From our colleagues at South Florida Classical Review:

Avery Gagliano, an 18-year-old student at the Curtis Institute, was named First Prize winner of the 10th National Chopin Competition in Miami on Sunday evening. The award carries a cash prize of $100,000 and entry into the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw this coming October …

More here.


The Bergen Philharmonic of Norway have cancelled their tour to China and South Korea which was scheduled for June.

The decision to cancel now was because they would have needed to process the visas and cargo bookings in the next couple of weeks.

The orchestra was to have been led by star pianist Leif Ove Andsnes. In addition to the musicians, some 130 businessman had planned to fly along in search of Asia deals. It’s a major economic loss.


The English violinist Tasmin Little, who is due to retire in the summer, is down to make a belated debut in Moscow, playing three Beethoven sonatas with the rising pianist Andrei Gugnin, on fortepiano.

That’s a nice way to round things off.

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is the first to be shut down as a result of a Coronavirus carrier. The following email went out at 17.02 from the principal:

Dear colleagues and students,

We regret to inform you that a member of teaching staff has tested positive for Coronavirus. He is currently recovering well at the Royal Free Hospital. He was present and teaching in one of the ancillary School buildings on one day last week. He came into contact with a limited number of students and we are working closely with those students to ensure that they receive urgent appropriate advice.

As a precautionary measure, the School will be closed for up to fourteen days from today (Monday 2 March), to allow time for a review of the situation and for appropriate measures to be taken. In line with current Government advice, we are advising any staff and students who exhibit any symptoms during the 14 day period to use the Coronavirus online helpline ( ) and to notify their line manager or their department head. Whilst I understand this will cause anxiety amongst the School community, all necessary steps are being taken to minimise risk to others.

All meetings, performances, workshops, masterclasses and any other on-site School engagements in the next fourteen days should be cancelled. Staff are encouraged to work remotely during this period and if they are in any doubt of how to do so should contact their Line Manager.

All staff and students will be contacted on a regular and frequent basis via email to update them on all necessary arrangements.

Lynne Williams


UPDATE: Guildhall School has confirmed that a member of its teaching staff has tested positive for Covid-19. The school has been given PHE advice. The staff and principal are working closely with students to ensure that they receive urgent appropriate advice.

The American bass-baritone Eric Owens has withdrawn from Lyric’s Ring cycles in April and May ‘in order to undergo treatment for ongoing health issues’.

This is a major blow for the company, and we wish him well.

His replacements will be Brian Mulligan in Das Rheingold and Alan Held in Die Walküre and Siegfried.

‘I am deeply grateful to Anthony Freud, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir David Pountney, and all my Lyric colleagues for their support at this difficult time,’ said Owens. ‘I am also thankful for the enthusiasm and warmth Lyric’s audiences have shown me over the years that I have lived and worked in Chicago. My heartfelt thanks to everyone for understanding, and my best wishes for the success of Lyric’s amazing Ring.’

Eric Owens was recently an epochal Porgy at the Met.

The SWR Symphonieorchester, on a European tour with chief conductor Teodor Currentzis, have turned back at the Swiss border in hearing that they cannot perform in Lucerne for an audience of more than 1,000.

The SWR are heading on to Barcelona and Madrid.


The Italian conductor Daniele Callegari was told he could not enter Israel, where he was due to conduct Onegin in Tel Aviv.

The soprano Hila Baggio has been quarantined in Israel after giving a concert in Teatro della Pergola in Florence.

K D Schmid have added the Berlin-based Japanese conductor Nodoka Okisawa to their roster.

Okisawa, 33, won the Concours international de jeunes chefs d’orchestre de Besançon in 2019 and is now a scholarship holder of the Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker and assistant to Kirill Petrenko.


Five singers have been named winners of the 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Each receives $20,000 cash and a career uplift. The winners are:

Gabrielle Beteag, 25, mezzo-soprano (Southeast Region: Lilburn, GA)

Blake Denson, 24, baritone (Midwest Region: Paducah, KY)

Jonah Hoskins, 23, tenor (Rocky Mountain Region: Saratoga Springs, UT)

Alexandria Shiner, 29, soprano (Middle Atlantic Region: Waterford, MI)

Denis Vélez, 27, soprano (Gulf Coast Region: Puebla, Mexico)



Past winners include Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Deborah Voigt….

The Hungarian condcutor Adam Fischer signed on today for five more years with the  Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra, taking him to 2025, when he will be 76.

Fischer said: ‘I am very happy that I will continue my artistic work in Düsseldorf in 2025 over the next few years. I have met wonderful musicians in the orchestra who can really inspire me. And also an audience whose enthusiasm spurs us on stage and sweeps us away. I hope that I will be able to play music with the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra for a long time to come.’


The Maggio Musicale theatre in Florence has announced that Daniele Gatti will take over next week’s concerts from Myung Whun Chung, who hast entered a 14-day self-imposed quarantine with his wife after returning from Tokyo.

Gatti happens to be free because the Croatian health authorities cancelled a March 10 joint concert of joint LaFil and Zagreb Phil, intended to celebrate Croatia’s presidency of the EU.

UPDATE: Myung-Whun Chung, sent this message to Alexander Pereira, the Maggio Sovrintendente: ‘On the 25th of February, my wife and I came back from Japan, one of the countries most strongly affected by the Coronavirus and people returning from there, a 14 day isolation is strongly recommended. Firenze dates happen to be right in the middle of this period and thus I will be patient till the period is over. My best wishes for the Theatre.’

Musicians of the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, banned from playing public concerts due to the Cronavirus outbreak, have taken to performing in private and uploading their concerts on Youtube.

We’ve been asked to share some of the performances.

Dvorak’s American quartet, played to an empty hall, is particularly poignant.


The Bundesverband der Konzert- und Veranstaltungswirtschaft (BDKV) – the Federal Association of Concert and Event Management – has isued a warning of a sectoral slump due to the corona virus. Its president, Jens Michow, speaks of a significant slump in ticket sales’ over the past few days, and a surge in people wanting to cancel their tickets.

The concert bans in northern Italy and Switzerland have sent shudders throught the sector. Michow warns that numerous impresarios and concert organisers would go out of business if similar measures were to be applied in Germany.