Martha Argerich will give a livestream concert with the Hamburg Symphony from the Laeiszhalle on Friday, February 19 at 7:00pm local.

It will be online here, free of charge.

Even more fun is a film clip the orch have released to Slipped Disc, showing Martha laughing uproarously at the piano.


We warned you that this South African wedding song was going places when the Italian navy used it in a passing out parade.

Now, the nuns have taken over.

Don’t you just love it?

Here’s how it all began.

Elena Duran informs us that Alejandro (Alex) Vázquez had a heart attack in the night, then was rushed to hospital where he had another and died. He was Mexico’s foremost flute, playing principal flute in several orchestras as well as various other instruments.

In 2017 he travelled to New Delhi to study North Indian Classical Music with Pandit Kailash Sharma.

WQXR, New York’s classical music station, has launched a support plans for hard-hit artists and organisations.

It comes in four flavours – grants for local talent; free airtime for nonprofits; a weekly live performance series; and individually tailored ongoing partnerships. Full detais here.

The plan was devised by WQXR’s new Chief Content Officer, Ed Yim, a former VP f the NY Phil.

Nobody at the BBC, Radio 3 or TV, has the imagination to kick-start an initiative for struggling artists.

They’re just sitting tight, protecting their own jobs.


The Uruguay National Symphony has secured Stefan Lano as its music director, which is quite a feat for a remote orchestra in the thick of a pandemic.

Lano, 68, from Worcester, Mass., has enjoyed a richly varied international career, from Albania to the Met. He is presently involved with Czech National Opera in Prague.


The Concertgebouw has lost its central piece of programming. Here’s what they are telling ticket-holders:


According to our records, you have purchased one or more tickets for the Mahler Festival 2021. Due to the restrictions for concert halls and traveling orchestras due to the pandemic, we regrettably have to cancel the festival. This follows consultation with all the orchestras and conductors involved.

What should I do with my concert tickets?
You can exchange your concert tickets for a voucher, which you can then use to purchase tickets for a different concert of your choice at The Concertgebouw. The voucher will be valid for a period of two years from the date of issue. Should you not wish to attend another concert, you can choose to convert your concert tickets into a donation, or request a refund.

If you donate your tickets, we share the proceeds with the performers of the relevant concerts. Every amount donated is received with great gratitude. Your donation is regarded as a contribution to the ANBI The Concertgebouw Fund and is deductible with your income tax return (if you are a resident of The Netherlands).

UPDATE: Leipzig has also pulled out.

The international Mahler festival, which should have taken place in the Gewandhaus in mid-May 2021, is postponed to 2023 due to the pandemic-caused framework conditions.
The dynamic changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic bring great uncertainties for event and travel planning. In order to ensure timely planning security for the audience, the invited orchestras, conductors, choirs, soloists and the Gewandhaus as organizers, it is therefore necessary to postpone the festival until 2023
Tickets already purchased do not apply for 2023 and will be refunded.
The two announcements have clearly been synchronised.

The next chief conductor of the the Orquesta de Valencia will be the German conductor Alexander Liebreich. He will also  be Artistic Advisor to the Palau de la Música de Valencia.

Liebreich, 52, is presently head of the Czech Radio symphony orchestra in Prague. He recently joined UK boutique agency PR-Artists, which negotiated the Spanish deal.


The $100,000 Wolf Prize, presented at the Israeli Parliament, will be awarded this year to Stevie Wonder and Olga Neuwirth.


Wonder is one pop artist among thousands and Neuwirth (pic), while heavily subsidised in Austria, has hardly set the world alight.

On what criteria would this pair be selected in a year when top Israeli composer Oded Zehavi turns 60 and Bob Dylan is 80?

The board of the Wolf Prize needs to be replaced.


From a correspondent in Zagreb:

The HNK (Croatian National Theatre Zagreb) is in crisis. In addition to opera, the HNK presents drama and ballet. The present Intendant Dubravka Vrgoč comes from a theatre background and has publicly admitted that she knows ‘nothing about opera’.

Dubravka Vrgoč’s spectacular lack of qualifications is exceeded only by an abrasive and dictatorial management style. In mid January, 12 Croatian cultural luminaries wrote an open letter demanding her dismissal on grounds of bullying and ignorance.

The Croatian Parliamentary Committee for Education, Science and Culture has held two special sessions to investigate the litany of complaints against Intendant Vrgoč. Testimony was signed by 30 past and present employees of HRK. The number of signatories supporting her removal has now mushroomed to over 450, including 18 opera soloists, 33 orchestral musicians, 26 chorus members and a plethora of international artists including baritone Željko Lučić, Bayreuth tenor Tomislav Mužek and Braunschweig Generalmusikdirektor Srboljub Dinić. The full list of names can be read here.

The Croatian conductor Nikša Bareza, HNK’s previous director of opera, has told the Nacional newspaper that Vrgoč is impossible to work with. She responded, calling Bareza ‘the emperor with no clothes’.

There’s no row like a Balkan row.

Emily Threlfall Yoon, a vice-president at collapsed Columbia Artists, has found a new berth in Hollywood talent giant ICM.

Emily brings as dowry a short list of pops and film conductors including Christopher Dragon, Thiago Tiberio, Ludwig Wicki and Ted Sperling.

ICM say: Emily has been a key partner in the development of an impressive roster of over 30 concert packages bringing the magic of Disney Music to concert stages around the world.

Emily says: I’m thrilled to be bringing my roster into the ICM Partners fold and expanding the agency’s place within the symphony world.

She is, however, just an agent among many at ICM, no longer a v-p.


We hear from independent producers that they are being asked to complete a Covid lateral flow test within 24 hours of a new reocrding.

Ths condition could kill recording work stone-dead

A producer could be sued breach of contract if he or she had to cancel at less than 24 hours’ notice in order to self-isolate, and they would be left with heavy losses if a conductor or musicians pulled out at the last minute.

This condition is causing widespread alarm. Let us know if you have been affected.


Britain’s leading microsurgeon Lord Darzi has managed to get Elton John and Michael Caine onto a video urging over-70 stragglers to get their Covid vaccinations.

Britain has inoculated 90% of over 75s and just under 20% of the entire population, the world’s third highest jab rate after Israel nd the UAE.

The European Union has managed just 4%, France and Germany below 3% (have a good day, Ursula).