Saturday, September 07, 2013

Some breaking news that's Rattling around...


A report in today's Times [£] suggests that Sir Simon Rattle "is understood to have accepted the job of principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra".

[UPDATE, 11:30: The LSO has responded on Twitter: "Morning all; thanks for all the tweets. We're delighted to have strong artistic projects with Sir Simon Rattle in forthcoming seasons …but as the article says, we have no further comment to make on the speculation that appeared in today's Times!"

So nothing is actually official. But no categoric denials per se... ]

If it is all true, it would be the following:

* Brilliant news for the LSO. Gergiev's name is a draw that would be difficult to follow;

* Brilliant news for London and the UK. Rattle is the most famous British conductor in the world, but has not previously held a London post. For the UK's top orchestra (which the LSO is - sorry, rest of you) to snaffle the UK's top conductor is a major snooker achievement. This sphere is often about timing, contracts, forward planning and, sometimes, a stroke of good fortune.

* Brilliant news for Rattle, we hope. He is much in tune with the British arts scene's pioneering activities in pushing the boundaries of repertoire, outreach, community and education alike, and the LSO, with its beautiful facilities at St Luke's, is perfectly set up for that. One senses that his innovations in Berlin may have been a bit of an uphill struggle at times.

* He has a fine track record of persuading people to do things, including the building of very good concert halls. See Birmingham. Guess what we need in London?

* If it is true, and mentions in The Times and BBC Radio 4 are normally pretty serious, it is much as I predicted in January. Everyone was asking why he was leaving and who the BP might appoint next; I wondered where Rattle could go from there (we didn't yet know that Gergiev was going to step down from the LSO); and by process of elimination.... => http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/classical/features/sir-simon-rattle-and-the-berlin-philarmonic-is-this-great-relationship-ending-on-a-sour-note-8455762.html?origin=internalSearch


Meanwhile, on a much more modest scale...

If you like JDCMB, come to my concert! TOMORROW afternoon we are at the Musical Museum near Kew Bridge, west London.

You could view the museum's collection of musical curiosities, have lunch overlooking the river, then go on to enjoy the show in the Concert Hall. With your concert ticket you can get discounted entry (£3) to the museum, with a guided tour at 1pm. The  museum and cafe are open from 11 a.m.

SUNDAY 8 SEPTEMBER, 3PM
HUNGARIAN DANCES: the concert of the novel
with DAVID LE PAGE - VIOLIN, VIV McLEAN - PIANO, JESSICA DUCHEN - NARRATOR

The HUNGARIAN DANCES concert is great fun and is stuffed full of wonderful Hungarian and Gypsy-influenced repertoire, including Ravel's Tzigane, Bartok's Romanian Dances, gorgeous pieces by Vecsey, Dohnanyi and Kreisler, and much more. And the storytelling aspect of the performance means it's 500% accessible for first-time concert-goers.

* Tickets : BOX OFFICE:  020 8560 8108/HOUBENS BOOKSHOP: 020 8560 8108
or from Yvonne Evans 07889 399 862.

Next up: PenFro Book Festival, Rhosygilwen, Wales, on Thursday 12 September (with David Le Page, violin, & Anthony Hewitt, piano); and Bournemouth Arts Festival, Shelley Theatre, 26 September (with Jack Maguire, violin, and Barbara Henvest, piano). 

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Fanfare for the uncommon woman conductor

Following that rather daft public row about Vassily Petrenko's alleged remarks re women conductors, I thought we'd do something constructive. I spent some of yesterday afternoon tweeting the names and websites of as many women conductors as I could think of. You all wrote in with suggestions and we ended up with a very fine list indeed. Special thanks to my doughty colleague Toby Deller, who also had the good sense to introduce a hashtag. [NB I am still updating the list below - plenty more of them! So please keep tweeting the missing links and keep checking back for our additions...]




A few of the conclusions to draw here are as follows.

1. There are more women conductors than you think. People believe our dear Marin Alsop is the only one. She ain't.

2. They don't often get the important dates that will be reviewed. Some people want to blame us journalists for their lack of recognition, but with concert review space tighter than it has ever been in history, it is usually the "big gigs" that get the attention, and the women conductors - with the exception of Marin and the Last Night of the Proms - are not being given the big gigs.

3. The women conductors I know are heartily sick of being asked why there aren't more women conductors - mostly because there are.They would like, please, recognition first and foremost and, ideally, only for their work as musicians, regardless of gender...

4. [Update, 5 Sept, 13:49] I think that's what's emerging here, as the list steams on with well over 50 names and rising, is that there are plenty of women who are conductors, but one heck of a glass ceiling regarding where they work. [Update, 7 October, 18:49 - the list is now NEARLY 100 strong! Thank you to everybody who has written in to contribute!]

In no particular order, here's the march of the women.

Zoi Tsokanou.
Was in Gustav Mahler Bamberg competition this year & Haitink masterclasses in Lucerne.

Monica Buckland Hofstetter
British-Swiss, formerly in charge of conducting chorus & orchestra at the University of Dresden, now based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Jessica Cottis
Young Australian-British conductor whose name came up more often in suggestions on Twitter yesterday than anyone else's.

Anu Tali
Estonian suprema, music director of Sarasota Orchestra & Nordic Symphony Orchestra.

Julia Jones: http://www.rayfieldallied.com/artists/julia-jones/
Admired Brit, extremely well recognised in Germany, did Cosi at Covent Garden not so long ago.

Xian Zhang.
I have loved the performances of hers that I've heard at ENO.

Simone Young
Extremely well-established, has been chief conductor at the Hamburg Opera (just leaving now).

Eve Queler
New York-based operatic expert.

JoAnn Falletta
Music director of the Ulster Orchestra.

Suzi Digby http://www.suzidigby.com/
That ultimate mover and shaker of choirs and galvaniser of community and youth music.

Nia Llewellyn Jones @niallewellynj
Young conductor fresh out of Cambridge, being nurtured by CBSO.

Jane Glover:
Arch-Mozartian and author.

Sian Edwards
She is head of conducting at the Royal Academy of Music.

Susanna Mälkki  
Much-admired principal conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic and principal guest conductor of Los Angeles Philharmonic. 

Alondra de la Parra  
Among much else, an official cultural ambassador for Mexican tourism.

Emmanuelle Haim  
Extraordinary Baroque specialist from France.

Kelly Lovelady
From Australia, with an unforgettable name.

Odaline de la Martinez
Founder of Lontano.

Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla http://www.cami.com/?webid=2551
Music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Kristiina Poska
Prizewinning Estonian who's been rising fast, not least via the Komische Oper, Berlin

Ewa Strusinska  
Spent some time with the Halle and now works internationally from Poland 

Jeanne Lamon  
Baroque marvel, head of Tafelmusik

Sarah Ioannides  
Born in Australia, grew up in the UK, now based in the US.

Tania Miller http://www.hughkaylor.com/Miller-Tania-Bio.html
 Music director of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Canada

Claire Gibault
Both conductor and MEP!

Barbara Hannigan http://www.barbarahannigan.com/
This extraordinary soprano, star of Benjamin's Written on Skin, is also a conductor.

Gemma New http://www.gemmanew.com/
Assistant conductor at New Jersey SO

Rebecca Miller http://www.rebeccamiller.net/
London-based US conductor

Alice Farnham http://www.alicefarnham.com/
Music director of Welsh National Youth Opera for Paul Bunyan this year

Akiko Ohtomo http://hokusaiorchestra.com/test/prof.html
Director of the Hokusai Orchestra (formed in 2010)

Anne Manson http://www.annemanson.com/
Among much else, she was the first woman to conduct at the Salzburg Festival

Yip Wing-Sie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yip_Wing-sie
Music director of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta

Sybille Werner http://www.ljova.com/sybille.htm
Mahler authority

Alicja Mounk http://www.dirigentinnen.de/1mounk.htm
A long and distinguished career

Holly Mathieson http://www.hollymathieson.com/
Young New Zealander, based in Berlin

Monique Krus http://401nederlandseoperas.nl/en/componisten/208-monique-krues.html
Dutch conductor, composer and soprano (site above doesn't mention the conducting, but she is recommended by a friend who saw her conduct last week)

Laurence Equilbey http://www.laurenceequilbey.com/
Fine French maestra, especially noted for opera. Another one for the appropriate-names department.

Jennifer Condon http://www.owlsnestopera.com.au/?page_id=6
Music director of the wonderfully-titled Owl's Nest Opera in Austalia

Karen Kamensek http://www.lewin-management.com/artists/18_Karen+Kamensek/englishbio
Music director of Staatstheater Hannover

Carolyn Watson http://www.carolyn-watson.com/biog.html
Orchestra director, Interlochen Arts Academy

Han-Na Chang http://www.harrisonparrott.com/artist/profile/han-na-chang
She's the most fabulous cellist and now she's become a conductor!

Mei-Anne Chen http://meiannchen.com/
Music director of Chicago Sinfonietta and Memphis Symphony

Joana Carneiro http://imgartists.com/artist/joana_carneiro
Music director, Berkeley Symphony

Amy Bebbington http://www.amybebbington.co.uk/4.html
Choral specialist

Laura Jackson http://www.laurajackson.net/web/home.aspx
Music director, Reno Philharmonic

Halldis Rønning http://www.harmonien.no/default.aspx?pageId=33
Assistant conductor, Bergen Philharmonic

Carolyn Kuan http://www.hartfordsymphony.org/about/music-director/
Music director, Hartford Symphony

Matilda Hofman http://www.esm.rochester.edu/iml/spotlight/spotlight_may_2008_hoffman.php
Music director, Diablo Symphony, California

Nicolette Fraillon http://www.australianballet.com.au/about_us/artistic_staff/nicolette_fraillon
Music director & chief conductor of Australian Ballet

Sarah Grace Williams http://www.sarahgracewilliams.com/
Chief conductor & artistic director, The Metropolitan Orchestra, Sydney

Speranza Scappucci http://www.icartists.co.uk/artists/speranza-scappucci
Is opening the forthcoming Scottish Opera season with Don Giovanni

Susan Hollingworth http://www.sinenom.com/bio.html
Conductor of Sine Nomine Choir and much more

Sarah Baldock http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Baldock
Master of the choristers & organist at Chichester Cathedral. One of the first women ever to be appointed at one.

Katherine Dienes-Williams http://www.katherinedienes.com/KD/Welcome.html
Master of the choristers & organist at Guildford Cathedral (see above)

Sarah Macdonald http://www.sel.cam.ac.uk/chapel/People/
Director of Music in Chapel, Selwyn College, Cambridge.

Kim Diehnelt http://www.kimdiehnelt.com/
Music director & chief conductor, Northwest Symphony Orchestra, US

Jeri Lynne Johnson http://www.jerilynnejohnson.com/web/home.aspx
Founder & conductor, Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, US

Isabelle Ruf-Weber http://www.dirigentinnen.de/1rufwe.htm
German conductor based in Baden-Wurttemberg

Sinead Hayes http://www.sineadhayes.com/
Young Irish conductor who opened the RTE Concert Orchestra's summer lunchtime concert series.

Roberta Peroni http://www.linkedin.com/pub/roberta-peroni/28/44b/58a 
Conductor & chorus manager in Bari, Italy.

Talia Ilan http://www.taliailan.com/bio.aspx
Music director of the Israel Stage Orchestra & guest conductor with many Israeli orchestras.

Ewa Michnik http://www.opera.wroclaw.pl/1/index.php?lang=_pl&page=4&perf_id=1
Director, Opera Wroclaw, Poland.

Eun Sun Kim http://www.lewin-management.com/artists/19_Eun+Sun+Kim/englishbio
Is conducting Die Fledermaus at ENO this season.

Maja Matelska http://majametelska.com/en/
Polish conductor, has scooped quite a few competition prizes.

Marzena Diakun http://diakun.com/en/biography/
Polish, winner of 2nd prize in last year's Fitelberg Competition, and highly recommended by one of my colleagues who's in the know.

Gisele Ben-Dor http://www.giseleben-dor.com/
Israeli conductor laureate of Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra

Victoria Bond http://victoriabond.com/
American composer and conductor. Her website says she has been staying in the guest flat at Brahms's house near Baden-Baden (this has long been my own aspiration!) and writing an opera about Clara Schumann.

Rei Hotada http://reihotoda.com
Has been assistant conductor at the Dallas Symphony and has been making important debuts around the US & Canada this season.

Sarah Hicks http://sarahhicksconductor.com/web/bio.aspx
Staff conductor at the Curtis Institute, Philadelphia, among much else.

Anna Skryleva http://www.annaskryleva.com/annaskryleva/Home.html
Russian, has been working in some fine German opera houses including Karlsruhe & Hamburg

Tara Simoncic http://www.greenwichsymphony.org/tara-simoncic-associate-conductor
Young American conductor, has been featured in the Guardian

Amelia LeClair http://www.brandeis.edu/wsrc/scholars/profiles/leclair.html
Scholar and early music choral conductor, based at Brandeis University

Nicole Paiement http://music.ucsc.edu/faculty/nicole-paiement
Director of Ensembles, University of California Santa Cruz.

Rosemary Thomson http://okanagansymphony.com/about/music-director/2997/
Music director, Okanagan Symphony.

Dalia Atlas http://www.dalia-atlas.com/Biography.html
From Haifa. Has recorded a lot of Bloch.

Graziella Contratto http://www.graziellacontratto.com/
Swiss conductor with a fine track record.

Jessica Gethin http://perthsymphony.com/2012/09/20/perth-symphony-orchestra/
Principal conductor of the Perth Symphony Orchestra, Australia

Carolin Nordmeyer http://www.theater-augsburg.de/content.php?backlink=L2NvbnRlbnQucGhwP25hdj0zNCZzdWI9MzYmL011c2lrdGhlYXRlci9FbnNlbWJsZS5odG1s&sel=1&mitID=240
Theater Augsburg, Germany

Alissa Firsova http://alissafirsova.com/
Multi-talented composer, conductor and pianist. Daughter of the composers Dimitri Smirnov and Elena Firsova.

Nathalie Stutzmann http://www.nathaliestutzmann.com/
The noted French mezzo-soprano is conducting as well. 

Andrea Quinn http://www.andreaquinn.com/
British conductor, now based in the US. Was chief conductor at New York City Ballet, then at Norrlands Operan, Sweden.

Anne Marie Granau http://www.linkedin.com/in/annemariegranau
Chorus master at Royal Danish Opera, Copenhagen

Silvia Sanz Torre http://www.silviasanz.com/silviasanz/index.php
Spanish conductor - intrigued to see she has conducted rare Albeniz opera The Magic Opal.

Kate Tamarkin http://www.ktamarkin.com/ktprofile.htm
Music director, Charlottesville and Univesity Symphony Orchestra, Charlottesville, US

Natalia Luis-Bassa http://www.natalialuisbassa.blogspot.co.uk/
Venezuelan conductor in the UK. Hit headlines a few years ago by walking out on the Huddersfield Philharmonic due to interpersonal problems with players being "disrespectful". Was a mentor in BBC's Maestro series. Teaches at RCM.

Sarah Tenant-Flowers http://www.tenantflowers.co.uk/
Choral conductor, UK, teacher, animateur - and also a mentor on Maestro.

Elizabeth Schulze http://www.flagstaffsymphony.org/about_conductor.php
Music director, Flagstaff and Maryland Symphony Orchestras, US

Sandra Horst http://www.music.utoronto.ca/faculty/faculty_members/faculty_a_to_m/Sandra_Horst.htm
Chorus master of Canadian Opera

Grete Pedersen http://solistkoret.no/en/artistic-leader/
Artistic leader, Norwegian Soloists Choir

Mary Chun http://www.earplay.org/index.php/music-makers/mary-chun-conductor-bio/
In demand in contemporary music and opera, US. Premiered Adams's I was looking at the ceiling...

Sara Jobin http://www.hughkaylor.com/jobin-sara-bio.html
Artistic director, Centre for Contemporary Opera, New York.

Renee Baker http://www.chicagomodernorchestraproject.org/artistic-director/
Music director, Chicaco Modern Orchestra Project

Beatrice Jona Affron http://www.paballet.org/pennsylvania-ballet-orchestra
Music director and conductor, Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra

Natalia Salinas http://www.linkedin.com/in/salinasnatalia/en
Conductor based in her native Argentina

Ann Krinitsky http://annkrinitsky.com/Bio.html
Director, Marin Symphony Youth Performance Programmes, etc - based in the Bay Area.

Karina Canellakis http://www.karinacanellakis.com/Site/Karina_Canellakis_conductor_violinist_BIOGRAPHY.html
Winner, 2013 Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship (founded by Marin Alsop)

Sebrina Maria Alfonso http://southfloridasymphony.org/about-the-conductor/
Music director, South Florida Symphony

Diane Wittry http://www.dianewittry.com/index.html
Music director, Allentown Symphony  

Denise Ham http://www.denisehamconducting.com/
Sought-after teacher of conducting in the UK

Sharon Choa http://sharonchoa.co.uk/
Artistic director & principal conductor, Chamber Orchestra Anglia, which she founded in 2001

Rachael Young http://rachaelyoung.eu/
Has been assistant conductor to Paavo Jarvi & Leonid Grin, will Russian Virtuosi of Europe at Cadogan Hall in June 14.


Kayoko Dan http://chattanoogasymphony.org/artists/kayoko-dan/
Music director, Chattanooga Symphony & Opera 

Apo Hsu http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apo_Hsu
Assistant conductor of Oregon Symphony under James de Priest

Joana Mallwitz http://www.artistainternational.com/en/conductor/joanamallwitz/index.php
Is conducting Das Rheingold in Macau in October 2013 and has been doing more Wagner in Riga.

Yuri Nitta http://www.yuri-muusikko.com/e-profile.htm
Tokyo-born Nordic music specialist

Keiko Mitsuhashi http://www.concert.co.jp/en/artist/keiko_mitsuhashi/
2nd prize & audience prize in 2010 International Conducting Competition 'Arturo Toscanini'; 1st prize in 2008 Antonio Pedrotti Conducting Competition. 

Kanako Abe http://www.kanakoabe.com/about.html
Born in Osaka, now based in Paris. Co-founder & music director of Ensemble Multilatérale

Yoko Matsuo *Link needed, please send if you have one!*
Pioneer of women conductors in Japan and first woman to win the Besançon competition in 1982. 

Lindsay Ryan http://www.harmonysinfonia.co.uk/conductor.php
London-based conductor, founder in 2009 of Harmony Sinfonia  

Heather MacLaughlin Garbes http://www.heathermaclaughlin.com/
Lives in Seattle, works with Baltic Studies Department/Baltic Choral Library at the University of Washington
 
Zheng Xiaoying http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/company/conductors/zheng_ziaoying/
Principal conductor of the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra and artistic director of her own Opera Centre.

Shi-Yeon Sung http://shiyeonsung.com/biography/
Winner of 2006 Sir Georg Solti International Conductors Competition.

Keri-Lynn Wilson http://imgartists.com/artist/keri_lynn_wilson
Canadian-born conductor, currently music director of Slovenian Philharmonic. Triumphant London debut at ENO for The Girl of the Golden West.

Susanne Riddell http://www.wessexyo.com/home/cwym-staff
Cellist, teacher and conductor of the Wessex Youth Orchestra, Poole, with further plans in the offing.

Janet Wheeler http://www.janetwheeler.co.uk
Choral conductor and composer

Catherine Winnes http://www.cathrinewinnes.com/about/
Norwegian orchestral conductor, artistic director and chief conductor of Swedish Wind Ensemble

Kerstin Nerbe https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerstin_Nerbehttps://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerstin_Nerbe
Senior Swedish conductor who made her name long before the rest

Cecilia Rydiner Alin https://www.kmh.se/backstage/om-backstage/nyhetsarkiv/nyhetsarkiv/2017-11-29-cecilia-rydinger-alin-ater-som-rektor.html
Rector of KMH - the Royal Conservatory, Stockholm

Rachel Worby http://muse-ique.com/worby.php
Artistic director, conductor and founder of MUSE/IQUE, Virginia

Maria Badstue http://www.mariabadstue.com
Danish conductor, former pupil of Jorma Panula

Inma Shara https://inmashara.com/en/home/
Spanish conductor with fine track record and particular name for supporting charities

Jasmina Novoknet http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Jasmina_Novokmet
Serbian conductor and professor

Tomomi Nashimoto http://www.tomomi-n.com/en/profile/
Principal conductor and artistic director of IlluminArt Philharmonic Orchestra, Japan

Simone Menezes http://www.simonemenezes.com
Young Brazilian conductor, involved with the Villa Lobos Project

Tania Léon http://www.tanialeon.com
Cuban composer and conductor

Thea Kano http://www.nycmasterchorale.org/about-nycmc/artistic-staff/
Artistic director of New York City Master Chorale

Huan Jing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huan_Jing
Resident conductor of Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra

Maria Guinand https://www.laphil.com/philpedia/maria-guinand
Artistic director of Schola Cantorum de Venezuela

Gabriella Teychenné http://equilibrium-youngartists.com/eq-is-everywhere-gabriella-teychenne/
Young British conductor of Argentinian background, currently (2018) assisting Barbara Hannigan

Hortense von Gelmini https://www.hortense-von-gelmini.com
Austrian conductor and painter

Michi Gaigg http://www.lorfeo.com/en/michi-gaigg/
Award-winning baroque violinist and conductor

Valéria Csányi https://www.naxos.com/person/Valeria_Csanyi/36161.htm
Hungarian conductor who has recorded some fascinating Hungarian repertoire for Naxos

Linda Bouchard http://lindabouchard.com
Canadian composer and conductor

Karen Gorden http://www.karengorden.com
Principal guest conductor of Bingen Festival Orchestra, Germany



SO, ARE YOU STILL GOING TO ASK WHY THERE ARE NO WOMEN CONDUCTORS?
Didn't think so. Ask instead why we do not hear them more often. 

(Oh, and please, please, please stop throwing mud at Petrenko. Enough, already. Let's get some sense of proportion into this - many worse things are going on around us than that, and the chances are that he was joking/misquoted/manipulated for sensationalisation purposes, probably all three.)





Wednesday, September 04, 2013

A little celebration of insomnia?

Er, no, it's Nessun dorma ("None shall sleep"). Known affectionately among some aficionados as Nissan Dormer. Here is my little celebration of Puccini's last stand, to kick off Turandot at the Royal Opera House (opens Monday).

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/classical/features/a-spellbinding-soundtrack-to-love-life-and-loss-8797000.html

And here, to prove the points, are a few samples of what's happened to the thing over the years.

1990 World Cup Grandstand (those were the days...)


Jackie Evancho (oh help)


And if you watched that, you've earned the real thing: Joseph Calleja at the Last Night of the Proms last year:

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Meet the new New Generations

Very fine line-up for the BBC New Generation Artists' latest intake, announced yesterday evening. For 15 years BBC Radio 3 has been busy nurturing selected stars of the future on this scheme and they've often proved astute choices. Among those who've graced its portals are Benjamin Grosvenor, Alison Balsom, the Belcea String Quartet, Simon Trpceski, Khatia Buniatishvili and many more. The young musicians - already the bearers of fine track records - stay on the scheme for two years, during which time their concerts and broadcasts are very much in the spotlight. Here's the new bunch:


Danish String Quartet – String Quartet (Denmark)
In 2009 the Danish String Quartet not only won First Prize in the Eleventh London International String Quartet Competition, but their performance was so convincing that it was awarded four additional prizes: the 20th Century Prize, the Beethoven Prize, the Sidney Griller Award and the Menton Festival Prize. In January 2012 the quartet were appointed to the prestigious Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two programme beginning with the 2013-2014 season.  
(I've heard these guys, and they are terrific.)

Kitty Whately – Mezzo Soprano (UK) (pictured right)
Kitty Whately studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the Royal College of Music International Opera School. Kitty was the winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award 2011 and the 59th Royal Overseas League Award for Singers, and in 2012 she was chosen to be a member of the prestigious Verbier Festival Academy in 2012. 
(Have been hearing rumbles about how excellent Kitty is for quite a while)

Olena Tokar - Soprano (Ukraine)
Soprano Olena Tokar was a finalist in the 2013 Cardiff Singer of the World competition. In 2012 she was awarded 1st Prizes both at the Lortzing Competition in Leipzig and at the renowned ARD International Music Competition in Munich. 
(Olena gave a wonderful performance in the Cardiff final and was a hot favourite for the prize.)

Lise Berthaud - Viola (France)
Lise Berthaud was a prize winner of the European Young Instrumentalists Competition in 2000 and won the Hindemith Prize at the Geneva International Competition in 2005. In 2009 she was short listed by the Victoires de la Musique Classique as “Révélation de l’Année” (Newcomer of the Year). 
(Hooray! A violist! Looking forward to hearing her.)

Louis Schwitzgebel – Piano (Switzerland) (pictured left)
Pianist Louis Schwitzgebel secured 2nd prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition, where his performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Hallé Orchestra under Sir Mark Elder in the final round was broadcast live on BBC Four and BBC Radio 3. At the age of 17 he was the winner of the Geneva International Music Competition.
(We loved his performance in the Leeds final and are delighted to hear he's been picked here.)

Zhang Zuo - Piano (China)
Zhang Zuo has garnered a host of awards, including first prizes at the 3rd Shanghai International Piano Competition, the 7th International Franz Liszt Piano Competition, and a ‘Vendome Virtuoso’ award from Vendome Prize competition. In 2013 she won 5th prize at the 2013 Queen Elisabeth International Piano Competition. (Fine track record, that: again, looking forward greatly to hearing her.)

Monday, September 02, 2013

Nice work

Been here, reviewing.


As locations for music festivals go, it really ain't bad. This is Lake Lucerne, snapped from the shore at the bottom of Wagner's lawn at Tribschen. I spent a happy afternoon there, working on the revision of my new play Sins of the Fathers, which is set...um, at Tribschen. Pure coincidence, but nice. (The premiere, 24 November, is selling fast...)

I was really there to attend two concerts in the Lucerne Festival, one conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, the other by Jonathan Nott. Somewhat amused to see the heading "Viva la revolucion!" on the programmes. In Spanish. One concert was of Viennese and Russian music, the other was Wagner's Das Rheingold (part of Lucerne's first-ever Ring cycle). Few festivals have a less revolutionary atmosphere - the glorious lakeside and the wonderful acoustic of the KKL are populated by the sleek and meek of the moneyed festival circuit - but nevertheless, the programming is absolutely sterling and below the gleaming surface the waters are deep and fertile, especially where the Festival Academy is concerned. My review is out now in the Independent, here: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/classical/reviews/classical-review-british-conductors-bring-the-sounds-of-revolution-to-the-lucerne-festival-8794619.html