a brilliant audition.

Cristiana Neves Custodio was born in 1997 and began to play the French horn at the age of four. In 2015 she finished her studies with Professor Nuno Costa and moved to the Musikhochschule Hanns Eisler in Berlin, working with Marie-Luise Neunecker.


If this is going to be a new era for the Baltimore Symphony, as its CEO Peter Kjome proclaims, it is going to be short, sharp and inhuman.

Musicians in the orchestra were given less than an hour’s notice yesterday to reorganise their lives before Kjome called off the rest of the season on cost grounds.

He waited just long enough to squeeze extra money from the state legislature, then – chop.

This is not going to have a happy ending.

Kjome dances while Baltimore drowns


In the new issue of Standpoint magazine I assess the latest – and surely the last – biography of the darkly compromised Dutch conductor.

There is new evidence of his attitude to Hitler – and none of it is good.

He worshipped Mussolini and collected picture postcards of Adolf Hitler. He was rude about Jews and, when the Germans invaded his country, gave an interview to the racialist Völkischer Beobachter, announcing his joy at the occupation: “We stayed up all night, ordered champagne and celebrated that great hour. It was truly a great hour . . . Europe awaits a new future.”

There is more. A lot more. Including sexual manipulation.

Read here.


Weeks after announcing a summer season, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra today cancelled it.

‘These decisions were extremely difficult to make and were not entered into lightly, but they are the right ones if the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is going to continue to exist as a nationally renowned organization,’ said BSO President and CEO Peter Kjome. ‘If the BSO is going to survive, our business model needs to change, and that change begins in earnest today.’

Every lone step forward at Baltimore is followed by two steps back.

These are the events affected:
New Music Festival – June 20-22.
Oregon Ridge Star-Spangled Spectacular – July 3.
Leslie Odom Jr. – July 5.
Harry Potter film with orchestra – July 11-13.
BSO performance at Artscape – July 19.
Cirque Dances – July 26-27.