In the week the music director submitted his resignation, the LSO has hit the pause button on streaming and recording from its St Luke’s site.

Oficially: ‘the Orchestra has paused rehearsing and recording for two weeks from Sunday 10 January. We have a number of recently recorded concerts for broadcast dates during January, on Marquee TV of LSO YouTube’.

Unofficially, the dog days of January are a good time to assess whether streaming is bringing in enough business.


A pioneering study conducted for the Dortmund Konzerthaus shows an encouragingly low risk of corona infection inside concert halls.


In November 2020, extensive measurements were made in the auditorium and the foyer of the concert hall. The evaluations of the experimental investigations show that, especially in the hall, under the given conditions, the risk of spreading infections through aerosol transmission can almost be ruled out. Above all, the existing central ventilation system and the wearing of mouth and nose protection reduce the aerosol and CO2 pollution significantly, so that theoretically full occupancy in the hall would be conceivable.

However, taking into account the access routes and foyers, it is recommended that the hall be occupied in a chessboard pattern and thus 50% of the hall capacity. In addition to concrete results for a visit to the Dortmund Concert Hall, the study can also provide information for other concert halls or theaters of a similar size.

NRW Minister of Culture and Science Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen said: “The issue of ventilation is a decisive factor for the reopening of cultural institutions. The study by the Dortmund Concert Hall is therefore a valuable component in the effort to enable music to be played even in times of pandemic. … It is painful that the still high number of infections does not currently allow reopening. It is all the more important to create perspectives and planning security for the time after the lockdown.’

photo: Simeon Klein


We’re hearing that the famous Hollywood studios where Frank Sinatra cut his best work has been shut down and its staff laid off.

The building is now owned bby Universal Music.


From the principal of the Royal Northern College of Music:

It is with deep sadness that I report the untimely death of composer Lucy Hale, on Monday 11 January at the age of 26.
Lucy joined the RNCM as an undergraduate student of Adam Gorb and David Horne in 2013, furthering her studies at postgraduate level with Emily Howard and Gary Carpenter and graduating with distinction in 2019.

Lucy achieved so much both during and after her studies, never letting her challenging personal circumstances stand in the way of her musical aspirations. Last year she was awarded a place on the RPS Composers programme and was set to write a new work for performance at Wigmore Hall as the 2020/21 Rosie Johnson RPS/Wigmore Hall Apprentice Composer. She also delivered workshops with young disabled people in Liverpool as an Associate Musician with Drake Music, and made history as Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Rebound’s inaugural Young Composer-in-Association and Orchestras for All’s first Composer-in-Residence.

Everyone in the RNCM community viewed Lucy as a remarkable and extraordinary young woman with whom it was a pleasure and privilege to work. She balanced her talent and determination to pursue her chosen career path with humility and was committed to make the most of every opportunity available to her. She was also a powerful role model for her peers.

We were extremely proud to see Lucy flourish in her studies at the RNCM and go on to build the career she had so desperately wanted. She touched the hearts of everyone who was fortunate enough to know and work with her. Her music will live on, as will she in all our memories.



An open statement, just in, from the Chicago Symphony music director:

The closure of the Metropolitan Opera House and the dramatic situation of its wonderful Orchestra embodies a profound grief, not only for the city of New York, but for the entire cultural world. Without music and the musicians who bring it to life, civil society is doomed to spiritual poverty and barbarism. Music is not entertainment, but rather, an essential food for the mind and soul.

The Met, its Orchestra, along with its artistic team and technical crews are a heritage of humanity. The artistic world is in disbelief that the very existence of a great Orchestra like the Met’s could be in danger and even at risk of disappearing.

My appeal, as a musician, as Music Director of the great Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and as a citizen of the world, is to give back to the musicians of the Met the dignity which we all deserve and the hope that they can soon return to share with us their art. We must support them during this unprecedented and terrible pandemic.

The extensive and glorious history of the Met and its fabulous Orchestra cannot end in an artistic catastrophe. The world of Art, of Culture, and of Beauty would never forgive it! Moreover, future generations would suffer dearly the negative consequences. –Maestro Muti

He may have to wait a while for a reply from Peter Gelb.

Nice to be wanted.

From a disgruntled Jun Märkl:

Today, Jan 12, 2021, I was supposed to travel to Malaysia to take up my post as Music Director of Malaysia Philharmonic Orchestra and to conduct 5 concert weeks.
Yesterday, on Monday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin of Malaysia announced a nationwide travel ban and a 14-day lockdown in the capital Kuala Lumpur and five states, saying the healthcare system for the country of 32 million people was at a breaking point.

So half a day before my departure I have to face a cancellation of my 5 weeks of concerts and activities in Malaysia. I feel very sorry for the Orchestra and I wish that the situation in the country will improve soon. Nothing is more difficult for an orchestra and musicians not being able to make music and to perform. Wishing the very best for all members of the MPO !

The latest from the Church of England:

The Government has advised that:
Where singing or chanting is essential to an act of worship, this should be limited to one person wherever possible. Exceptionally, where it is essential to the service, up to three individuals should be permitted to do so. Strict social distancing should be observed and the use of Plexi-glass screens should be considered to protect worshippers, and each other.
Communal (congregational) singing should not take place. This applies even if social distancing is being observed or face coverings are used, indoors and outdoors.
It has been confirmed that this guidance applies both to professional and amateur choirs where a congregation is present.
Under the Performing Arts guidance professional groups may continue to rehearse and train, and perform for broadcast or recording purposes if a congregation is not present. In such cases the numbers or people involved should be kept as small as possible to minimise risks and participants should follow social distancing guidance.



Spin as they might, the London Symphony Orchestra are now in a hole sixty feet deeper than the Barbican Hall.

They’ve had six months to get used to the idea that Simon Rattle had bought a parachute and was bailing out over Munich, and they’ll still enjoy his services as music director for the next two years and a half.

But the LSO’s entire business plan was predicated on Rattle bringing them profitable international tours, a high profile and wealthy donors. Covid and Brexit have killed the tours and their profile takes a fatal hit with Rattle’s departure.

The options are:

– to go for another well-connected conductor – Antonio Pappano and Gianandrea Noseda are two internal favourites;

– to grab a young talent who’s ready for the next step – Mirga, if she’s willing;

– or to completely change course and devise a survival plan for post-Brexit Britain.

Time is short and they desperately need fresh thinking.

The excellent Estonian symphonist Ester Mägi is being feted this week by the national symphony orchestra for her 99th birthday.

Moscow trained in the early 1950s, she fused Shostakovich-style rage with Estonian sonorities.

photo: Rene Jakobson


The widely-travelled German conductor Georg Schmöhe  has died at the age of 81.

A Celibidache protégé, he learned his trade as GMD at Bielefeld in the 1970s. In the following decade he was chief conductor of the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra, followed by stints at Nuremberg, Kassel and Innsbruck.

From 2007 to 2013 he was chief conductor of the Munich Symphony Orchestra.