Exclusive: Last call for UK’s largest musicians diary service

Exclusive: Last call for UK’s largest musicians diary service


norman lebrecht

August 19, 2021

In a direct consequence of the pandemic Morgenstern’s, the UK’s main diary service for musicians, has shut down after 40 years.

Julian Morgenstern has run the service single-handed and without charge to clients for the past 15 months.

He says: ‘Covid, as I’m sure you have experienced, has changed the direction of a lot of lives and businesses, possibly yours and certainly mine. This makes this a very difficult letter to write.

To keep Morgensterns running I’d have to start charging again, and I know that even though orchestral work is beginning to start up again, a lot of clients continue to suffer financially and would struggle to pay.

As you know, I’ve also been working with out any income for 15 months since June 2020, and I can’t continue to do this – there are too many expenses to cover and I’ve been running through my savings to keep the business alive.

‘My current plan is therefore sadly to stop services in one month, i.e. on the 19th September and to start the process of winding Morgensterns down with this email.

‘The database has worked brilliantly during the Covid lockdown and allowed me to run the business single handed. Selling is not something I need to do, but if you are interested, I’d be happy to speak to you.

‘I’d like to thank you for all your bookings and your support over the past 40 years. I’ve always appreciated the testimonials you have allowed me to use on our web site. It’s been great working with you and I wish you and all who work in the orchestral and session profession the very best for the future.


  • CA says:

    It was an archaic system to begin with.

  • Gerry McDonald says:

    Another sad sign of the times. Countless musos owe a great debt of gratitude to Julian for his work on their behalf over the years.

  • Violinist says:

    Always a brilliant service from Julian when I started out over thirty years ago. Efficient, friendly, nothing was too much bother and in those pre mobile/email days, always made huge effort to contact wherever you were – New York, Tokyo, Vienna, Santiago, Edinburgh. A very sad loss to many musos…

  • Peter says:

    I was Julian’s first full time employee in 1988 fresh out of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, setting me on my way to other things in the music world when I left a couple of years later. I will always be grateful. He was a wizard with computer systems which were a great bonus to the business. He convinced me to be an early convert to Apple Macs, way before they were widely available or affordable. As Violinist says above, nothing ever too much bother for him.

  • Viola says:

    Not really a sellable business as clients who want to be with a diary service will switch to MAS or Bakers. These days everyone is instantly contactable via smartphones anyway….

  • Viola says:

    MAS diary service seems to have a more optimistic view of the state of the profession?

    We hope you and your families are safe and well and enjoying life returning to normal. We are delighted to say that from today we are all back working in the office and our opening hours have returned to 8am – midnight every day.

    We have seen a definite increase in the amount of work coming in since the social distancing rules were removed on the 19th July. Many of the orchestras and opera & ballet companies are now preparing for a busy Autumn season and freelance orchestras are starting to book concerts too. There is still some way to go but it has been fairly consistent over the past 4-5 weeks and so we are feeling much more confident about the future.

    We would like to say a huge thank you for all your support and patience over the last 16 months. We appreciate that having our team working from home has caused difficulties, especially more recently as we have become busier, and we are sorry for any inconvenience or delay this has caused. We intend to operate from our office in Dorking as much as possible but there may be some weekends over the next few months when the team still work from home, for practical reasons or if anyone needs to isolate, but we will do our best to keep this to a minimum.

    As mentioned in our June newsletter, we will be increasing our fees slightly from 1st September to £100 + VAT (£50+VAT for the Young Professionals Discount) However, we are very aware that the move back to normal levels of work is not going to be the same for everyone, so if you have any concerns or difficulties paying the invoice please do call and speak to us. We are always happy to discuss payment options including a delay or paying in instalments if that would be helpful.

    Finally, we are intending to keep up with the extra support services we first started to offer last summer, so if you would like our help with a new or existing project or would like to explore a new avenue of work, please get in touch. We are happy to help with any research, social media, websites, and general administration, so if there is anything you think we can do to help then please give us a call.

    With best wishes
    Tania, Abbie and all at MAS

  • Martine says:

    Hi Julian, sounds as if you’ll be greatly missed.
    I’ve missed you and your family since we left England for Australia, in 1964. Loved our riding around the block on the tricycles! Life is still going around in circles. I’m sure you’ll start something new and creative.
    Take care, Martine Jusserand.