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A ballet conductor has died

akira endo

Akira Endo, recommended  by Leonard Bernstein to American Ballet Theater and later long-serving conductor at Pittsburgh Ballet, has died, aged 75. Japanese born, he migrated to the US as a student in 1954 and twice came third in the Dmitri Mitropoulos Competition, where he caught Bernstein's eye. … [Read more...]

Ousted Conservatoire chief lands new post

Mary Ellen Poole, eased out as Dean of the San Francisco Conservatoire in January, has not idled long. She's the new Dean at Butler. Release below.     April 15, 2014Mary Ellen Poole, dean of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, has been appointed director of the Butler School of Music and holder of the Florence Thelma Hall Centennial Chair in Music at The University of Texas at Austin, effective Sept. 1. Dean of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for … [Read more...]

Another senior maestro graciously cashes in


The Boston Symphony Orchestra, announcing a replacement for Lorin Maazel, uses the obsequious language of three generations back to welcome the expensive Charles Dutoit on bended knee. Will Boston never wake up? And should we now start referring to cheerful Charlie as Maazel's Maazel? press release below   Eminent Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit has graciously offered to lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the orchestra's final programs, April 17-26, stepping in … [Read more...]

Two key questions for San Diego

san diego opera

There's a crisis board meeting today at wound-down San Diego Opera. This is what its president, Karen Cohn, is putting to her colleagues: I believe we should all be thinking about these two fundamental questions: If an alternative San Diego opera organization is financially viable, does it make sense for that organization to start fresh? Or should the new alternative San Diego opera organization that emerges from these efforts assume at the start all of the debt, contracts, and other … [Read more...]

Breaking: Milan puts new Scala chief on hold

pereira last

The Mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia,  has been alarmed by reports that Alexander Pereira balanced his last budget as director of the Salzburg Festival by selling his less successful productions on  to his next post, at La Scala. The mayor has, with remarkable urgency for Italy, called two board meetings in the next fortnight to discuss the issue. Insiders say Pereira's chair is starting to wobble. Read on here (in Italian). … [Read more...]

Why Michael Kaiser and IMG are a marriage made in hell


The announcement (via the NY Times PR agency) that Turnaround King Michael Kaiser is joining the ever-turbulent IMG Artists has been greeted across the classical world with varying degrees of incredulity. Kaiser, having lectured the world to death about how to run a classical ship, is leaving the Kennedy Center on a vertical downturn. His last act was to renew his out-of-touch pal Christoph Eschenbach as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra amid cries of cronyism and institutional … [Read more...]

An Afro-American pioneer at the Met turns 80


George Shirley's lists of firsts is near-inexhaustible. He was the first African-American to be appointed to a high school teaching post in music in Detroit, the first African-American member of the United States Army Chorus in Washington, D.C., and the first African-American tenor and second African-American male to sing leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera, where he appeared for eleven years. He turns 80 on Good Friday. Many happy returns, George. … [Read more...]

Warsaw 1947: An American architect’s photos


Henry N. Cobb was part of a group of architects called in to explore the war-wasted city. Watch his riveting images. Read more here. … [Read more...]

You sang it wrong at the Seder

chad gadya

These are some of the earliest known notations. h/t Joel Cohen. All together now: Chad gad-ya...   Read more here. … [Read more...]

US union leader lashes out at ‘foreign’ film scores

ray hair

The American Federation of Musicians and its well-dressed chief Ray Hair are picketing Lionsgate and other Hollywood production houses for having much of the music to their film and TV series composed and performed abroad. Their protectionist rhetoric sounds faintly archaic in an increasingly joined-up world. Does anyone ask where actors come from, or where US movies make their easiest profits? Don't take our word for it. Watch a menacing video clip of Mr Hair that (we hear) is not going down … [Read more...]

Are Kronos slightly out of time?


The California string quartet changed the face of chamber music 40 years ago in every important aspect - atmosphere, attitude, content and appearance. That, however, was post-Watergate. Have the designer-hair group kept pace with a fast-changing world and its fickle musical tastes, or are they resting a bit on world-tour laurels? Their new release is my album of the week on Sinfinimusic, though not without regrets and reservations. Read on here. … [Read more...]

San Diego board to staff: We haven’t a clue what to do

beczala san diego

 A MESSAGE TO THE EMPLOYEES OF THE SAN DIEGO OPERA FROM BOARD PRESIDENT KAREN COHN April 13, 2014                 I want to give you all an update on where things stand after Friday afternoon’s Board meeting and after continuing discussions that have been held over the weekend.   You are the ones who helped make SDO one of America’s best opera companies, and I know how difficult the past weeks have been for all of you. Every member of the Board of Directors has been struggling … [Read more...]

Selfie of the year: The three divas

stemme, scotto, didonato

l. to. r. t the Opera News awards (as if you didn't know): Nina Stemme, Renata Scotto, Joyce DiDonato … [Read more...]

Gergiev cancels, soloist scores a first

repin putin

Valery Gergiev was a no-show at Vadim Repin's inaugural Trans-Siberian Music festival this weekend. He'd accepted a Carnegie Hall stand-in with the Munich Phil instead. Repin was furious. Not easy to replace a conductor last minute in the middle of Siberia. When his fury ebbed, he decided to conduct and play the first Shostakovich concerto himself, the first time anyone has done that. Full marks to Repin, minus ten to Gergiev. pic: Putin at Sochi, between Mr & Mrs Repin … [Read more...]

‘Master of Disaster’ rushes to the aid of San Diego Opera

san diego opera

Mark Fabiani, the corporate spinner who dug Goldman Sachs out of one hole and Bill Clinton out of others, has 'offered to volunteer to help the opera in any way that makes sense, and I am not being compensated by the opera in any way' - he tells the LA Times. With friends like that... UPDATE: Mr Fabiani tells Slipped Disc: 'Based on everything I’ve seen, the Opera’s leadership is doing everything they can to reach the right result here, and I offered to help in any way that I can, on a … [Read more...]

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