When British holidaymakers discovered Europe


Leonard Slatkin, who has made his home again in St Louis, Mo., is appalled at its state of race relations. He has written this article for the Wednesday edition of the St Louis Post-Dispatch:

What happened to my city? by Leonard Slatkin

It was supposed to be a return to the civility associated with the Midwest, where people are hospitable and welcoming. St. Louis is the place where most of my happiest days have been spent. Sure, there have been troubling incidents in the past, and dangers continue to lurk as we wend our way through Coronaland. But few had personal impact until June 28, when two incidents within hours of each other caused notes of shock to drown out the music that makes up my life.

 It began when I heard from a dear friend, whom I did not realize still lived in St. Louis. He wanted to come over to my house and drop off a couple of CDs. Because I am now at an age and state of health that requires me to exercise extreme caution, I do not let people inside. They are instructed to leave items on the porch, and my wife and I have a device that will let us know that someone is at the door.

 Did I mention that this friend is black? Not that it made any difference to me, but it sure did to him. He said that he would have a white man drive him to my rather quiet, slightly suburban, abode. I did not understand this, as my neighborhood is peaceful. My friend then said something that completely took me by surprise.

 “My concern is being stopped by the police.”

 I do not think I have yet recovered from that statement. In all my life, this is something that I had not even considered and, given the stench from the current atmosphere in our country, sadly, I now understand. We have become so self-centered that even the most well-intentioned of us do not stop to put our feet in others’ shoes.

 A heaviness overtook me, just because a friend was having to take a precaution that had been unthinkable to my naïve brain and soul. This is no way for decent people to live, and it was occurring in my own little safety zone.

 Meanwhile, just a couple miles away, another terrifying event unfolded a few hours later. When I left St. Louis, after a twenty-seven-year residency, my house was on a somewhat secluded street called Portland Place. Our domicile was modest in comparison to several of the mansions that lined the avenue. Nothing untoward ever occurred.

 But that changed last night.

 According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

 As protesters made their way to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home on Sunday night, demanding her resignation, they marched and shouted along private Portland Place. They were met by a couple pointing guns and telling protesters to get away.

 The background is that on Friday, the mayor read the names of people who want to defund the police department. She lives on the adjacent street.


 My former residence was five houses down from where the gun-toting couple was pointing toward the mostly mask-wearing group. It is not my place to get into a discussion of 2nd Amendment issues or the right of assembly, but the very idea that this episode took place shakes me to the core. And it should trouble each and every one of you.

 Neither incident is acceptable. We should not be a society that lives in fear. If you have a point to make, use words. Right now, I cannot make music, but if I could, I would focus on works of reconciliation—sounds that uplift the spirit and do not sow discord in our troubled world.

 St. Louis, stop it! Be the home of leaders. Be the place that I remember, one that had progressed and that did not want to look back. Be a beacon for business and commerce. Be a place of culture in all forms. Let discontent be discussed, not fought over. Think of others and try to understand all points of view. Isolationism does not become this region.

 Four generations of Slatkins have called this city their home. From my grandfather, who settled here to escape the oppression in Ukraine, to my son, who was born here, each of us holds St. Louis close to our hearts. Today it is up to each of us to make this a place of welcome. The gateway to the west is also the home for all.

—Leonard Slatkin

Conductor Laureate

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

The BBC’s Front Row programme is about to broadcast a Rattle interview in which the conductor allegedly quotes the Culture Secretary as saying that the arts in Britain are better off without massive state support:


Oliver Dowden has now responded: Not true. What I said was that arts orgs who have worked hard to increase income from non govt sources should not be penalised for it in this crisis. I understand the seriousness of the situation and am working on it every single day.


That might be seen as seriously misleading.


It has just been confirmed that the postponed La Maestra tournament will go ahead in Paris in late September.

The candidates are:

Mélisse BRUNET, 42 (France)
Sara CANEVA, 28 (Italy)
Stephanie CHILDRESS, 20 (UK/France)

Holly CHOE, 28 ans (South Korea/ USA)
Maria FULLER, 29 (Canada)
Lina GONZALEZ-GRANADOS, 33 (Colombia)
Yuwon KIM, 31 (South Korea)
Jiajing LAI, 28 (China)
Delyana LAZAROVA, 34 (Bulgaria)
Ana Maria PATIÑO-OSORIO, 24 (Colombia)
Rebecca TONG, 35 (USA / Indonésia)
Gladysmarli del Valle VADEL MARCANO, 24 (Vénézuéla)

The jury will be chaired by Ewa Bogusz-Moore, General Director of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

UPDATE: Make that 13: Marie Rosenmir (Sweden) has been added.

The secret establishment that investigated Russian chemical weapons attacks on the Skripal family has been called in to test the risks involved in singing at Salisbury Cathedral.

This is helpful, hopeful, prayerful.

Watch ITV report here.


Salisbury Cathedral have asked us to clarify the following errors in reports that we sourced:

The tests are not being done by the chemical warfare establishment but rather by PHE.
The report was commissioned by DCMS.
The tests are not underway yet but two of our marvellous lay vicars adult singers (male alto and bass) have volunteered and will take part as and when they happen.

Semi-finals start tomorrow for:

Finnegan Downie Dear (UK)
Andreas Hansson (Sweden)
Thomas Jung (Germany)
Harry Ogg (UK)

Christian Vazquez (Venezuela)
Katharina Wincor (Austria)



Wynton has found a voice in the redneck Daily News. Kids desperately need arts lessons, he says.

Read here.

Martin Wagner, 66, long-standing head of Bavarian Radio and its orchestras, has left abruptly after 40 years.

He said: ‘I always felt at home with BR and I enjoyed going to work every day. Journalism is a wonderful professional excuse to satisfy my own curiosity. It has always been my motivation over the years. I have no master plan for my retirement – I have worked eight hours or more every day for the past 40 years and am happy to do nothing now. I will not miss the many meetings, but my colleagues will.’

Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Phil principal flute Emmanuel Pahud have convened a meeting in Berlin of 10 composers to present new works for the present time.

Composers led by Jörg Widmann, Olga Neuwirth and Matthias Pintscher will gather from July 9 to 12 in the Pierre Boulez Saal to hear works by Irini Amargianaki, Philippe Manoury, Luca Francesconi, Benjamin Attahir, Michael Jarrell, Johannes Boris Borowski and Christian Rivet.



Hollywood is mourning Johnny Mandel, famed for that ear-worm MASH theme ‘Suicide is Painless’, but universally loved for The Shadow of Your Smile.

He wrote ‘The Shadow’ for a 1960s film, ‘The Sandpiper’.


Johnny’s mother, Hannah, was a New York opera singer.

Drew McManus has been doing his annual trawl through orchestral accountsto see who’s getting paid what. But fiscal 2017/18 was a weird year in which the really big spenders – New York, LA Phil and San Fran – had no CEO in place, or only for part of the season.

That meant only one orchestra was paying its boss more than a million bucks.

Now who was that? Any why is he about to retire when he’s finally broken into big money?


1. Boston Symphony: $1,050,596
2. Philadelphia Orchestra: $770,708
3. Cleveland Orchestra: $578,617
4. Chicago Symphony: $537,541
5. Seattle Symphony: $484,982
6. Detroit Symphony: $467,857
7. Pittsburgh Symphony: $431,015
8. Saint Louis Symphony: $427,176
9. Utah Symphony : $407,519
10. Minnesota Orchestra: $383,681
More detail on Drew’s site here.

Join us tomorrow for the music directors pay chart. No shrinkage there.