Mario Venzago has joined the conducting team at the Northern Sinfonia , as a principal conductor. The Gateshead-based ensemble now boasts two people with that title – the other is John Wilson – in addition to its music director Thomas Zehetmair.
The Midem Classical Awards 2010 will be held during the record industry’s annual trade fair in Cannes in late January. At a gala event, to be co-hosted by the Canadian mezzo Marie-Nicole Lemieux and Gramophone ’s Editor in Chief James Jolly, on January 26, awards will be made for a host of recordings (over many categories) and to a handful of major international stars. Jacek Kaspszyck will conduct Sinfonietta Cracovia.
The French pianist and teacher, Geneviève Joy, has died aged 90. She is survived by her husband, the French composer Henri Dutilleux. She started playing the piano at an early age and entered the Paris Conservatoire aged 12, where as well as the traditional piano curriculum she also worked on accompaniment and sight-reading, a skill that stood her in good stead as her interest in contemporary music developed. She carried off the first prize in most of her subjects at the Conservatoire.
Glyndebourne’s commitment to education and community takes centre stage in March 2010 with four performances of Knight Crew , a new commission by the festival’s first composer-in-residence Julian Philips. Billed as the largest outreach project in Glyndebourne’s history, the work is based on the novel by Nicky Singer, which places the legend of King Arthur in a contemporary urban setting. The production features six professional singers alongside 60 young performers and a “Mothers Chorus” of local adults, accompanied by an ensemble of professional and young instrumentalists.
Fourteen minutes of applause greeted 25-year-old Anita Rachvelishvili and the cast of Barenboim's Carmen yesterday evening as another high-profile season began at La Scala, Milan. The annual December 7 opening night sold out long before the event as usual, even with tickets priced at €2,400. The performance was given in the presence of the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano.
German composer York Höller has been awarded the 2010 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for his six-movement orchestral work Sphären (Spheres). Given “in recognition of outstanding achievement by a living composer in a large musical genre” by the University of Louisville, the annual prize is worth $200,000 to the winner.
HC Robbins Landon, doyen of musicologists in the second half of the 20th century, was primarily known for his pioneering work on the music of Haydn. Nevertheless, it was his popular writing on Mozart following the success of the film version of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus , with which he reached his widest audience.
The City of London Sinfonia is to replace the late Richard Hickox with two principal conductors. Stephen Layton, director of music at Trinity College, Cambridge, will take over as artistic director and principal conductor, while clarinettist Michael Collins is also appointed principal conductor. Both have signed three-year contracts beginning in September 2010.