This week has ended on a very sad note with the passing of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who died earlier today in Bavaria at age 86.
Anne Midgette has a remembrance of her friend and co-writer Herbert Breslin, who managed Luciano Pavarotti's career for more than 35 years and who died yesterday in Nice. He was "a man who routinely screamed expletives into the telephone before slamming it down, cut various financial corners, and made gleeful use of his star client's fame to manipulate journalists and other artists ... But there was a lot more to Herbert's story than that."
And yesterday, the French pianist France Clidat died at age 79. She won the Liszt Prize in Budapest in 1956. (link in French)
Der Spiegel has the story behind Dietmar Machold, the "Stradivarius man" going on trial this summer in Vienna for embezzlement, bankruptcy fraud and grand commercial fraud, with criminal complaints also coming from the U.S., Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Prosecutors' efforts "have pieced together a picture of a businessman who was probably cash-strapped for years and sold violins he had taken in commission for millions — often failing to pass on the proceeds to the instruments' owners or to banks, allegedly using the money to pay off other debts instead."
Remember that planned partnership between Kid Rock and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra? Well, it happened: "There was a lot of entertainment, energy and even a few moments of enlightenment."
The Sacramento Philharmonic has raised enough cash to sustain itself through at least one more season.
Speaking of cash, the Wall Street Journal has a look at the New York City Opera's current financial standing: "City Opera scheduled only four performances of Orpheus, which seriously limits its income-producing potential. Indeed, this season, only 8% of the company's $15.3 million budget was met through ticket sales. ... By contrast, the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, N.Y., has less than half City Opera's budget, does 40-plus performances of four operas in a 900-seat theater, and last year earned about 34% of its budget in ticket income (42% in earned income when you add in rentals, T-shirts, and the like)."
After the first year of partnering with Carnegie Hall in the "Achievement Program" teaching standards program, the Toronto Conservatory has doubled its enrollment. (Famous alums: Glenn Gould, Jon Vickers, Diana Krall.)
Have you heard about the hot young Venezuelan conductor who's come out of El Sistema? No, it's not Dudamel (for once) — it's 32-year-old Rafael Payare, who has just won the very prestigious Malko Competition for Young Conductors in Copenhagen.
I don't speak Mandarin, but this fight between the (Russian) Oleg Vedernikov, the principal cellist of the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, and a random female passenger on a Shenyang-Beijing train is kind of bananas. Vedernikov has apologized, but in the meantime he's been suspended from the symphony and is awaiting further disciplinary action from his employer.
Here's a completely subjective list of the 10 most musical American presidents. (Me, I would have picked Thomas Jefferson over Warren Harding.) Interesting tidbits gleaned: Jefferson practiced three hours a day! Chester Arthur played the banjo!
And the snarky and yet widely beloved (actually, probably in part widely beloved due to the snark) blog "Proper Discord" blog is back at long last. The not-so anonymous author has revealed himself to be Andy Doe, the former classical buyer for iTunes and until recently the COO of Naxos.
Van-tiques Road Show Results. Last week we mentioned that more than 150 items belonging to piano icon Van Cliburn were up for grabs May 17 at Christie's auction house. The event was a success, bringing in $4.3 million. The top lot of the sale was a pair of George II Giltwood Mirrors, attributed to Matthias Lock, dating from around 1570. The final price was $464,500.
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