hide captionMetropolitan Opera general manager Peter Gelb in Tokyo in May 2011.
Yoshikazo Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images
Metropolitan Opera general manager Peter Gelb in Tokyo in May 2011.
Yoshikazo Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images
Hey, did you hear about what went down between the Metropolitan Opera and Opera News this week?
Speaking of bizarre exchanges, remember that Russian-born principal cellist from the Beijing Symphony Orchestra who got into it with a random female passenger on a Chinese train last week? He's been fired, according to a statement published (in Chinese) on the orchestra's website. Shanghaiist has a translation of artistic director Tan Lihua's comments: "The Beijing Symphony Orchestra is an ambassador of advanced culture. All employees, including foreign musicians, need to abide by the laws of the land, traditional moral codes, as well as the orchestra's rules and regulations. Employees should behave in a civilized fashion both on-stage and off-, maintain the manners expected of artists, and consciously safeguard the image and reputation of the Orchestra. We will take additional management precautions to prevent similar incidents from happening again in the future."
Here's a feature from the Wall Street Journal about the rise of the new, post-Communist generation of Czech artists, from the Pavel Haas Quartet to mezzo Magdalena Kožená — and how many of them are not necessarily interested in specializing in the music of their homeland. "And Ms. Kožená — who admits that she is more interested these days in Monteverdi than Zelenka — says that a few solid decades of foreign travel have made Czech musicians perhaps a bit less Czech. 'When everything is open,' she says, 'the repertory can become much broader.'"
This weekend, you can catch the season premiere of HBO's nine-part documentary series YoungArts Masterclass — the first installment features Renée Fleming and four young students at The Juilliard School, whom she puts through their paces by doing things like singing with a pencil between their teeth. (Fun fact: one of the four, Samantha Hankey, went to my high school, the Walnut Hill School for the Arts.)
Glenn Dicterow, the concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, announced yesterday that he will step down from his post at the end of the orchestra's 2013-14 season. He got the job in 1980, when he was 31. Now 63, Dicterow plans to teach at USC's Thornton School of Music and continue his career as a soloist and chamber musician.
Rob Deemer has a good piece on NewMusicBox right now about how little most composers coming out of school know about taking charge of their own careers: "Most composition programs are built along the business model of South Park's underpants gnomes [collect underpants + ? = profit]."
The Philadelphia Orchestra filed its plan for exiting bankruptcy late Wednesday night. As long as the symphony's creditors have no objection and the presiding judge approves the plan, the orchestra expects to be out of bankruptcy by July 31. However, as the board's chairman, Richard B. Worley, observed: "We still have an awful lot of work to do: rebuilding our audience, rebuilding excitement in the community about the Philadelphia Orchestra ... You can't run a major orchestra with 155,000 attendees [annually], with the level of contributions that we've had and the level of endowment we've had."
David Zinman had a lightbulb moment with his 16-year-old son that resulted in the "Tonhalle Late" concerts in Zurich, which start at 10 PM and are followed by dance parties that go until 4 AM. Zinman asked his son, who loved classical music, why he didn't go to concerts. The son replied, "But none of my friends go to concerts." Why not? "Because," said the son, "they don't want to be seen with their parents."