The founder’s circle:


Press release:

The Philharmonic makes its first official return to live, public performances with NY Phil Bandwagon. New Yorkers in all five boroughs will catch sight of NY Phil Bandwagon, a customized pick-up truck that will serve as a stage for “pull-up” community performances. Small
ensembles of the Orchestra’s musicians will perform on street corners, plazas, and sidewalks, playing varied programs across the city in a new, experimental concert format.

Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo collaborates with the New York Philharmonic as the Producer for this project, launching Bandwagon on an eight-week run starting Friday, August 28, with performances by three Philharmonic string players. Each week will offer multiple
performances on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. To observe governmental health and safety protocols, masks will be made available to attendees and specific times and locations of Bandwagon “pull-up” performances will not be announced in advance to limit the size of crowds.

“At last the New York Philharmonic can start to emerge from our musical quarantine,” said President and CEO Deborah Borda. “Beginning this weekend, the Philharmonic launches NY Phil Bandwagon, a unique initiative to bring live music back to New York City, engaging new
audiences in all five boroughs. Through the Bandwagon project, Ellen Reid’s SOUNDWALK, and our various digital initiatives, we are providing new points of access to classical music as well as beginning a dialogue with communities across the city. The Philharmonic is poised to be on the cutting edge of what is possible in both live and digital performance as we work our way back to the stage.”

Leelanee Sterrett, horn; Fiona Simon, violin

Anthony Roth Costanzo, Producer & Countertenor

Photo credit: Erin Baiano

Today at the Proms:

Our pals at Ludwig Van Toronto report that Canadian Opera Company will lose its general director Alexander Neef one year early to take over as head of Opéra national de Paris.

He was not due to start in Paris until September 2021, but Stéphane Lissner is not completing his term there and Neef has responded to an urgent need for direction in a house with a spiralling deficit. He will start in a couple of weeks.

Over the first few months, with neither company opening its doors to the public, it was judged that he can safely manage both until Toronto names a replacement.

Ambitious. Brave, even.

As a sign how normally sane people are losing their marbles over an innocuous anthem, read this latest contribution to the debate from Cat Lewis, executive producer of the BBC’s religious programme, Songs of Praise.

She went on to say:

Someone at the BBC needs to comment on this dodgy bit of historical relativism from a fairly responsible head of a flagship programme.



Peter King died at the weekend after a long illness.

Peter played at the opening of Ronnie Scott’s in 1959 and was never out of work after that.

He worked with Ray Charles, Annie Ross, Stan Tracey…

In 2005, he made a Bartok-influenced album with the Lyric String Quartet, funded by BBC Radio 3.  That same year he was named BBC Musician of the Year.


The musician and investor Dominique Oger has died suddenly at 73.

He was the founder of the Festival de Glanum and the Association Musicades et Olivades à St-Remy de Provence.

Chrotophe Rousset writes: We have the immense sadness to learn of the disappearance of our dear Dominique Oger, friend, patron, member of the Talens Lyriques Board of Directors for many years. Dominique was a tireless project launcher, an impressive musician and musician, who supported so many artists, and loved to share her passions and train all her friends in exceptional musical and human encounters. We all remember the beautiful evenings in Saint-Rémy.


Unable to find a capable chief executive, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw has named a three-person managing board.

That means no-one’s in charge.

Both the new recruits are German.

Here’s the self-congratulatory press release:

Following a successful recruitment procedure, the Stichting Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest is very pleased to announce that Dominik Winterling and Ulrike Niehoff will be joining the Concertgebouworkest’s Managing Board as from the first quarter of 2021. Together with David Bazen, the current interim managing director, they will form a three-member Managing Board.

Winterling arrives from the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie. Niehoff, who has the title ‘artistic director, was head of artistic planning with the Wiener Symphoniker.



A YouGov poll today reports sweeping condemnation of the BBC for silencing two anthems in the Proms. Some 58 percent opposed the move; only 9 percent support it. I write today in the Telegraph that this is the first time the BBC has ever censored the Proms.

Among other things:

The season costs the BBC £10-11 million, half of it recouped in ticket sales. The net £5m cost, providing hundreds of hours of free broadcasting, is peanuts compared to the corporation’s football outlay. The BBC gets a very good deal out of the Proms.

This summer, however, it has proved unequal to the task. Months of dither yielded two September weeks of concerts in an empty Royal Albert Hall. Nobody was happy, but Covid got the blame. Then, this month, other concerts began to stir. The Wigmore Hall announced 100 performances ‘with or without audiences’. Cadogan Hall, half a mile away from the RAH, is selling tickets for September. First off the mark was the former Proms chief Roger Wright, now chief executive of Britten-Pears Arts, who revived the Aldeburgh Festival with outstanding musicians and avid audiences.

Last week the cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, with his pianist sister Isata, performed to 150 people at Aldeburgh. Next month, they will appear at an empty Royal Albert Hall. Sitting at their Aldeburgh recital was Alan Davey, the BBC executive who has been unable to organise an audience at the Proms. He told all around him how wonderful it was, without explaining why the BBC, with all its clout cannot organise a Proms concert with an audience. This looks like a shocking dereliction – a failure of nerve, imagination, ingenuity, sensitivity and initiative. While concert givers up and down the country are welcoming audiences, the BBC sits back and blames Covid – both for the empty Albert Hall and for the Rule Britannia fiasco….

Read on here.


Milwaukee joins the list of wipeouts. ‘We’ve re-imagined our 2020.21 season,’ they say, as if imagination is involved in cancellation.

The delay will allow the organisation to complete refurbishment on its hall.



Statement: Your health, safety, and well-being—and that of our musicians, staff, and community—is our top priority. We are committed to providing you with a safe and welcoming environment to experience thrilling musical moments. And we promise to be your trusted partner as we navigate the future together.

When the pandemic began, we made the necessary—but difficult—decision to cancel the remainder of our 2019.20 season. Our hope was that by taking that essential step, enough time would pass to allow the community and country to weather this crisis with us all staying as healthy and safe as possible. When we cancelled the remainder of the 2019.20 season, we intended to return to performance in October 2020.

As you may have heard through the media, the basement of the Bradley Symphony Center sustained significant flood damage following an intense rainstorm and steam tunnel failure on May 18. Over the summer, C.D. Smith and partners have been repairing the damage while still working to complete the facility. Unfortunately, this caused a delay and pushed back our occupancy date until January 2021. In addition, the world still struggles to react to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has become clear that large-scale gatherings will likely not be a possibility when the building opens in January.

So, we need a new plan, one that will allow the music to play on despite these challenges. After careful thought and consideration, we are replacing the concert schedule we announced last spring. We have reimagined the season and it will now include virtual performances, reduced capacity, socially-distanced in-person opportunities when the time is right, and exclusive tours of the new Bradley Symphony Center for our loyal subscribers and donors.

We appreciate the continued support and patience of our patrons and community during this time and we remain committed to keeping you informed and serving you with flexibility and empathy as we navigate these changes together.


The violinist Michael Barenboim has joined the Michelangelo String Quartet, replacing Nobuko Imai who is leaving after almost 20 years.

He will play viola in the new formation: Mihaela Martin, Conrad Muck (violins), Barenboim (viola) and Frans Helermson (cello) .