Chava Alberstein taught me emotional survivor skills in the songs she selected and the way she performed them.

A child of Yiddish-speaking Holocaust survivors, she was Israel’s foremost female singer-songwriter. In 1989 her version of a Passover song (below) was banned from the local airwaves for showing empathy with the plight of Palestinians.

It was later used in a Natalie Portman film.


Herbert Blomstedt, in an engaging conversation with Alan Gilbert, announced that he has committed to record two sets of symphonies with the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra – the nine symphonies of Schubert and Franz Berwald’s four. The two composers, he explains, were born within the same year.

On his time in lockdown, he says, ‘I’ve been studying new scores that I’m planning to perform next season.’

Watch the distanced conversation here.


Students have reported the passing of André Emelianoff, a leading chamber musician and teacher at Juilliard and Bard.

He had been suffering from a degenrative condition.

If you go online to find out more about Ariosi Management, the Swiss-Italian firm that is implicated in Torino in a police investigation  for collusion with its opera boss, all you will get is a ‘please contact your service provider’ message.

The agency is essentially a one-man band. The Italian operation may take a very long time.

Let’s see what develops before we draw any conclusions.

Turandot from Torino


This is the Baleares Symphony Orchestra this weekend at the Pollença Festival in Mallorca.

The concert is outdoors and strictly distanced.

The programme consisted of reduced versions of Brahms Hungarian Dances 5, 6 and 7 and the second symphony.

It looks like a chess match with human pieces.

Michael McCraw, an eminent bassoonist and influential teacher who was left with permanent injuries after being hit by a car in 2014, died on Friday. He was popularly known as the Bad Boy of the Bassoon.

His death was announced by the Historical Performance Institute of Indiana University, where he taught.

Michael McCraw started out in New York’s Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, moving to Europe in 1979 to play in Musica Antiqua Köln,  Concentus Musicus Wien, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and others. In 1991 he became principal bassoon of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto, stepping down in 2002.

He performed on more than 140 recordings.

In the 10th week of Covid, most music deaths were recorded in the USA. Russia maintains strict silence on musician losses.

Here is the past week’s sad toll.

83 Metropolitan Opera conductor Joel Revzen

84 Ohio music arranger Stanley Morse.

85 Minnesota music teacher and therapist Judy Bemis

86 Quebec chanson singer Renée Claude

87 Duane Solem, Minneapolis swing band musician

88 Arthur Fiedler musician Millie Swedberg

89 Wagner author John Pohanka

Previous 9 weeks here

The international mezzo-soprano Gala El Hadidi has announced the death of David Hales, her teacher and accompanist in Cairo.

David Hales graduated from Durham University and the Guildhall School in London, joining Cairo Conservatoire and Cairo Opera as a staff member in 1980.


The new Secretary of State for Cultural Affairs Andrea Mayer  has opened a 90 million euro fund for self-employed artists registered in the social security system. They will be entitled to up to 1,000 Euros per month for a maximum of half a year.

It is expected that 15,000 will apply for relief.



The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts will see its artistic director Jane Moss depart on August 1.

Jane has been on staff at Lincoln Center since 1992 and artistic leader since 1997, responsible for such series as Mostly Mozart Festival, and Midsummer Night Swing.

She said: ‘Now that our current situation has put a pause on live programming, I feel I can step down. I am eager to make a new kind of contribution to the life and the well-being of New York as we face very challenging times ahead.’

When Lincoln reopens its faces a prolonged refurbishment of its concert hall, during which the New York Philharmonic will play at Carnegie Hall.


From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

Since we’re unlikely in the next few years to hear another live performance of Berio’s massive Sinfonia — his collage tribute to Mahler’s second symphony — we’ll have to make do with the works that followed it….

Read on here.

And here.

The great French coloratura soprano Mady Mesplé died yesterday, aged 89.

She made her debut at Liège in 1953 as Delibes’s Lakmé and went on to sing the role some 150 times, featuring on a phenomenally successful British Airways advertisement in the days when airlines aspired to high class.

Originally from Toulouse, Mesplé was internationally in demand for coloratura roles, but she was drawn to contmeporary music as well and sang Boulez, Jolas and Henze with great flair and commitment.

She will probably be remembered more for the fun stuff.