Who’s been busy this summer?

Who’s been busy this summer?


norman lebrecht

August 21, 2020

This is not a mathematical league table but a general indication of the number of dates artists are getting in this bleak landscape, some by reputation others by their own initiative.

1 Daniel Barenboim
Recitals and orchestra concerts in Berln, Salzburg, Spain and more

2 Renaud Capuçon
Salzburg and all over France and central Europe

3 Paavo Järvi
Has his own festival in Estonia and an orchestra in Zurich, where they are letting audiences in.

4 Valery Gergiev
Runs a massive touring operation, regardless of high Covid numbers in his troupe

5 Igor Levit
Beethoven recitals in Salzburg, Berlin and more

6 Simon Rattle
In Munich, Prague, Birmingham

7 Domingo
Currently on a whistle-stop Italian tour.


8 Pat Kop
Recitals around Switzerland, a Salzburg apparance, recordings

9 Jonas Kaufmann
Recitals and first-call jump-in at major opera houses, top draw in The Met Stars Live.

10 Nicola Benedetti
Apart from solo appearances, she is running ensemble events through her foundation (see below).
The Virtual Mini Sessions, presented by the Benedetti Foundation, were held for the first time throughout July and August, and continue in September presenting short, focused workshops designed to provide in depth and detailed exploration on a wide variety of topics. The Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective musicians Tom Poster (piano), Elena Urioste (violin), Savitri Grier (violin), Rosalind Ventris (viola), Laura van der Heijden (cello) and Joseph Conyers (double bass) present the Benedetti Foundation’s first virtual chamber music weekend on 26 and 27 September.


  • France says:

    Klaus Florian Vogt and Camilla Nylund in Bayreuth and him, in several places in Germany

  • sam says:

    Missing: Yuja Wang and Lang Lang.

    Lesson 1: For all of China’s economy, for all of its excess concert hall capacity, for all of its billion people population, China does not have a firm domestic fan base for classical music to sustain even its own megastars at home. Lang Lang, Yuja, in theory, could be making a good living just by touring every provincial town in China. Instead they are sitting at home twiddling their thumbs.

    Lesson 2: Austria, Italy, remain the cradle of Western classical music. They count when it really counts. Economically, culturally…

    Lesson 3: Forget Asia as a reliable market or cultural preserver of Western classical music, no matter how many top notched classical musicians they produce.

    • hsy says:

      Have you actually checked the recent concert attendance data in China? Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, for example, reopened their season on June 14, with a suite by a Taiwaniese composer, Paganini violin concerto no. 2, and The Rite of Spring. It was sold out, as were most of the concerts since.

      Lang Lang has been staying in China since March. He recently started a concert tour in China playing Goldberg Variations.

      Yuja Wang inexplicably chose to be stuck in New York City, where of course no concert venue is open. If she is smart she should do what Lang Lang did and move to where the jobs are.

      Finally, just because Slipped Disc chose not to say anything about the reopening of concert halls in China it doesn’t mean no concerts are happening in China. You would know this if you know Chinese the way that most educated Chinese know English. This type of information asymmetry is going to cost the Americans if they seriously regard China as a rival.

      • hsy says:

        Correction: Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra reopened on June 14, not Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. The more famous Shanghai Symphony Orchestra reopened on June 13 with Grieg Solveig’s Song from Peer Gynt, Strauss Four Last Songs, and Beethoven Symphony No. 6. Also sold out.

        • sam says:

          Ahem, looks like you don”t know Chinese that well afterall.

          Are you sure you Google translated that correctly this time, or are we going to get another correction?

          • hsy says:

            As if you could have known the difference if I hadn’t made the correction. Enjoy your proud ignorance and your non-existent concerts for this year, and the next! (I assume you are an American. You certainly sound like one.)

  • Waltraud Becker says:

    Not to forget the omnipresent Bass Groissböck…

  • Aurelia says:

    Riccardo Muti has been busy too, in concerts Ravenna, Vienna, Salzburg + his work on Italian Opera in Ravenna etc

  • Brian says:

    Curious that several of these folks are in a high-risk group by virtue of their age – Barenboim (77), Gergiev (67), Rattle (65), Domingo (79, though I guess he’d argue that he has the antibodies now, for what they’re worth).

    The other takeaway is, it helps to be friendly with the bookers at Salzburg.

    • Luca says:

      I watched Barenboim with his Divan Orchestra playing at the Salzburg Festival on TV last night: the players were all close together and none of them masked – including the “old” conductor.