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Mr Kreutzer’s Stradivarius goes under the hammer

joshua bell kreutzer

The violin, owned by the dedicatee of Beethoven's sonata, wound up in the possession of a centenarian American recluse. It was found in a closet after the death of Huguette Clark, aged 104, three years ago. Her father founded Las Vegas. Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy   Joshua Bell is acting as the auctioneer's assistant. He's looking for $7.5 million.     … [Read more...]

Spot yourself in this youth orchestra film?


Or this one?   Same orchestra, 52 years later. … [Read more...]

The other shoe drops: Berlin Philharmonic starts own label

berlin phil label

Instead of sitting around wondering why the phone doesn't ring from major labels any more, the Berlin Phil are shooting a selfie. If ever there was an end of an era, this is it. Twenty years ago, Berlin players were making a third as much again on top of their salaries in record royalties. With the new label they will be lucky to break even in three years. If the venture works, it will buy each player a coffee a month by 2020. What would old Herbie have made of these economics? More to the … [Read more...]

Jonas Kaufmann backs La Scala’s storm-tossed chief

kaufmann werther

The tenor told Corriere: 'I think (Alexander Pereira) is the right man for La Scala.' He added: 'He loves tra­di­tion. In Ger­many, where the most extreme pro­duc­tions are to be found, he is con­sidered a con­ser­vat­ive.' The endorsement could not be more timely. The Mayor of Milan has all but accused Pereira of leaving a clean sheet at Salzburg by selling his flops to Milan. Gramilano has an English summary of the cautious Kaufmann's interview. … [Read more...]

Oslo Phil goes into deficit


Spiralling pension costs, rising by $1 million a year ahead of forecast, has forced the Oslo Philharmonic to present a deficit budget. Oslo is one of Europe's most expensive cities and the excellent orch, under Vasily Petrenko, is its principal music ambassador. There is no immediate risk to its future but chief exec Ingrid Røynesdal says the staff and musicians need to accept pension cuts - and fast. That's not going down well with the players. More here. … [Read more...]

LA’s other conductor gives up

jeffrey kahane

Jeffrey Kahane, 57, is stepping down after 20 years as chief of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble originally modelled on London's Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields. Jeffrey wants to spend more time with his piano, resuming a solo career.   … [Read more...]

Rock of the Budapest Opera


 Erzsébet Komlóssy, Budapest's mighty dramatic mezzo in the 1960s and 1970s, has died aged 81. She was the resident Carmen, Azucena, Amneris and Dalila, and never travelled much.     … [Read more...]

How we used to dress for Glyndebourne


Recovered archive film from British Pathé gives a tour of the country opera house in 1961. Those white gloves. The maiden aunts. Lewes Station (no change there). 'When the opera begins, nature itself seems to listen in rapture...' Cameras were not allowed inside the house, presumably for union reasons.   … [Read more...]

Does Gergiev know the Tchaikovsky Competition is heading for the rocks?

tchaik comp

Three summers ago, the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow was restored to international respectability after decades of political plots, backroom deals and general disregard of audience and probity. The engines of its restoration were Valery Gergiev, appointed by Pal Putin, and his American chief executive Richard Rodzinski, former head of the Van Cliburn Competition. Together they fostered an atmosphere of fairness and transparency in which sessions were streamed online and … [Read more...]

The last 10 years belong to André Rieu…

andre rieu

I know.... some of you are saying, where has the decade gone? Others are wondering if there was ever a time before the Dutch bewitcher? Or the rich bedutcher, net worth $40m. Actually he has been around on record and the road for 20 years, but it's ten since he became a hero in his home town. The big Roo's going to be somewhere near you this summer. Don't ever say Slipped Disc didn't warn you. Press release below.   André Rieu’s 10th Anniversary 2014 Maastricht Concert to be … [Read more...]

You can dress like Katherine Jenkins for just £22.99

skiiinnyy copy

Nothing escapes our blog-pal, the Fashion Detective.         DCI Johanna saw KJ collecting an honour at Buckingham Palace and tracked down the frock to source. Thus KJ above with hirsute new life-partner, Andrew Levitas.     And thus, the £22.99 dress in high street stores and online. Buy one of these and you can call yourself an opera singer. Click the Fashion Detective to find  out where. On special offer to Decca … [Read more...]

Luthiers sans Frontières are looking to auction windfall

luthiers sans frontieres

The charity which repairs and supplies stringed instruments for children in third world countries has been given a simulated Guarneri to sell at a London auction. The copy of the 1736 'Lafont' Guarneri was made in the workshop of J&A Beare with wood donated by Peter Beare and is likely to fetch £3,000-5,000. The auctioneers are waiving their commission on the sale. It's an incredibly good cause. Press release below.       Specialist Musical Instrument … [Read more...]

Oh, Canada! Banff bungler is heading for country’s top orch


The Toronto Star reports that Jeff Melanson, the political gofer who ran the Banff Arts Centre with a ham fist, is to be the next chief exec of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. An adroit manipulator of dumb media and former aide to Toronto's bumbling mayor, Melanson talks the talk a good deal better than he walks the walk. The Toronto Symphony, in financial trouble, deserves and needs stronger leadership. It's not too late for the board to think again. … [Read more...]

The piano you smear wins Design of the Year


Meet Roli's Seaboard Grand, a rubber-key piano that can bend any note without a twist of the wrist. It was proclaimed today Design of the Year by the UK Design Museum. The piano was created by Roland Lamb and Hong-Yeul Eom,   … [Read more...]

Not one five-star Shostakovich, but two

shost piano

Ploughing - some might say, plowing - through a towering pile of new Shostakovich releases, I was knocked sideways twice in a week by performances that have simply never been bettered on record. Never? That's right, never. Not to mention the most revealing Michelangelo Suite you are ever likely to hear. Go to sinfinimusic to read the cosmic roundup.   … [Read more...]

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