Mirga: I gave Covid-19 to our principal cello

Mirga: I gave Covid-19 to our principal cello


norman lebrecht

November 17, 2020

The Birmingham conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla tells the Times today that she caught Covid-19 as early as February and, while doctors assured her she was not infected, brought it to her orchestra the following month.

‘Our principal cellist, Eduardo Vassallo – I guess I brought the stuff to him. And he was very ill, in hospita, and put on a ventilator.’

During the hiatus, Mirga appears to have got married. She refers several times to ‘my husband’ without naming him. The reason they are based in Salzburg, she says, is to stay close to his children by a previous marriage.



  • yujafan says:

    Oh great, now conductors are super-spreaders. Totally irresponsible (chuckle), but hey, at least she’s hitched. Happiness all round, not least for NL, who has probably been missing his Mirga click-bait stories.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    These days, everyone can be accused of being Typhoid Mary.

    • William Safford says:

      That’s because anyone can be a Typhoid Mary.

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      Not the same Anthony Sayer! Having survived the full Covid-19 ventilator experience myself, my heart goes out to Eduardo. Now retired from the BBC SSO, I enjoyed many of Eduardo’s guest principal sessions with us, not least a memorable South American tour.

  • Gustavo says:

    …while explaining how to pronounce my surname.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    I love my friends, and they love me
    We’re just as close as we can be
    And just because we really care
    Whatever we get, we share!

    I got it from Agnes
    She got it from Jim
    We all agree it must have been
    Louise who gave it to him

    She got it from Harry
    Who got it from Marie
    And everybody knows that Marie
    Got it from me

    Giles got it from Daphne
    She got it from Joan
    Who picked it up in County Cork
    A-kissin’ the Blarney Stone

    Pierre gave it to Sheila
    Who must have brought it there
    He got it from Francois and Jacques
    Haha, Lucky Pierre!

    Max got it from Edith
    Who gets it every spring
    She got it from her Daddy
    Who just gives her everything
    She then gave it to Daniel
    Whose spaniel has it now
    Our dentist even got it
    And we’re still wondering how

    Ah, but I got it from Agnes
    Or maybe it was Sue
    Or Millie or Billie or Gillie or Willie
    It doesn’t matter who

    It might have been at the club
    Or at the pub, or in the loo
    And if you will be my friend
    Then I might . . . (Mind you, I said “might”)
    Give it to you!

  • Firing Back says:

    The woman is a liability in (at least) three senses:

    1. Musically – poor thing, she just doesn’t have a clue.

    2. A health liability – Clearly utterly reckless re COVID. And also jigging about so much on the podium that someone will lose an eye, sooner or later.

    3. A liability in terms of much-needed women in the industry. She’s no role model, alas, and that’s a crying shame.


    • Derek says:

      Oh dear, FM

      When I read your initial comments on UK orchestras a while ago, I thought that you might have some good ideas to put forward, or maybe, some insight.

      Unfortunately, you are showing that you are negative about almost everything and that there is no substance to back up your sweeping generalisations!

      You sound like the spectator, that stands on the side lines, and criticises world class players because, of course, you always know better.

      That is a pity, because nobody will take what you say seriously.

      • BruceB says:

        “I thought that you might have some good ideas to put forward, or maybe, some insight.”

        LOL. You’re new here, aren’t you. Well, live and learn. Trolls become easier to spot after a little practice.

      • RW2013 says:

        And why do you think that M G-T is “world class”?

      • Firing Back says:

        Oh dear, Derek,

        It’s a pity you’re making things up – ‘UK orchestras’???? As a whole? When?
        I think your imagination is going wild. Or else you’re just too hyper-sensitive about the subject.

        But you would be, wouldn’t you? As I said before, we’ve met.

        Clearly, dear Derek, you (and others) are taking what I say VERY seriously: you’re all totally triggered when I write anything truthful that exposes your dirty industry.


    • Peter Phillips says:

      FM’s destructive comments are sour and misplaced. All the same, MGT might be less of a health hazard if she reined in her exuberant gestures. I prescribe a course of watching Sir Adrian Boult (former CBSO chief of course) and Vernon Handley on YouTube. Both fine cases of less being more.

    • William Safford says:

      Um, according to NL, this happened back in February and March. We, and therefore she, had far less knowledge about this pandemic back then, than we do today.

  • Bostin'Symph says:

    I’m very sorry to hear that principal cellist Eduardo Vassallo was so ill. I hope he’s made a full recovery.

    I guess it’s the price you pay for being so close to the conductor!

    • Stweart says:

      At last someone thought it necessary to be concerned about Eduado ! Thank you.. Does someone have information?

    • Derek says:

      He played in the concerts on November 4th, prior to the latest lock down.

      • Stweart says:

        Thank you Derek !
        And – just ignore Firing Back – everyone should !!!

        • Firing Back says:

          Stweart, thank you.

          I’d prefer people stopped getting so triggered by my truthful comments about the industry as well.
          Alas, Derek – a CBSO crony – always gets wheeled out to defend the orchestra, so your advice to him is probably moot.

          I respectfully suggest you just look away when you see my posts – and, if you happen to actually hear anything about the industry that touches on the truth, just stick your fingers in your ears – you’ll be happier.


          PS – Please give this a thumbs down

  • Marge O. says:

    more virtue signalling and pc diversity identity politics. and then they wonder….where o where have the audiences and funding gone? …..even the ‘smart’ people were dumber than stale dog feces.

  • Genius Repairman says:

    Oh for the days when conductors ranted and raved and threw chairs. Now conductors rant and rave ahtishoo ahtishoo, all fall down.