We just signed a vowel-free singer

We just signed a vowel-free singer


norman lebrecht

January 22, 2020

‘IMG Artists GmbH is delighted to welcome baritone Yngve Søberg to its roster for general management.’


If he ever makes the NY Times, they’ll take half a column explaining how to pronounce it.

He’s from Norway, by the way.



  • Language lover says:

    Y can be used as a vowel, not just a consonant.

    • Colin says:

      Indeed it can. An example in UK (as well as the use of W as a vowel, effectively) is the name of the town of Ynysybwl, in South Wales.

  • We privatize your value says:

    Appropriate quote: “Sh*t, we’re bein’ beat up by the inventor of Scrabble.” (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102266/characters/nm0444940)

  • Trmpt says:

    Brvø Nrmn

  • Eric says:

    E is a vowel, and it has an E in each his first and last name, so……

  • John Borstlap says:

    It seems that it will be pronounced ‘ing-ve’. Much easier than the name of famous Uzbek bass Makhsdbek Brp.

  • Zelda Macnamara says:

    I’m not sure if this comment shows SD’s anglo-centrism or is a criticism of what might be expected from the NY Times. It’s actually not that difficult. And easier, for example, than place names like Altrincham or Worcester, or people’s names like Beauchamp or Cholmondeley.
    Is this a slow news day?

  • Mark Atwood says:

    That’s pretty low to make fun of someone’s name, even for you Norman.

  • M Gregory says:

    There are vowels in both the baritone names.

  • The View from America says:

    Straight from the horse’s mouth (Merriam-Webster):

    “Y is considered to be a vowel if the word has no other vowel. In such cases, the letter ‘y’ is pronounced as either the long vowel ‘e’ or short or long ‘i’ (usually as a long ‘i’ when ending a word).

  • Jason says:

    This may be your most moronic headline yet…do you have nothing better to do?

  • Guesty McGuestface says:

    The “y” from “hysteria”, the “ng” from “hang”, the “ve” from “vendor”. Two syllables: “Yng-ve”.

    You’re welcome, NY Times.

  • Jeff says:

    E is a vowel

  • V. Lind says:

    I would imagine people will have more trouble pronouncing Søberg correctly. Yngve is a doddle.

  • Bean says:

    I see four vowels

  • Dominic Stafford says:

    Yngve is the name of an ancient Norse god and quite a common name in Norway.

  • willymh says:

    So how do we pronounce it?

  • Just sayin' says:

    “…half a column explaining how to pronounce it.”

    You never heard of Yngwie Malmsteen? No metal fan since the 1980s will need an explanation.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    One of the most famous Norwegian films in recent times had this name in the title


  • Robert Holmén says:

    I’m sure they can just say “like Malmsteen” and everyone old enough to remember the 80s will get it.


  • Dory McMannus says:

    Last I checked, ø is a vowel. Not all vowels have to be pronounced in English.

  • AKP says:

    I imagine Norman Lebrecht isn’t so easy for some people to pronounce. Though I’m sure Scandinavians would have a go! They would also point out that there are several vowels in his name.

  • Jan says:

    Well, many music lovers in the English speaking world are already familiar with such a name thanks to the notoriety of Yngwie Malmsteem…

  • Mathieu says:

    His name has just as many vowels than yours Norman. Just sayin

  • david alden says:

    and by the way, vowels aside, Yngve is a very fine baritone. I worked with him in Oslo a few years ago and it was immediately clear that he is a big talent. Smart, nice colleague, powerful voice and exciting on stage!

  • Ricardo says:

    Y = french U
    Ø = O with umlaut (which I cannot write ob this stupid ‘phone)

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Yes, more focus upon someone’s race; what gender; where they came from; how they look; how unusual their name is, blah, blah, blah. This isn’t news, it’s tabloid gossip.

  • Musician says:

    The Norwegian alphabet has 9 vowels: a, e, i, o, u, y, æ, ø and å. So the name “Yngve Søberg” contains four vowels.

    This headline is ignorant.

  • AKP says:

    Indeed it is but so many of Norman’s headlines are. I like this site for news from the classical world. However it is becoming increasingly difficult to visit mainly because of Norman’s headlines , which are often innacurate, erratic, mismatched to the story or entirely misleading. I’m not sure if it is just sloppy writing or a deliberate attempt to rile. It’s his site so he can do what he wants. Then again so can we and vote with our clicks or lack of.