Customs officials at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport have seized a valuable 18th century violin from the violinist Nikolai Managazze, who has applied to compete in the Tchaikovsky competition.

The instrument is on loan from a Swiss foundation. The Russians have demanded proof that it is not part of their national heritage.

Managazze, who was born in Moscow and is based in Dubai, was held for several hours and, his wife says, was not allowed to call an expert to testify on his beahlf.

Valery Gergiev and others will give a press conference tomorrow for the launch of the Tchaikovsky Competition. If you are there, please ask them what assurances contestants have that their istruments will not be seized by the Russian state.


From Vancouver Trombone Week:

We hear from Schott Music that Joe Schittino, director of the Pietro Vinci Music Institute of Caltagirone, will rename the institute’s auditorium this weekend after the late Steve Martland.

Steve Martland, one of the great provocateurs, died in May 2013 at the age of 58.

The Dutch oboist Dorine Schoon has been talking about starvation-level fees  for freelance musicians in the Netherlands:

‘In professional orchestras, from the Concertgebouw, the Metropole, to the regional orchestras, one receives 87 euros gross ($97) for a three-hour rehearsal. Travel time is not reimbursed. You can spend seven to eight hours for 87 euros…

‘If I play solos for a packed house, I get 136 euros gross ($152.80)…

‘On radio and TV we are expected to play for free.’

Dorine has founded a Platform for Freelance Musicians to protest at these inequities.


The rarely sighted pianist, 73, has been replaced at a grand recital in the Paris Philharmonie by Arcady Volodos.


Madame, Monsieur, cher public,

Vous avez acheté une ou plusieurs place(s) pour le récital du pianiste Radu Lupu du 23 mai.

Nous vous informons que pour des raisons de santé, ce dernier est dans l’obligation d’annuler son récital à la Philharmonie de Paris.

Piano**** le remplace par une figure notoire du piano d’aujourd’hui : Arcadi Volodos.


The 12 finalists of the Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition 2019 were announced late last night:

Stella Chen (USA, 26)
Timothy Chooi (Canada, 25)
Ioana Cristina Goicea (Romania/Germany, 26)
Luke Hsu (USA, 28) 
Sylvia Huang (Belgium, 25)
Stephen Kim (USA, 23)
Shannon Lee (Canada/USA, 26)
Seiji Okamoto (Japan, 24)
Júlia Pusker (Hungary, 27)
Eva Rabchevska (Ukraine, 22)
Ji Won Song (Korea, 26)
Yukiko Uno (Japan, 23)

Smile, please.

A message from the German tenor:

Dear Friends,
Regrettably, I am forced to take a short break due to a slight mishap: I choked on some food, and could only clear my throat through very violent coughing. Unfortunately, this bout of coughing was not good for my voice. Luckily, the irritation was found very quickly and therefore we are confident that my voice will recover soon. To be on the safe side however, we will unfortunately have to cancel part of the Tosca performances in Paris.
I will keep you posted,
Jonas Kaufmann


We hear the the opening night of Rigoletto in Melbourne was held up while an elderly man began shouting through a megaphone at the orchestra from the front row of the stalls.

Some eyewitnesses have named the disrupter as a 90 year-old composer who feels unfairly neglected by Opera Australia. We await confirmation.

UPDATE: The composer has been identified as George Dreyfus. He had an opera commissioned by the company 50 years ago but never staged.

Here’s how it looked:


The Indiannapolis Symphony Orchestra has found a curious way to announce that  Krzysztof Urbański is leaving them as music director in 2021, with no successor in sight.

Here’s the wording:

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, along with Music Director Krzysztof Urbański, is preparing for a transition in artistic leadership in 2021. The 2020-21 season will conclude Maestro Urbański’s tenure with the ISO, marking a decade of artistic partnership in Indianapolis…

The ISO will conduct a search for a new music director as Maestro Urbański’s term comes to a close, ensuring a smooth transition of leadership. A search committee will be formed for this purpose, with ISO musicians, staff, and board represented in the process.