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Sad news: Minnesota’s loyal maestro died today, aged 93

Stanis?aw Skrowaczewski died on 21 February 2017, at the age of 93. In a long and well-loved career, he was principal conductor of the Hall Orchestra and music director in Minneapolis, where he returned every season until this year. Official biography follows.     Born in 1923 in Lwów, Poland, Skrowaczewski began piano and violin studies […]

Italy says classical audiences are getting younger

A report in La Repubblica says that Italians are bucking the zimmer-frame trend. Classical record sales are up 20 percent, Rome is staging classical raves, Naples sells opera tickets for 7 Euros to the under-30s, La Fenice is showing an 11% increase in under-40 online ticket buyers. Classical is looking sexy once again. Read here.

A US classical station is taken over by country music

WBACH in Portland, Maine, has played what it says in the name for 25 years. No longer. As of yesterday, the station is playing country music. ‘We would like to thank the fans of WBACH and classical music for listening over the years and we regret any inconvenience as a result of the changes,’ said […]

Three more composers are in the money

The Ernst Siemens Foundation has given 35,000 Euros each to three young composers. They are a Swede, Lisa Streich; a Dane, Simon Steen-Andersen; and a Swiss, Michael Pelzel.

Mexican wins 60k Swiss prize

Víctor Ibarra, 38, has won the first Basel Composition Competition, chaired by Georg Friedrich Haas with a prize of 60,000 Swiss francs. Haas cited the ‘exciting harmonic world’ invented by Ibarra. The award commemorates the new-music maecenas Paul Sacher. Second prize (SFr25,000) went to the Itaiian Pasquale Corrado, third prize (SFr15,000) was awarded to South Hannah […]

The slave trade refracted through music: Thierry Pécou's Outre-mémoire

Thierry Pécou & Ensemble Variances Outre-mémoire (beyond memory) by Thierry Pécou, a work which looks at aspects of the slave trade refracted through the medium of music, is being performed by Pécou and his Ensemble Variances at St John's Smith Square on Wednesday 22 February 2017. Show More Summary

Whatever happened to Opera Chic?

In the early blogosphere, a young American woman in Milan set the pulses racing with some hot gossip and goings-out in the capital of Italian opera. We got to meet her, after agreeing not to reveal her name, and liked her a lot. But the blog fell silent in 2014 and we’ve lost contact. Her […]

Bath abolishes arts funding

The ancient Roman town of Bath, which depends on heritage tourism, has said it will scrap all funding for the arts in order to save £433,000 by 2020. That will probably spell the end of the Bath Festival. It’s quite alarming.

An alternative-fact composer

So that’s how we’re spelling Honegger in 2017?

Scariest record of the year?

Er, do I really want this on my coffee table? The composer is Vivaldi.

Major coup: premiere of Kemal Yusuf's first string quartet in Norwich

Kemal Yusuf Kemal Yusuf, Haydn, Webern, Beethoven; Carducci Quartet; Norwich & Norfolk Chamber Music at the John Innes Centre Reviewed by Tony Cooper on Feb 18 2017 Star rating: 4.0 Premiere of a first quartet by the young composer of...Show More Summary

Striking trilogy: Snow, a new opera in three acts with three composers

Rick Zwart, Alice Privett - Lewis Murphy: Snow (act 1) - The Opera Story - photo Nick Rutter Snow, JL Williams, Lewis Murphy, Lucie Treacher, Tom Floyd; Alice Privett, Rick Zwart, Polly Leech, Alison Langer, Cliff Zammit Stevens, dir:...Show More Summary

Opera house goes on strike

Staff at the  Badisches Staatstheater in Karlsruhe have called a ‘warning strike’ in pursuit of a six percent pay rise. The company’s latest production is a Clinton-Lewinsky themed version of Handel’s Semele.

Music teacher ‘buried husband on farm’

Louise Khan, 46, a Scottish piano teacher, has  been arrested in Portugal, after remains of her partner Alyn Pennycook were found buried on their remote farm. He is believed to have died of cancer. The Portuguese authorities are planning to out her on trial for illegal burial. More here.

Poland mourns a legend

Danuta Szaflarska, possibly Poland’s most prolific film actor, has died at 102, a few months after completing her last role. After risking her life as a courier for the Polish resistance under the German occupation, she was seldom off the stage or the film set for b75 years. Her first husband was the pre-eminent Chopin […]

Jazz giant is found dead in NY hotel

The jazz guitarist Larry Coryell, known as the Godfather of Fusion, has died in his sleep in a New York hotel. He was 73. Coryell worked across several genres and enjoyed interacting with classical musicians, many of whom are paying tribute on social media.

How to mark International Women's Day. Not.

What do you notice about this programme?• It's taking place on 8 March and the poster says it's a special concert "From Haydn to Piazzolla, to mark International Women's Day..." • It consists of music entirely by men. • It is led byShow More Summary

Street piano inspires a new community piano academy

Herne Hill community piano Anyone who has visited Herne Hill Station has probably noticed the piano which sits under the arch which forms a passage-way under the station. This street-piano, much loved and well maintained, has inspired a new community venture, the Herne Hill Piano Academy. Show More Summary

A Few Notes on "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix"

Lucas Cranach the Elder, Samson and Delilah The other week, I ran across an article on Corymbus, via a tweet from the author, Emma Kavanaugh. It's called "Rethinking Sexual Agency in 'Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix'" and it's an analysis of Dalila's power and sexuality in the context of 19th century opera and signifiers of exoticism. Show More Summary

Fact: Thousands of new releases do not achieve a single sale

A sobering thought from the Economist: Of 8.7 million different tacks that sold at least one copy (last year), 96 percent sold fewer than 100 copies and 40 percent – 3.5 million tracks – were purchased just once. (This) does not include the many songs on offer that have never sold a single copy, Spotify […]

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