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Classical News

In today’s news, there is a lot about the English National Opera’s 2015/16 season, unveiled yesterday. It includes six new productions and five favourites in order to get through its troubled times. Tom Service believes that despite the financial problems, it could be a season to remember, for positive reasons, for the ENO. However, the Telegraph’s Rupert Christiansen says top British talent has been left out of the programme in a major way. Moving away from the ENO, the biennial Menuhin Competition has opened in the year where it would have been Yehudi Menuhin’s 99th birthday. The BBC also carries a story on  the transforming power of orchestras in schools.

The Guardian

ENO announce cloth-cutting season for 2015/16

Six new productions and five revivals attest to English National Opera’s current troubled circumstances, while artistic director John Berry hails ‘exciting and challenging’ times

Smaller is beautiful: ENO’s new season offers invention and ambition

Even if the 2015-16 season’s focus and concentration are the direct result of financial body-blows, this could be a year to remember for the right reasons at the Coliseum

The Telegraph

English National Opera has betrayed British talent

Our top-flight singers have been shunted aside in ENO’s new season. It is a disgrace, says Rupert Christiansen

Classic FM

Menuhin Competition 2016 opens for entries

The biennial Menuhin Competition comes to London in 2016, in partnership with Classic FM. And today, on what would have been the great violinist Yehudi Menuhin’s 99th birthday, the organisers have opened next year’s competition for entries.

BBC

The orchestra fine-tuning the performance of school students

The school’s results have improved, its drop-out rates have fallen to less than 1% and the atmosphere in the wider neighbourhood has been “transformed.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Seehofers “Zwillingslösung” auf dem Prüfstand

Am Freitag wird ein Gutachten veröffentlicht, das klären soll, ob die beiden großen Orchester Münchens gemeinsam die Philharmonie und den Herkulessaal bespielen könnten.

pizzicato

Internationaler ARD-Musikwettbewerb bis 2020 abgesichert

Die Intendanten der ARD stimmten einer Empfehlung ihrer Hörfunkkommission zu, den Internationalen Musikwettbewerb auch weiterhin zu organisieren. Der aktuelle Vertrag, der Ende 2016 ausläuft, wird bis zum 31. Dezember 2020 verlängert.

MUSIK HEUTE

Orchester zeichnen Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission aus

Die Deutsche Orchestervereinigung (DOV) verleiht den “Hermann-Voss-Kulturpreis” in diesem Jahr an die Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission.

The New York Times

New York Philharmonic’s Challenges Go Beyond the Music

The New York Philharmonic, the nation’s oldest symphony orchestra and the former home of Leonard Bernstein and Gustav Mahler, is preparing for its greatest upheaval in decades.

San Francisco Classical Voice

John Eliot Gardiner: Monteverdi is the Shakespeare of Music

For the better part of a half century, English conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner has been one of the leading forces in the early music revival.

Twitter

BBC Proms Team @bbcproms : It’s the 2015 BBC Proms launch day!!! Only 4 hours until the full #bbcproms programme is revealed

Jessica Duchen @jessicaduchen : ENO’s new season. What’s really missing? http://jessicamusic.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/find-your-voices.html …

ABRSM ‏@ABRSM : New for piano! We’ve just released Encore, a collection of favourite piano exam pieces from the past few decades! http://bit.ly/1DRMylg 

Prom-75_CR_BBC-Chris-Christodoulou_1_RAH

BBC Proms. Photo: FlowingProse

(Written on April 23, 2015 )

Classical News

In today’s news the English National Opera announce their 2015/16 season, which sees significant reductions in ticket prices. British conductor Stuart Stratford has been appointed by Scottish Opera as the Company’s Music Director after an extensive international search. Also, a look at austerity and the arts.

Guardian

Austerity and the arts: the hidden cuts that are bad for our cultural health

The main parties show commitment in their manifestos to increasing access to and diversity in the arts, yet they are ignoring the devastating effects of local cuts

Independent

Karol Szymanowski’s ‘Król Roger’: A forgotten classic set to rule again

The Royal Opera House debut next month is long overdue, says Jessica Duchen

Classical Music Magazine

ENO unveil 2015/16 season

English National Opera has revealed its 2015/16 programme, announcing significant reductions in audience ticket prices.

Sinfini

Song for the NHS

A British composer is calling on politicians, cultural figures and the general public to lend their voices to a new piece about the NHS in advance of the UK general election on 7 May.

Classical Source

Scottish Opera appoints Stuart Stratford as Music Director

British conductor Stuart Stratford has been appointed by Scottish Opera as the Company’s Music Director after an extensive international search.

Der Tagesspiegel

Endlos das Firmament

Er geht weder ins Aufnahme- noch ins Fotostudio. Für viele ist er der Größte: Ausnahmepianist Grigory Sokolov in der Philharmonie.

Die Welt

Ein Aufstand weißer heterosexueller Männer

Renner gegen Castorf und für Dercon. Ostermeier gegen Renner. Peymann gegen alle. Und Lilienthal für sich selbst. Ein Versuch, den derzeit tobenden Berliner Theaterzickenkrieg zu verstehen.

MUSIK HEUTE

Rundfunkchor Berlin startet mit neuem Chefdirigenten

Gijs Leenaars, neuer Chefdirigent des Rundfunkchors Berlin, wird am 19. September seine erste Vorstellung mit dem Ensemble leiten.

Münchner OB: Konzertsaalentscheidung bis Sommer

In der Münchner Konzertsaaldebatte soll noch vor der Sommerpause eine Entscheidung fallen.

Classicalite

EXCLUSIVE: 2015 MATA Festival Interview Spotlight – Ann Cleare on ‘Eöl,’ Talea Ensemble and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth

Founded by Philip Glass, Lisa Bielawa and Eleonor Sandresky in 1996, the MATA Young Composers Now! Festival strives to present emerging compositional talent sourced from across the globe.

Twitter

EnglishNationalOpera @E_N_O: There’s one final #ENO1516 announcement! From next season we’re reducing the price of 50% of seats, making over 60,000 tickets £20 or under

Rayfield Allied ‏@RayfieldAllied: We are looking forward to @SteveReich #ThreeTales at @sciencemuseum performed by @ensemblebpm @nickedsut + Synergy Vocals tonight.

Classic FM @ClassicFM: Can you guess the music from just looking at the score? Try our new (and very tricky) quiz: http://classfm.co/wLRuVq 

12498English National Opera has revealed its 2015/16 programme, announcing significant reductions in audience ticket prices. Photo: English National Opera

(Written on April 22, 2015 )

Classical News

The Guardian

How can you make an opera about 9/11?

Opera has always thrived on grandiose spectacle, but are the events at the World Trade Center a tragedy too far? The team behind ENO’s new work Between Worlds talk about dramatising a day on which more than 2,700 people lost their lives

English National Opera hopes foyer cafe will help finances match artistic success

Plans to open London Coliseum’s lobby as a cafe-bar are latest effort by ENO to make up for cut in Arts Council funding

Chopin movement music to ears of Polish tourism officials

A concerted effort is under way to cash in on the composer, as the country seeks to build on the 3 million visitors who come to Warsaw each year

The Telegraph

Why are artists so difficult to work with?

A new film about Argentinian-born pianist Martha Argerich reminds us that men do not have a monopoly on egoism, says Ivan Hewett

Classical Music Magazine

Croydon Council draws up proposals for Fairfield Hall refurbishment

The long-standing issue of when and how to redevelop Croydon’s Fairfield Halls site has come centre-stage with the news that leading international consultancy Mott MacDonald and architects Rick Mather have been appointed by the local council to draw up proposals.

Klassik.com

Sinfonieorchester Biel-Solothurn protestiert gegen Sparmaßnahmen

Die Musiker des Sinfonieorchesters Biel-Solothurn protestieren gegen die Sparmaßnahmen der Stadt, die den Umbau des Klangkörpers von einem Berufs- zu einem Projektorchester vorsehen.

nmz – neue Musikzeitung

Johann Strauss Festival in Dresden mit «Cagliostro»-Premiere

Die fünfte Ausgabe des Musikfests beginne am 2. Mai mit der Premiere der Operette «Cagliostro in Wien», teilte die Bühne am Dienstag mit.

Musik heuteaa

Untersuchungsausschuss Staatsoper Berlin ab 8. Mai

Der Untersuchungsausschuss zur Kostenexplosion bei der Sanierung der Berliner Staatsoper nimmt voraussichtlich am 8. Mai seine Arbeit auf.

BroadwayWorld.com

New Yorker Classical Music Critic Andrew Porter Dies at 86

Music critic Andrew Porter died either Thursday night or early Friday in London. He was 86. He died from complications of pneumonia, and it was confirmed by Sheila Porter, his sister and only immediate survivor.

Le Parisien

Piratage de TV5Monde : le gouvernement dénonce un «acte terroriste»

Sur place, la ministre de la Culture et de la communication a annoncé qu’elle allait réunir «l’ensemble des médias audiovisuels, et peut-être la presse écrite», d’ici vendredi, pour éviter ce type d’attaques.

Le Monde.fr

Violente controverse autour de l’avenir des théâtres berlinois

Si la nouvelle est confirmée, c’est une révolution. Chris Dercon, le directeur de la Tate Modern de Londres, pourrait succéder à Frank Castorf à la Volksbühne de Berlin.

Twitter

NS Culture ‏@NS_Culture : So, everyone agrees that culture is good, then? What we learned from the #CultureDebate: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/04/four-things-we-learned-culture-

Classical Music Agen ‏@AClassicalMusic : BBC Music Magazine Awards: playing of integrity and passion http://ift.tt/1FpuZHj  #classicalmusic

The Night Shift ‏@OAENightShift : A ‘simple’ guide to when to clap at classical concerts… OR come to The Night Shift and clap when you feel like it. http://www.insidethearts.com/neoclassical/2015/04/when-to-clap-at-the-symphony-a-guideline/ …

'Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Steet' performance at the English National Opera, London, Britain - 28 Mar 2015Bryn Terfel as Sweeney Todd and Emma Thompson as Mrs Lovett in the ENO’s production of the Stephen Sondheim musical, which is the latest in a run of artistic successes for the company. Photograph: Donald Cooper/Rex 

(Written on April 9, 2015 )

Classical News

Independent

Carmen with a twist: From toreador to city boy

Simon Stephens’ modern take on Bizet’s opera makes Carmen a man and Escamillo a hedge-funder

Guardian

Nobuo Uematsu: the video game composer shaking up classical music

The Japanese musician behind the Final Fantasy themes has become a mainstay of Classic FM’s Hall of Fame, rubbing shoulders with the greats. So what does our critic make of his work?

Andrew Porter obituary

Distinguished music critic and scholar who had a decisive impact on British cultural life

Classic FM

Classical music could be ‘gone in a generation’, says top conductor

Conductor Kent Nagano has suggested that classical music could be dead within a generation, citing budget cuts and lack of music education.

Classical Music Magazine

Obituary: Dennis Marks, 2 July 1948 ‒ 2 April 2015

Dennis Marks, former head of music for BBC Television and general director of English National Opera, has died at the age of 66.

Jetz.de – Süddeutsche Zeitung

Geschmacksverstärker

Expertentum statt Schwarmintelligenz: Über die Rückkehr des Tastemakers bei Musik-Streaming-Diensten.

Der Tagesspiegel

Stolz im Bauch

Der Staats- und Domchor Berlin gilt als das älteste Ensemble der Stadt. Vor exakt 550 Jahren wurde die Knabentruppe gegründet. Das feiert sie mit einem Festprogramm – einer Ausstellung und großen Konzerten.

Die Welt

Was unsere Klassikszene von Frankreich lernen kann

Deutsche Opernhäuser haben Probleme. Die Semperoper etwa ist führungslos. In Berlin bleiben die Bühnen oft tagelang leer. Nun zeigt Intendant Serge Dorny in Lyon, wie spannend Oper sein könnte.

Maclean’s

Can a man from Montreal save the Philadelphia Orchestra?

Paul Wells on Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Montreal star who has become one of classical music’s leading forces

Francemusique.fr

11ème concours international de musique de chambre de Lyon – Quatuor à cordes

Le 11ème concours international de musique de chambre de Lyon – Quatuor à cordes aura lieu du 22 au 26 avril 2015. Le concours est ouvert aux artistes de toutes nationalités de moins de 30 ans. Une dizaine de quatuors sont attendus. Ils devront interpréter un vaste programme en partie imposé et dans lequel figure une création du compositeur Sergio Menozzi commanée pour l’occasion.

El Mundo

Onda Cero renueva su mañana con ‘Más de uno’

Comienza otra manera de contar las cosas en Onda Cero. A las 6.00 horas Carlos Alsina se enfrentaba a su primer monólogo matutino en Más de uno, el nuevo despertador de la cadena que viene a ocupar el espacio dejado por Carlos Herrera el pasado mes de marzo y que compartirá con el periodista Juan Ramón Lucas.

Twitter

In Tune BBC Radio 3 ‏@BBCInTune: ”I needed a bodyguard” @paavo_jarvi on bringing Shostakovich to Estonia in our latest podcast http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r3intune …

Welsh National Opera ‏@WNOtweet#GairArGnawd RT @S4C: @WNOtweet Opera screened on S4C as part of partnership with Welsh National Opera http://www.s4c.cymru/e_press_level2.shtml?id=2530 …

carmenViktoria Vizin says she has ‘lived every moment’ as Carmen. Photo: Independent

(Written on April 8, 2015 )

Classical News

Telegraph

Why the arts funding system doesn’t work

The experience of Mid Wales Opera demonstrates the drawbacks of arts funding in Britain, says Rupert Christiansen

9/11 opera Between Worlds envisages what happened inside the towers

Opera has always dealt with vast human experiences

Classic FM

Helena Bonham Carter: playing classical music to my unborn children during pregnancy made them ‘unbelievably clever’

Actress says listening to Mozart and violin concertos had a profound effect on her unborn children.

Sinfini

Birmingham Opera Company

Birmingham Opera Company’s latest community extravaganza, staged by Graham Vick in an inner-city warehouse, is Tippett’s rarely heard The Ice Break. And for one day only, acclaimed playwright David Edgar will chair Breaking The Ice, a national symposium on art and society.

Opera inspired by 9/11

Tansy Davies’s opera inspired by the events of 9/11 receives its world premiere this month at English National Opera.

Zeit Online

Ein Charakter mit G’schicht

Helmut Dietl wollte das Publikum unterhalten, nur bitte nie dreckig und nie irgendwie. An ihm sollten sich die Fernsehredaktionen von heute ein Beispiel nehmen.

Die Welt

Opernchef wegen Regietheater gefeuert

Nach Protesten der orthodoxen Kirche wurde Nowosibirsks Opernchef entlassen. Er hatte eine Jesus-Sex-Szene im “Tannhäuser” verteidigt. Nun erwägt Moskau, wichtige Theaterbühnen zu überwachen.

crescendo

Das Horn ist Musikinstrument des Jahres 2015

Die Tradition, ein Musikinstrument des Jahres zu ernennen, ist noch recht jung, erfreut sich jedoch großer Beliebtheit und hilft dabei, weniger bekannte Instrumente oder solche, die scheinbar aus der Mode gekommen sind, wieder ins Blickfeld der Öffentlichkeit zu rücken.

pizzicato

Russland führt beim Internationalen Deutschen Pianistenpreis

Das International Piano Forum hat das Ergebnis der Vorauswahljury für den 5. Internationalen Deutschen Pianistenpreis bekannt gegeben.

Le Figaro

Les bluesmen vivraient plus longtemps que les rappeurs

INFOGRAPHIES – Une étude menée par un professeur de psychologie et de musique à l’université de Sydney revient sur l’âge moyen des artistes à leur mort. Elle tisse également des liens entre genre musical et espérance de vie.

Le Parisien

Les orchestres et le choeur de Radio France sur la sellette

Y a-t-il un orchestre de trop à Radio France? La question revient avec insistance depuis le début de la grève de la maison ronde, alors que son président, Mathieu Gallet, cherche des économies face à un déficit annoncé de 21 millions d’euros pour 2015.

Twitter

ClassicalToday @ClassicalToday: Leipzig String Quartet Violinist Charged with Strangling New York Hotel Guest http://goo.gl/rwhtDI

Klassik.com @klassikcom: Sieger des Deutschen #Musikwettbewerb stehen fest #Klarinette #Kontrabass http://klassik.com/?91s4H 

Klassik.com @klassikcom: Zahl der #Musiklehrer in #Brandenburg nimmt drastisch ab #Musik #Ausbildunghttp://klassik.com/?NVLM7

Helmut Dietl in February 1995. Photo: Catherina Hess / dpa

Helmut Dietl in February 1995.
Photo: Catherina Hess / dpa

(Written on March 31, 2015 )

Classical News

The Times

Adamski: The rave DJ who’s taken up waltzing

The cool dance of old Vienna has inspired DJ Adamski as pop stars turn to classical music for ideas, says Will Hodgkinson

Opera transforms victims’ final texts into a requiem for 9/11

The September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001 are the inspiration for a controversial work by English National Opera that opens next week.

The Telegraph

Alice Sara Ott: meet the hottest new talent in classical music

Alice Sara Ott gets a lot of attention for her looks and her quirks – but it is her unique musical personality that will keep her at the top

At Easter, the voice of Bach becomes the voice of God

The great composer offers a sense of solace to all those who seek out his Matthew or John Passion at this time of year

Classical Music Magazine

Obituary: Peter Katin (1930-2015)

Peter Katin, who died on 19 March at age 84, belonged to a generation of virtuoso pianists who tackled concertos as well as the sotto vocesalon intimacy of romantic keyboard works.

Frankfurter Allgemeine

Jeder ist ein Medienkritiker

In den letzten Tagen konnte man den Eindruck gewinnen, dass die Medienwelt den Verstand verloren hat. Und obwohl die Erregungsmaschine in erwartbarster Weise funktionierte, wurde man doch das Gefühl nicht los, dass hier etwas ganz Neues passierte.

Die Welt

Rettet uns vor dem Kurator!

Frank Castorf soll noch bis 2017 seine Berliner Volksbühne leiten. Dann könnte nach dem Willen von Staatssekretär Tim Renner Chris Dercon, gegenwärtig Direktor der Londoner Tate Modern, übernehmen.

pizzicato

Ein ‘Tosca-Engel’ von 25 Metern

Ein Bühnenbild der Superlative entsteht zurzeit im Steinbruch St. Margarethen (Österreich) für die Aufführungen von Puccinis ‘Tosca’ im Sommer. Ein 25 Meter hoher Engel wird das Bühnenbild beherrschen.

Concert Simulator Helps Musicians To Combat Stage Fright

The Royal College of Music, Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana (Lugano), London-based creative design consultancy Studiohead, and Skyline Whitespace, one of the leading providers of custom modular stands in Europe, have developed a new performance simulator, complete with realistic back-stage and on-stage areas as well as an interactive virtual audience and audition panel.

The New York Times

Russian Theater Director Fired for Offending Christians

MOSCOW — In the latest skirmish between the Russian Orthodox Church and the cultural elite, the culture minister on Sunday fired the director of a Siberian theater who included a controversial interpretation of the life of Jesus in the Richard Wagner opera “Tannhauser.”

Twitter

Tarisio ‏@TarisioAuctions : Lots begin closing in 2 hours, at mid-day, for our March 2015 London Auction. Place your bids!

Royal Opera House ‏@RoyalOperaHouse : Student booking for Summer is now open via our site: http://www.roh.org.uk/seasons/2014-15/summer … Let us know if you need any help ^C

Handel House Museum ‏@HandelHouse #OnThisDay in 1697, the famous Italian diva, Faustina Bordoni, who sang for Handel was born in Venice, Italy

Bach News 30th March Bach. Photo: Alamy

(Written on March 30, 2015 )

Classical News

The Guardian

Facing the music: Philippe Jaroussky

From Shostakovich and Perlman to Bernstein and Lady Gaga – the countertenor shares his musical passions on and off the stage

The Telegraph

Salisbury International Arts Festival: Elvis Costello, Omid Djalili and Shappi Khorsandi among the highlights

Matthew Stadlen looks ahead to this year’s arts festival, which runs from May 22 – June 6

The Strad

2-string 3D printed violin to be revealed in New York

The instrument is one of five pieces created using the cutting edge technology

In Mo Yang wins 2015 Paganini International Violin Competition

The 19-year-old artist receives €20,000 and concert opportunities

Classical Music Magazine

ENO appoints McKinsey’s Cressida Pollock as interim chief executive

English National Opera has appointed Cressida Pollock as interim chief executive. Pollock will join from management consultant McKinsey, which has been working with ENO in recent months, on 24 March.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Feuilleton

Jesus im Reich der Liebesgöttin 

Der Bischof von Nowosibirsk verklagt das dortige Opernhaus samt Regisseur. Der Grund: eine angeblich blasphemische Inszenierung von Wagners „Tannhäuser“. Andere Geistliche stehen auf Seiten der Oper.

klassik.com

Hermann Rauhe mit Medaille für Kunst und Wissenschaft geehrt

Der Musikwissenschaftler und Hochschuldozent Prof. Dr. Hermann Rauhe ist mit der Medaille für Kunst und Wissenschaft der Stadt Hamburg ausgezeichnet worden.

BroadwayWorld.com

Music Director Louis Langrée Extends Contract With Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra announced that it has extended its contract with music director, Louis Langrée, through its 125th anniversary season in 2019­-20.

Le Figaro.fr

New York : marche funèbre pour le dernier magasin de partitions

Face à la concurrence des sites de vente par Internet, l’enseigne Frank Music Company a fermé définitivement ses portes vendredi, au grand désespoir de ses clients musiciens.

El Mundo

El 60% del consumo de contenidos digitales en España es pirata

Las industrias culturales y los cuerpos policiales que luchan contra la piratería denuncian la ineficacia y la falta de voluntad del Gobierno en la defensa de la propiedad intelectual cuando se presenta el demoledor informe del Observatorio de la piratería y hábitos de consumo digital.

Twitter

ACE North ‏@ace_thenorth:Inspired by her time w/ The 4th Battalion The Rifles – #5soldiers by @rosiekaydanceco http://bit.ly/1ANqp7V  @dancecity 14 & 16 May #Gfta

Royal College Music ‏@RCMLatest : Find out about the Pete Handley #Percussion Award & @PeteFestUK, set up in memory of the inspirational RCM alumnus: http://bit.ly/1GmDJ2M 

NY Review of Books ‏@nybooks : Have pianists been performing the wrong version of Tchaikovsky’s famous First Piano Concerto? A musical investigation http://j.mp/1HnR3ot 

 

News 10th March

 Philippe Jaroussky Photograph: Marc Ribes/Warner Classics

 

 

 

(Written on March 10, 2015 )

In the week leading up to International Women’s Day the team at WildKat PR have been discussing some of the best moments, pieces, events and performances that have come from classical women. Here are 10 of our favourites – add yours to the list by tweeting us @WildKatPR!

 

Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio in G minor (Andante)

 

Marin Alsop’s speech at the Last Night of the Proms 2013

 

Nicola Benedetti inspires young musicians

Nicola Benedetti helps and inspires Scottish children to study music

nicola-benedetti-1245761179-article-0

 

The Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa founded her foundation in 2004 to help outstanding young musicians and singers to develop their international careers

PastedGraphic-1

 

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel – Lied: Larghetto from Song Without Words

 

Madeleine Dring’s Business Girls from ‘Five Betjeman Songs’

 

In 2014 Judith Weir was appointed as the first female master of the Queen’s music

She succeeded Sir Peter Maxwell Davies in the role that is said to be the musical equivalent of the poet laureate

_76424071_weir.jpg

 

Jacqueline du Pre set the bar for performances of Elgar’s Cello Concerto

 

Galina Ustvolskaya was composing during the Soviet Union

The Russian composer’s brutally uncompromising work has an elementality that’s both horrifying and thrilling

3_politics_and_spirituality

 

The founder of ENO Lilian Baylis

Lilian Baylis established the Sadler’s Wells Opera Company in 1931 which later became the English National Opera

Baylis

 

 

(Written on March 6, 2015 )

If you look back at our daily news page on our website, it is not an exaggeration when I say that in the last few weeks almost every day there has been a news story about Sir Simon Rattle. Everyone has had their say on the concert hall rumours and now it is time for WildKat PR to add to the debate with our take on the whole issue.

I have always liked Simon Rattle, maybe it is because my grandparents, who live in Birmingham, are regulars at the Symphony Hall and talked about him when he was at the CBSO, maybe it is his musicianship, or maybe it is our mutual love for Mahler. Either way, I would love to see him back in London after he leaves his post as Principal Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic in 2018. But what of his concert hall demands? It is generally accepted that London lacks a world class concert hall in terms of acoustics when compared to the likes of Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Berlin’s Philharmonie. It seems a bit of an oxymoron to have our prestigious orchestras housed in halls that have been described as a ‘complete joke’ by some musicians in terms of acoustics and backstage facilities. So, Rattle’s suggestion is not entirely unreasonable in this sense.

Rattle Picture

Photo: Sipa Press / Rex Features

However, as Ivan Hewett commented in The Times, it is not that the acoustics in London are bad, others are just better. Just talking about acoustics only provides one part of the story and does not take into account the psychological factors when listening to a performance: the emotions we feel and pictures the music conjures up. We do not want the acoustic question to veil the actual music. There is a special something about our concert halls in London which implants itself when you come to a concert here: their history, the grandeur of the building itself and the thrill of who else has performed on that stage. Can you imagine the Proms anywhere else other than the Royal Albert Hall? Pageantry and tradition is something the UK has perfected and our existing concert halls are a part of this.

There is a political side to all of this too. I must admit that part of me agrees with Jessica Duchen, that much of George Osborne’s commitment to a ‘feasibility study’ is probably General Election talk to get us all on side. With the economy still in a tight spot, spending however many millions on a new concert hall is not sensible. Indeed, Charlotte Higgins argued that if we need to spend any money on a new music venue in London, it needs to be a Glyndebourne-esque space for the crisis stricken English National Opera.

And then there is the question of its location. Where in central London is both available and suitable?

As much as I would love to see Sir Simon back in London, building a whole new concert hall seems hard to justify in these times especially when some say the acoustic argument is exaggerated. Spending the money on music education instead sounds like a better idea. If, after May, the new government uphold this enthusiasm then perhaps the idea will be taken more seriously but, how likely this is is left to be seen.

Rattle Blog Pic

Illustration: Robert G Fresson

 

(Written on February 25, 2015 )

Classical News

Guardian

English National Opera told to put its house in order

Arts Council puts opera company under ‘special’ plan, demanding it improves business model – or it faces a funding cut

Telegraph

Is art best enjoyed in company?

Art might inspire silent rapture but it also teaches us how to listen and talk to each other, says Ivan Hewett

Classic FM

Toy Story’s Randy Newman: ‘I just don’t like directors’

Exclusive: Randy Newman, who has won two Oscars for his music for Pixar films, says the animation studio probably won’t use him again.

Classical Music Magazine

Wigmore puts accessibility centre stage with 2015/16 season announcement

The Wigmore Hall launched its 2015/16 season on Tuesday with particular emphasis on widening access.

Arts Professional

ENO and firstsite gallery lose national portfolio status

“Serious concerns” about the two organisation’s sustainability over a three-year funding term have led them to be placed under alternative funding arrangements for 2015-18.

Zeit Online

“Ich schäme mich seit Jahren”

Mariss Jansons, Chefdirigent des berühmten Symphonieorchesters des Bayerischen Rundfunks, empört sich über die ausweglose Misere der Münchener Konzertsäle.

Die Welt

Wenigstens wurde Katharina Wagner nicht verprügelt

Der Rauswurf Katharina Wagners wegen angeblicher “Niveaulosigkeit” zeigt vor allem: Das schönste Opernhaus Südamerikas ist auf den Hund gekommen.

pizzicato

Carl Bechstein Stiftung mit eigenem Youtube-Kanal

Die Carl Bechstein Stiftung ist nun auch auf Youtube vertreten: Unter http://bit.ly/carlbechsteinstiftung finden sich Eindrücke vom ersten Carl Bechstein Wettbewerb für Kinder und Jugendliche 2014, außerdem Musikvideos von Preisträgern der Stiftung sowie fröhliche Kinder an Klavieren, die von der Carl Bechstein Stiftung Schulen kostenlos zur Verfügung gestellt wurden.

Klassik.com

Schubert und die Moderne: Preisträger stehen fest

Die Preisträger des diesjährigen Kammermusikwettbewerbs “Franz Schubert und die Moderne” der Kunstuniversität Graz stehen fest.

Musik Heute

Komponist György Kurtág erhält Frontiers of Knowledge Award

Der ungarische Komponist György Kurtág erhält den spanischen Frontiers of Knowledge Award.

The Washington Post

Spirited competition spices up this weekend’s Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival

One of the most engaging parts of the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival comes from a surprising source: its high school jazz band competition.

Twitter

Arts Council England ‏@ace_national#valentinesday tomorrow – so come on, what would your perfect arts/cultural romantic date be?

Classic FM @ClassicFM: 16 evocative sketches of opera houses from the 18th & 19th centuries: http://classfm.co/XpMYSc 

OAE @theoae: Great talent – photos by young professional  photographers w/ @IdeasTap and @RoyalPhilSoc: http://on.fb.me/1E9Rq3Z 

mariss-jansons-540x304Der Dirigent Mariss Jansons. Photo: Nagl/AFP/Getty Images

(Written on February 13, 2015 )