Monday, May 29, 2017
Amid a negligible classical response , the chairman of Universal Music Group, Lucian Grainge, has written to all employees. UMG lost three employees in the Paris Bataclan bombing . Here’s what Sir Lucian writes: Dear Colleagues, Once again, we try to make sense of a senseless act of violence. Today, our emotions are raw. We are deeply saddened by the awful events last night in Manchester. We extend our thoughts and prayers to all of those affected. And we grieve for all of those lost there, offering our deepest condolences to their families and loved ones. We can report that no UMG employees were injured in the attack, and that Ariana Grande and her crew are safe. That said, the fact that such an unspeakable act can be committed at a place where innocent people – including so many young people – come together peacefully to enjoy music reflects a level of evil beyond comprehension. This hits home for us as a music company—because so many of us, myself included, spend so much time out seeing our artists perform, let alone attending concerts as fans. That’s why we’ve chosen music as our career—or rather music has chosen us. Your safety and security is absolutely paramount to us. I want you to know that if, for any reason, you ever have any questions or concerns, we want you to reach out so we can resolve it. Our Security team and Human Resources staff stand ready to assist you. Please take advantage of all they have to offer. Today is a day of remembrance, a day to pause and reflect, with thoughts for yesterday’s tragedy. Thank you, as always, for everything you do. Lucian Happier days: Lucian signs Lang Lang
Osmo Vänskä conducts the Symphony Orchestra of the Curtis Institute of MusicOn Friday May 26th, Osmo Vänskä conducts the Symphony Orchestra of the Curtis Institute at Cadogan Hall, London. (Read more HERE, tickets still available ). T|he Curtis Institute of Music is one of the top music academies in the United States, with an extremely impressive track record : scholarship-based, it is open to all with talent. Please read HERE how José Serebrier, aged 17, went to Curtis and met Leopold Stokowski. Matthew Rose, photo: Lena KernMatthew Rose, now one of the top basses in the industry, studied there at the beginning of his career. He says "It's an event I highly recommend you to attend. As in, this is one of the greatest concerts you could hear all year. 'But what is this Curtis Institute?' I hear you cry! Well, it's probably the greatest music college on the planet. The place that probably trains more of the solo pianists, violinists, orchestral concert masters, principal clarinettists, Met Opera singers, composers, and conductors than any other institution in the world. From my time studying there alone, Lang Lang, Yuya Wang, and Jonathan Biss are at the forefront of pianists; the concert masters of Vienna Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, Met Opera Orchestra, Minneapolis Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony and soloists with every reputed orchestra. Juan Diego Florez is the most famous of the swaths of singers who have trained there; Leonard Bernstein, Samuel Barber, Lukas Foss, Jennifer Higdon and some of the most adorned composers etc etc etc . It is an amazing place." Founded by Mary Louise Curtis Bok in 1924, on the advice of Leopold Stokowski, Curtis was formed to train the exceptional, exceptionally. A music school of 170 students, only enough instrumentalists for a full seating of a Symphony Orchestra, 25 singers, undergraduate and graduate, whom train and perform 5 fully staged operas a year and a handful of pianists, composers, organists and conductors. A place where tuition is aimed at people reaching their own (world leading) potential in technical ability through the best teaching and then having the chance to utilize that in limitless performance opportunities, be it individually, orchestrally with the world's best conductors or in chamber music and opera. So one might ask "why have I never heard of this Curtis then?" Rose adds "Curtis has existed only to train the exceptional exceptionally and hasn't had, until recently, an agenda to do anything else but that. A recent gift of $55 million from out-going chairman of the board Nina Von Maltzahn to specifically spread the word of Curtis and allow tours like this present one to happen has changed that". Curtis was initially housed in adjoining mansions on Rittenhouse Square, the sparkling jewel of Philadelphia's urban spaces. In 2011 a new Lenfest Hall more than doubled the footprint of the school, housing a world class orchestral rehearsal space, teaching rooms and all the amenities needed for youngsters embarking on the most demanding of professions. "It is a remarkable place", says Rose, with enthusiasm. "I had the extreme fortune of attending Curtis from 1998 until 2003. I arrived as a complete novice with barely the ability to sing an octave and left experienced enough to join the Young Artists Programme at The Royal Opera, feeling completely ready, through my amazing education, to at least stand in the shadows of the world's great singers on that most amazing stage. My education was as thorough and comprehensive as I could ever imagine; singing lessons every week in New York with the best teacher I could choose (no faculty for voice, just limitless options), language and musical coaching with top professionals on a daily basis, singing roles in 21 operas, weekly visits to the Met, Carnegie Hall, and best of all, a free ticket to hear the fabulous Philadelphia Orchestra every Saturday evening. I went from someone who had barely been to a symphony orchestra concert, to someone ready to sing with those orchestras in five years. I feel so privileged to have had all this, and do you know what, it was all for free. Mrs Curtis Bok's initial endowment has grown and been supplemented by time, enthusiasm and massively generous and deserving support and philanthropy" What a recommendation. For a very special experience, try and get to the Cadogan Hall, London on Friday this week. On stage will be 100 of the finest musicians you will ever hear, and the average age will probably be 20. 20 year olds playing with ability and commitment rarely heard. "Curtis really is amazing", says Rose, who knows what he's talking about !
After a week of media silence over his agency switch, the Chinese pianist has issued this statement: Jean-Jacques Cesbron and CAMI music have been my manager for over ten years and will continue into the future. The reported news of this changing is untrue. CAMI music and I are excited to have CAA assist us in exploring opportunities in new areas.
It is reported that the Chinese pianist has signed with CAA, the Los Angeles talent and sports agency, ‘in all areas’. This will include ‘his touring, soundtracks, digital content, endorsements, personal appearances and philanthropy.’ That’s a huge move for a classical artist. Subject to confirmation, it means that Lang Lang has parted company with Cami Music and its boss, Jean-Jacques Cesbron, who has directed his career from the outset. Earlier this year, Cesbron lost the influential Chinese conductor Long Yu , who is Lang Lang’s close collaborator. The move will also mean that Lang Lang is hungry for an even bigger slice of the celebrity lifestyle. Lang Lang with Cesbron (r.)
The yellow label today signed Valérie Gross, sometimes known as the human face of Sony Classical. Based in Berlin, Valérie has been Vice President A&R Sony Classical International, which meant that she exec-produced such artists as Jonas Kaufmann, Vittorio Grigolo and Lang Lang (who has since gone back to DG). At DG, Valérie will be A&R Director Vocal & Opera Productions, starting immediately, which is unusual. It appears her relations with Sony are now non-existent.
A review in OperaWien counts off the number of singers making their role debuts in Vienna’s Siegfried revival, some of them late replacements for missing stars. Stefan Vinke sang his first Vienna Siegfried. Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke made his debut as Mime. Tomasz Konieczny stood in for Sir Bryn Terfel as Wanderer. And this was Petra Lang’s first Siegfried-Brünnhilde in Vienna. Some of the small roles were also first-timers. Nobody seemed to mind. The show was sold out.