Maestro Rainer Hersch raises a laugh.


From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

One of the few blessings of enforced self-isolation is the gift of time to listen undisturbed to long stretches of music. In a hectic rush in a normal week from one date to the next, one might easily push the Lutoslawski symphonies to the back burner. Now, listening carefully brings rewards…

More here.

And here.

It’s his birthday today.

He was a survivor who still survives:

The Rotterdam Philharmonic teamed up with a Dutch healthcare provider to film the finale of Beethoven’s 9th with all the musicians playing their parts by video from their homes.

It’s an extraordinary achievement, overwhelming in the final minutes.

If ever a video deserved to go viral, this is it.

Share like crazy, please.

UPDATE: And now they’re being challenged by the Toronto Symphony.

EXCLUSIVE: The Rotterdam video was made without rehearsal. Read here.

UPDATE: Beethoven 9th played from home, now with added musicians

EXCLUSIVE: In locked-down Israel, Mozart connects

UPDATE: Rotterdam Phil’s viral vid makes it onto Oprah

In the wake of Grange Park’s closure and Glyndebourne’s postponement, the third pillar of English countryhouse opera called everything off today:

Due to the unfolding impact of COVID-19, and in light of the Government’s current advice, it is with great regret we have had to take the decision not to proceed with the staging of our 2020 Season. Our primary concern remains the safety of everyone involved with our work now and later in the year – our artists, staff, audience and community, the people that make up Garsington Opera.
The months leading up to the summer season would usually be packed with rehearsals, bringing performers and orchestras together, all of which is now impossible. If circumstances change and it becomes practicable to put on any kind of performances later in the summer, we will make every effort to do this. All of us will want to embrace the inspiration and release that live music in a beautiful place can bring.This extremely difficult decision will affect us all. Garsington Opera is at its heart a family – an extraordinary combination of audience, performers and staff sharing an equal passion – and we believe fervently in the strength of those bonds to sustain all of us through this time.

We are of course hugely grateful for the charitable donations that have already been made to Garsington Opera this season, whether through membership or at the time of booking, to support our activities. We will use these to ensure that the company emerges from the current crisis with resilience and confidence for the future.

Gutted. That’s our summer gone.

The Tokyo Symphony Orchestra has received Government clearance to perform again tomorrow.

The Tokyo Symphony Orchestra has been discussing the new coronavirus infectious disease while closely watching the announcement of the government’s basic policy and other information. Based on the opinions of the expert panel of the government, etc., under the guidance of a physician, after implementing measures to prevent infection at the maximum and prevent spread, the “ March 21 Tokyo Opera City Series 113th ” Will be held. If you plan to visit the venue, please take care to prevent infectious diseases on your own, such as “frequent hand washing / hand disinfection” and “cough etiquette”.



The Cambridge-based HazardChase Ltd has issued this notice:

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis, Hazard Chase Limited has had to cease trading and will be placed into voluntary Liquidation shortly. The Liquidator will be looking to sell the assets, including any goodwill, which we hope to try to purchase. We will contact you again once this has been settled, to clarify the position. In the meantime, we have had to cancel all access to Overture – I apologise for the administrative inconvenience this may cause.

I am deeply sorry to pass on this news. I would like to thank our staff, directors and shareholders, who have been wonderful colleagues. I would also like to thank all our clients – we were very proud to represent you. Everything looked so promising, but sadly, our world has been torn apart in less than a month.

The company’s last activity was to secure a conducting post for Olli Mustonen.

Other artists on its books include Masaaki Suzuki, Benjamin Grosvenor, Emmanuel Vuillaume, Sumi Jo, Laura van der Heijden, Paul Goodwin, Tafelmusik, Alpesh Chauhan and the Tallis Scholars.

Really sad day. James Brown ran a clean agency with great belief in music and his artists.


The annual Three Choirs Festival announced its 293rd edition this morning.

The festival will take place in Worcestershire between 25 July – 1 August, all being well.

The theme of the 2020 festival is voyage, marking the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s journey from England to the USA in 1620. There will be plenty of choral music by American composers.

Chief Executive Alexis Paterson said the festival team is working on a range of contingency measures in order to respond swiftly and positively to the evolving COVID-19 situation: ‘From looking at how we can go on sale as planned by offering a reassuring refund policy to bookers affected by the outbreak, to accommodating a delayed start to chorus rehearsals and adding extra handwashing facilities and hygiene measures at the festival itself, we’re doing everything we can to weather this unprecedented storm while keeping the welfare of audiences, performers and staff at the forefront of our minds. I’d like to appeal to audiences to get behind us and any arts organisation who’s still carrying on. Simply by booking with confidence, you can help us to keep contracts in place with all of the many individual performers, contractors, staff and local suppliers who will be depending on events starting up again as soon as restrictions on gatherings are lifted. This event – thought to be the oldest classical music festival in the world – has survived a few international crises in its three-hundred-plus years, and we’re absolutely committed to sharing the power and joy of making music for as long as we possibly can. I sincerely hope this summer will be a celebration of our communities coming together again after such a challenging time.’

The BBC Proms, meanwhile, has called off its public launch. An online rollout is promised, but no date has yet been set in a fast-changing environment.


Just in from English Touring Opera:

The safety and security of our artists, audiences and staff is what matters most to English Touring Opera. For this reason, we have taken the decision to cancel all 52 remaining performances of our Spring 2020 tour, following the Government’s recommendations regarding non-essential travel and socialising, unless there comes a time when it is safe and practical to reopen.

We are committed to supporting our freelance artists as well as our technical and production staff in the challenging times ahead. We will be paying our 67 freelancers their fees for the full tour, all the way to what would have been the final scheduled performance on 27 June.

English Touring Opera travels to more regions and venues than any other English opera company, visiting 55 venues with up to 110 performances per year.


I have the feeling we are not being told the whole truth about the shocking suspension without pay of the Met’s orchestra and chorus.

The Met’s version came out eight hours after Slipped Disc broke the story.

Here’s a second statement last night from Local 802:
‘We fully support the Metropolitan Opera for taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of workers and patrons during the COVID-19 outbreak,’ said Adam Krauthamer, President of Local 802 AFM. ‘The Met Opera has informed us that it will not pay its regular musicians after March 31 and that it will extend health coverage indefinitely. The musicians of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, alongside the many other unions who work at the Met, are the heart and soul of this storied institution. These professionals, many with families who rely on their paychecks, are now facing the prospect of no income for an extended period of time. We believe that immediate governmental assistance is essential to avoid a brutal outcome for these musicians.’

That makes it sound like the union agreed in advance to the suspension of its members’ employment. The musicians we have spoken to say they were not consulted ahead of the event.

Was there some private understanding that the Met would continue paying health coverage if the union okayed the wage suspension?

Let’s have some transparency.

Jan Vogler, New York-based artistic director of the Dresden Music Festival, has put together a 24-hour livestream marathon for next Friday, titled: Music Never Sleeps NYC.

Social distancing will be strictly observed. Link here.

Artists involved: Adele Anthony, Inon Barnatan, Alessio Bax, Benjamin Beilman, Brentano Quartet, Lucille Chung, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Jeremy Denk, Bela Fleck, Zlatomir Fung, Paul Huang, Colin Jacobsen, Eric Jacobsen, The Knights, Tessa Lark, Nathan Meltzer, Midori, Nico Muhly, Aoife O’Donovan, Sandbox Percussion, Tiffany Poon, Pablo Sáinz Villegas, Gil Shaham, Arnaud Sussman, Chris Thile, Michael Thurber, Nina Totenberg, Danbi Um, Jan Vogler, Mira Wang, Abigail Washburn and Kevin Zhu.

Nice gesture from the Grand Rapids Symphony (music director Marcelo Lehninger):

In recognition of the extraordinary sacrifices healthcare providers are making to keep us safe and healthy, the Grand Rapids Symphony is offering two free tickets (to all healthcare workers) to a 2020 D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops concert at Cannonsburg Ski Area in July.