In light of this week’s allegations against the institute, we thought you might like to be reminded of Zsolt Bognar’s interview last year with its long-serving director, Gary Graffman.

Right here.

Trust your judgement.


We have received the following angry email from the manager of the annual Schubertiade at Schwarzenberg:


A few days after the conclusion of the June Schubertiade, I received an email message from Sir András Schiff, which he opened by thanking me for the “wonderful time in Schwarzenberg” and praising the “splendid festival”. Then he criticised the choice of artists and programmes, and complained about the fact that, in June 2020, another pianist will be playing the programme that he originally intended to perform.

In my reply, I asked Sir András Schiff to take some additional information into account in his reasonings. (His statements led to the conclusion that he had only superficially read our programmes.) Furthermore, I pointed out to him that we had received his 2020 programme very late and that the works in question had been promised to a different pianist six months earlier. Finally, I mentioned that his frequent negative remarks on Steinway pianos during the public master class had been quoted in a Dutch critic’s review, and that the audience had not only repeatedly voiced critical comments regarding the Bösendorfer he played in his concerts, but also speculated about the motives for his opinion on Steinway. I added that, for us, his utterances were all but agreeable since our Steinway grand enjoyed daily praise and high esteem from all other pianists.

Sir András Schiff reacted by announcing that he would abstain from all future appearances at the Schubertiade, questioning the judging competence of the Schubertiade audience and briefing against a whole group of artists who regularly perform at our festival.

We would like to thank Elisabeth Leonskaja, who will replace Sir András Schiff in the chamber concert with the Cuarteto Casals on June 26, and Lucas and Arthur Jussen, who made their impressive Schubertiade debut just a few weeks ago and will play the piano matinee on June 28.

With kind regards

Gerd Nachbauer
(Managing Director of the Schubertiade GmbH)
Sehr geehrte

wenige Tage nach dem Abschluß der Juni-Schubertiade-Periode erhielt ich von Sir András Schiff eine Mail-Nachricht, die er mit seinem „Dank für die wunderschöne Zeit in Schwarzenberg“ und einem Lob für das „prachtvolle Festival“ einleitete. Dann übte er u.a. Kritik an der Künstler- und Programmauswahl und beschwerte sich darüber, daß ein anderer Pianist im Juni 2020 jenes Programm spielen wird, das eigentlich er spielen wollte.

In meiner Antwort bat ich Sir András Schiff, bei seinen Überlegungen einige Zusatzinformationen zu berücksichtigen. (Aus seinen Anmerkungen war zu schließen, daß er unsere Programme anscheinend nur oberflächlich gelesen hatte.) Weiters machte ich ihn darauf aufmerksam, daß wir sein Programm für den Juni 2020 erst sehr spät erhalten haben und dieses bereits sechs Monate zuvor einem anderen Pianisten zugesagt worden war. Abschließend erwähnte ich, daß seine wiederholten negativen Äußerungen über Steinway-Klaviere während des Meisterkurses von einem niederländischen Kritiker wörtlich zitiert worden waren und daß es im Publikum zahlreiche kritische Anmerkungen zu dem von ihm verwendeten Bösendorfer-Flügel und Vermutungen über die Hintergründe seiner Meinung über Steinway-Flügel gab. Für uns seien seine Bemerkungen nicht gerade angenehm, da unser Steinway-Flügel von allen anderen Pianisten täglich gelobt und sehr geschätzt wird.

Sir András Schiff reagierte mit der Ankündigung, daß er auf alle zukünftigen Auftritte bei der Schubertiade verzichte, stellte die Beurteilungskompetenz des Schubertiade-Publikums in Frage und äußerte sich abschließend noch sehr negativ über eine ganze Gruppe von bei uns regelmäßig auftretenden Künstlern.

Dankenswerterweise wird Elisabeth Leonskaja beim Konzert des Cuarteto Casals am 26. Juni 2020 das geplante Programm übernehmen und Lucas und Arthur Jussen, die vor wenigen Wochen ihr beeindruckendes Schubertiade-Debüt feiern konnten, werden die Klaviermatinee am 28. Juni 2020 gestalten.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Gerd Nachbauer
(Geschäftsführer der Schubertiade GmbH)


She has dropped out of tonight’s Adriana Lecouvreur with a cold.

The Chinese soprano Hui He steps in.

She’s happy.

But there will be many disconcerted ticket holders.




The great Broadway director has gone to the great white way in the sky. He was 91.

Others will write his obit. He was pivotal to the career of Stephen Sondheim – Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976), and Sweeney Todd (1979).

I saw him stage Turandot at the Vienna State Opera in 1983 at Lorin Maazel’s commission. It was his first opera and a damp squib.

He had another go at Madam Butterfly, but opera was not his Fach. He took up Bernstein, Kurt Weill, other inbetweeners.

He directed Evita and Phantom for Andrew Lloyd Webber. That worked.



A new friend has just reminded us that Norman Del Mar would have been 100 today.

He was a pivotal figure in British music, a pioneering conductor of Britten and Mahler, chief of the BBc Scottish and three times conductor of the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms.

He was also a vitally important editor of major symphonic scores and a really thoughtful interpreter on record.

I happen to own several books from his library, with plentiful annotations, bought from a house-clearance dealer. He’s alive on my shelves. I wonder how many readers still remember him.

with US composer Marc Blitzstein, 1950

Lazar Gosman, the Lengingrad Philharmonic concertmaster who founded the Soviet Emigre Orchestra on reaching the US in 1977, has died in New York state at the age of 93.

He was professor of violin successively at the Moscow Conservatoire, Leningrad Conservatoire, in St Louis and at New York State University at Stony Brook.


No reason given (just watch the nightly news).

Here’s the Tangle’d version:

The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra has canceled its two U.S. tour engagements, including its scheduled performance at Tanglewood on Wednesday, August 21. The new program for that day will be Tan Dun’s Martial Arts Sonata Trilogy, an evening of chamber works by Tan Dun, the world-renowned artist and UNESCO Global Goodwill Ambassador. Inspired by the music from Mr. Dun’s acclaimed film scores to Hero and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the concert will also feature video excerpts from these award-winning movies. Artists for the evening include Magdalena Baczewska, piano.

It’s not just United.

Read this from classical guitarist Jonathan Dotson:

Coming home from Madrid yesterday I witnessed a young man, probably no older than 15, in tears as his brand new, handmade classical guitar was destroyed by the airline on its maiden voyage home. I had to catch my connection and get through customs so I couldn’t stick around to find out the outcome but I did advise the boy’s father to be persistent, and that there are federal laws protecting us from this type of disaster. Buena Suerte!#AmericanAirlines

A performance of Mahler’s eighth symphony at the Chorégie d’Orange has provoked a change of heart in the French culture minister Franck Roester, who had previously announced plans to merge two radio orchestras and choruses.

Now Macron’s cost-cutting minister is saying they must all survive as a ‘fundamental’ principle for the good of the nation. He told France Musique: C’est important de dire que nous avons une richesse musicale exceptionnelle à Radio France, une richesse que nous souhaitons pérenniser. (…) L’ambition musicale de l’audiovisuel public passe par deux orchestres, par une maîtrise et par un chœur.

Well done, Monsieur Mahler.


The absentee conductor, fiercely criticised for an underpowered Tannhäuser on his Bayreuth debut and unlikely to return any time soon,  has hit back in a Russian radio interview.

Gergiev said: ‘My responsibility is only to the composer, not to the one who wrote something (in a newspaper). Some 30 years ago, the great conductor Georg Solti told me: “Never read anything about yourself, good or bad.” That was his advice. I was very young then, and he is one of the greatest conductors of the century. So it doesn’t interest me much.’

He pointed out that the performance was widely telecast. ‘Hundreds of thousands of people can judge for themselves. The rest is nonsense.’  He compared the almost-uniform bad reviews to the pro-Ukraine demonstrations he faced in the US. ‘If you think about these things, you will lose your head and forget what your profession is. I think only about what I need to do.’

Read full interview here (in Russian).


The former music director has told the newspaper Il Giornale that, while he admires La Scala’s incoming sovrintendente Dominique Meyer, he has not plans to conduct there again.

‘I think (Meyer) is going to do a great job at La Scala,’ said Muti, who turned 78 this week. ‘The problem is that I no longer know the Scala orchestra and I do not know how it plays.’

Muti walked out of La Scala in 2005 after nearly 20 years in charge.


Francois-Xavier Roth is finding ways, as General Music Director of the Gürzenich-Orchester, of overcoming Cologne’s musical paralysis. The city opera is several years behind its reopening schedule and half a billion Euros over budget. The radio orchestra is in transition.

But the enterprising Frenchman, 48, is catching the eye with a plan to create a citizens’ orchestra of amateurs that he will not only select and train. He will also give a public concert with them at the Kölner Philharmonie in June 2020.

Cool move.