Classical Music Daily usually publishes a monthly newletter, normally on the first day of each month. Hilary Tann, our March 2023 offering, has just been published. This PDF can be accessed by following the link below.
On 23 March 2023, young German conductor Nicolò Umberto Foron won the 2023 Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition in London, winning the cash prize of £15,000 and the opportunity to become assistant conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra for up to a year.
On 15 March 2023, Universal Music Group (UMG) announced the acquisition of British record label Hyperion Records Ltd. Founded in 1980, Hyperion will join UMG's portfolio of classical labels, including Deutsche Grammophon (founded in 1898) and Decca Classics (established in 1929). Hyperion Records will remain a stand-alone recording label alongside Decca Classics and Mercury KX within Universal Music UK.
Founded by the late Ted Perry, Hyperion has been managed by his son Simon for over twenty years, who remains Managing Director. The label is home to many recording artists including Marc-André Hamelin, Angela Hewitt, Stephen Hough, Alina Ibragimova, Steven Isserlis, Emma Kirkby, Steven Osborne and the Takács Quartet, and has released nearly 2,500 recordings during its forty-three years.
Composer and Classical Music Daily contributor Paul Sarcich writes:
The decision to axe the BBC Singers and cut BBC orchestras in England by 20% should be scrapped. At a time when music education is at a very low ebb, and the Arts Council have weakened, not strengthened, so many arts bodies including musical ones, the last thing the BBC needs to do is further diminish national musical resources.
Why is this important?
Britain is a very choral and orchestral country: vast numbers of people participate every week in choirs, orchestras and bands. The presence of top professional ensembles gives a lead to people's activities, as well as providing listening pleasure, and growing a knowledge and love of music throughout people's lives. Anyone who understands this will feel the losses the BBC proposes.
Announced in March 2023, the BBC is trying to make these cuts because its funding is being cut by the UK Government. This action has been described as 'cultural vandalism', 'devastating' and 'painful'. Please sign Paul's petition here:
(Update: On 24 March 2023 the BBC has temporarily paused its decision to close down the BBC Singers, whilst new funding models are explored. The 20% reduction in roles in the BBC's orchestras in England is still to go ahead, however.)
In October 2022, it was announced that Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša would become the next music director of London's Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Laurence Lewis recently interviewed Hrůša in London for one of Lewis' Czech Music Direct podcast shows. Listen to the Jakub Hrůša interview.
Grace Williams, generally regarded as Wales' most notable female composer, and the first British woman to score a feature film, studied music under Ralph Vaughan Williams at the Royal College of Music in London, UK. She was evacuated to Grantham, Lincolnshire during the second world war, from where she published her most popular work, Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes, in 1940. It is performed by orchestras around the world. It was modelled on Henry Wood's Fantasia on British Sea Songs or the fantasias on folk tunes by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
William Jones, now playing alto sax with the Chalfont Concert Wind Band in Buckinghamshire, UK, played in the brass section of its first recording on the 1969 Music For Pleasure, 12" vinyl LP, National Youth Orchestra of Wales recording of the Fantasia. Stimulated by the boredom of the COVID19 pandemic, he wondered whether the Fantasia could be arranged for a concert wind band and embarked on a journey which culminates with a world premiere of the first arrangement of the Fantasia for a concert symphonic wind band at Chalfont Concert Wind Band's spring concert: Musical Tour of the British Isles, 7:30pm, Saturday 1 April 2023 at The Hub, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, SL9 9RF, UK. More information here.
Coming on 11 March 2023 at 19:00 to the Renee Weiler Concert Hall at Greenwich House Music School, 46 Barrow Street in Manhattan, New York, USA, Lower East Side Performing Arts presents Songs and Vocal Works by American Composers.
Works to be performed include Elodie Lauten's The Five-Petal Proportion (from Two Cents Opera) for flute, voice and electronic recording, the first performance of Beth Anderson's Various for solo flute, Mantra by Jim Theobald for flute, voice and piano, John Cage's A Flower for voice and piano and Frank Wigglesworth's Five Songs of Robert Frost.
The programme will also include songs by Charles Ives for voice and piano: Ann Street (words by Maurice Morris, courtesy of 'the New York Herald'), The Cage, The Side Show, The Things Our Fathers Loved (and the greatest of these was Liberty), The Childrens' Hour (words by Longfellow) and He is There! for voice, piano & piccolo.
The performers will be Andrew Bolotowsky, flute, Elizabeth Rodgers, piano and Mary Hurlbut, voice.
The concert is free and open to the public. Proof of vaccination is required upon entry. Masks are strongly encouraged but not required. For more information, call Greenwich House Music School at +1 212-242-4770.
Here are brief details of some of the people lost to the classical music world during February 2023. May they rest in peace.
British choirmaster, harpsichordist, organist and teacher David Lumsden died on 25 February, aged ninety-four. Born in Newcastle on 19 March 1928, he studied music at Cambridge University with Boris Ord and Thurston Dart. He took a series of appointments as church organist, then became an academic. He was director of music at Keele University (1958-59), professor of harmony at the Royal Academy of Music (1959-61), principal of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (1976-82) and principal of the Royal Academy of Music in London (1982-1993). He founded and conducted the Nottingham Bach Society, and conducted the Oxford Harmonic Society, the Oxford Sinfonia and the BBC Scottish Singers.
German opera singer and schlager Tony Marshall died on 16 February, aged eighty-five, in Baden-Baden, where he was born on 3 February 1938. He studied singing in Karlsruhe, training as an opera singer, but instead had a hit single, Schöne Maid, in 1971, also released in an English language version, and continued along that path.
Romanian composer Nicolae Brânduş died in Bucharest on 15 February, aged eighty-seven.
Austrian composer, conductor and teacher Friedrich Cerha died on 14 February, aged ninety-six in Vienna, where he was born on 17 February 1926. He began to play the violin at six, and started composing when he was eight. After an eventful time in World War II, being conscripted as a child soldier, working in the resistance, deserting (twice) and hiding in the mountains, he was able to study at the Vienna Music Academy and at the University of Vienna. He's best known for completing Alban Berg's Lulu, but also wrote several operas of his own, and founded the ensemble Die Reihe which helped to spread contemporary music in Austria.
French composer and musicologist Thierry Alla died in Fronsac on 13 February, aged sixty-seven. Born in Algiers on 24 March 1955, he studied with Jean-Michel Vaccaro at the University of Tours, and then at the Bordeaux Conservatoire and at the University of Rouen Normandy. He studied the music of Tristan Murail and later published articles on spectral music.
American tuba soloist, conductor, brass teacher and writer Roger Bobo died on 12 February, aged eighty-four, in Oaxaca, Mexico. Born in Los Angeles on 8 June 1938, he enjoyed a varied life and career, which included being the dedicatee of Alexander Arutiunian's Tuba Concerto and being the subject of John Updike's poem Recital. Bobo wrote the book Mastering the Tuba and recorded extensively. In 2001 he retired from performing to devote his time to conducting and teaching, and in these capacities he worked in England, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Japan and Mexico.
Canadian composer, conductor, organist and teacher Ben Steinberg died on 10 February, aged ninety-three. He was born to Jewish parents in Winnipeg on 22 January 1930 - his father was the cantor and conductor Alexander Steinberg. Ben Steinberg is known best for his contributions to Jewish music - he composed several sacred services. His method for youth choirs, Together Do They Sing, was commissioned and published by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in 1961.
Welsh composer and teacher Hilary Tann died suddenly on 8 February, aged seventy-five.
German opera and theatre director, theatre manager and teacher Jürgen Flimm died in Hamelwörden on 4 February, aged eighty-one. Born in Gießen on 17 July 1941, he grew up in Cologne, where he studied drama theory, literature and sociology at Cologne University. He worked in a series of theatres, and directed his first opera, Nono's Al gran sole carico d'amore at Oper Frankfurt in 1978, going on to direct operas at major venues worldwide.
British classical music writer, editor and critic Matthew C Rye died suddenly in Madeira on 2 February, aged sixty. He was respected for his writing and editing work across many different publications. His books include chapters in The Rough Guide to Classical Music on CD (1994) and The Blackwell History of Music in Britain (1995) and he was general editor of 1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die (Cassell Illustrated, 2007). He is the author of a series of eBooks, Masterpieces of Music, with titles on Bach's Mass in B minor, Beethoven's Eroica Symphony and Brahms' First Piano Concerto.
German conductor Caspar Richter died on 2 February, aged seventy-eight. Born on 16 September 1944, he was chief conductor of Vereinigte Bühnen Wien for nearly a quarter of a century.
Canadian bassoonist and concert organiser George Benedict Zukerman died on 1 February, aged ninety-five. Born in London, England on 22 February 1927, he was the dedicatee of Colin Brumby's bassoon concerto and was founder and artistic director (1956-2015) of White Rock Concerts.
Posted 1 March 2023 and last updated 25 March 2023 by Keith Bramich