national orchestra conducting competition and American
mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey, 25, taking the inaugural
Glyndebourne Opera Cup.
Prague International Spring Competition named
Alexandre Collard of France winner of the French horn
section but could find no one to claim the cello prize.
Swedish soprano Nina Stemme was awarded the $1 million
Birgit Nilsson Prize, and soprano Gemma Summerfield
won the Chilcott Award for young British opera singers.
France got another new concert hall, Le Couvent des
Jacobins, Le Centre des Congrès de Rennes, a new home for
the Brittany Symphony Orchestra created from a converted
14th-century Dominican convent in the city of Rennes.
Istanbul got the green light to build the Atatürk Cultural
Center, to include a 2,500-seat opera house, several smaller
concert halls, theaters, cinemas, libraries, shops, and restaurant, replacing the city’s 1960s-era opera house, closed for
a decade because it cannot handle the technical demands of
modern opera performances.
Scotland’s national arts agency Creative Scotland
landed in the thistles following funding cuts in January.
The country’s only disability-led arts organization was
among groups facing an uncertain future. The agency came
under fire from the Scottish government’s culture minister
and was forced into an embarrassing U-turn. In July, chief
executive Janet Archer resigned, having lost the confidence
of her staff. Also in Scotland, Stirling Council threatened
major cuts to Big Noise, Scotland’s version of El Sistema,
bringing star violinist Nicola Benedetti out fighting, telling
a national newspaper: “Combined with proposed cuts to
music services up and down the country this is another
travesty, demonstrating a deep-seated lack of understanding
on what it is to make music together.”
In London the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell
Room—smaller sisters to the Royal Festival Hall on the
South Bank site—reopened in April after a two-year
refurbishment. Earlier in the year, Jude Kelly, director of
the Southbank Center since 2006, announced that she
would be stepping down to focus on the Women of the
World festival she founded in 2010.
The British Museum unveiled plans for its first music
festival, “Europe and the World,” building on similar events
already held at major museums in Jerusalem and Dresden.
King’s College, Cambridge, whose celebrated Festival
of Nine Lessons and Carols is broadcast worldwide on
Christmas Eve every year, secured Daniel Hyde, organist
and director of music at St. Thomas Church on Fifth
Avenue, to become director of music, succeeding Stephen
Cleobury, who retires in September 2019 after 37 years.
In Brussels, La Monnaie presented a European project,
Orfeo & Majnun, and the work got its French premiere at
the Aix-en-Provence festival. Also on the festival circuit,
Salzburg offered five new opera productions, including
a Peter Sellars La clemenza di Tito; Bayreuth had no Ring
but a new production of Lohengrin and Plácido Domingo
conducting Die Walküre. In Finland, the spectacular castle
setting of Savonlinna sa w The Queen of Spades with a Russian-Finnish cast. Bregenz Festival presented the world premiere
of Thomas Larcher’s The Hunting Gun. The Leonard
Bernstein centennial was comprehensively celebrated at the
Pacific Music Festival he founded in Sapporo, Japan. •
Keith Clarke is consultant editor of Classical Music magazine
and a regular contributor to MusicalAmerica.com.
YEAR in music
(left to right)
and Golda Schultz
guard in the
La Clemenza di
by Peter Sellars.
Photo: © Salzburg