The Royal Philharmonic Society has announced two recipients of its Gold Medal this year, Gyorgy Kurtág and András Schiff. Both are Hungarian, making it a proud year for that country's musical circles.
The Liszt Academy music school founded by Franz Liszt, the first piano superstar, recently reopened its main concert hall--refurbished under an ambitious plan to give the 138-year-old institution, and its music study program, a new lease on life.
It has been hailed by some, but castigated by more as a waste of money. The Space is a digital arts initiative jointly launched by the BBC and Arts Council England. And its 2013 pilot projects have met a decidedly mixed reception, but a lack of a coherent overarching vision is a criticism that comes up frequently. New BBC Director-General Lord Tony Hall was thought to not have been too impressed so far. However, he has just announced a new director for The Space, and a relaunch. Few will quibble with his choice of director.
The Philadelphia Orchestra will tour Europe in 2015, says the mayor of Philadelphia. On the face of it, this is well and great but hardly news. In the context of the orchestra's trials over the last decade though, it seems little short of a miracle.
The crowds demanded a statement from Maestro Gergiev. Now, they have one.
It took 158 years to get here, but Les Vêpres Siciliennes, one of the grandest of Verdi's operas, made its Royal Opera debut in London with a production that proved an ideal platform for soloists, ballerinas and choruses.
Despite its age, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (founded in 1946) has always been alert to innovation (and no doubt that attitude has contributed to its longevity). It was the first major U.K. orchestra to launch its own record label--albeit in a smaller way than today's much more common model, popularized by LSO Live--and one of the first to spearhead a really top-notch education program. And now, it's getting into the app market.
"I have no real training, and anybody who's watched me conduct can tell that. But I have a lot of practical experience, and I have a lot of knowledge about the art form. I get results somehow." -- Antonio Pappano
Chinese piano superstar Lang Lang has long been deeply involved with the United Nations as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a role that he is known to take very seriously. Now, though, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has made him a "Messenger of Peace," which is the highest honor of its kind given by the body.
Well, this might be the least surprising news story of the week. As Italian newspapers report, variously, that Riccardo Chailly or Fabio Luisi will be taking over at La Scala, Daniel Barenboim has announced that he will be leaving Italy's preeminent opera house early. He will now be stepping down at the start of 2015.
Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to ordering an acid attack that nearly blinded Sergei Filin, the troupe's artistic director. Yuri Zarutsky, a jobless ex-convict accused of carrying out Dmitrichenko's plot, told the court that he had acted alone.
Distance runner, cruise ship crooner and all-around diva Katharine Jenkins has joined the famous chef Raymond Blanc to launch Martell new cognac's series Very Special Nights. But while she ranks Blanc as part of her ideal all-time dinner party, she fares less well when it comes to his choices.
Vuvuzelas and the ghost of Lajos Kossuth appear, but the Jewish "blood libel" is all but banished in the conductor-composer's long-awaited score.
Here at Classicalite, we get deluged by publicity photos every day. Some are wonderful, most are average. And a small percentage are truly bizarre, in bad taste or downright silly.
If the mounties are known for always getting their man, the same is often decidedly untrue in the murky world of opera house politics. But at La Scala, Italy's premiere house, they have pulled one heck of a triumph out of the hat and, reports Italy's influential Corriere della Sera (no official announcement from Milan yet), persuaded Riccardo Chailly to take up the mantle when Daniel Barenboim leaves.