2019 : That was the year that was, that was

A very Happy 2020 to all our readers, we hope you survived (enjoyed!) the festivities, and are looking forward to a musical new year.

In the usual MusiCB3 tradition, we’re looking back this week at the highlights of 2019, as well as celebrating the lives of some of those who have passed away through the course of the year.


The BBC Symphony Orchestra appointed Dalia Stasevska as its next Principal Conductor, the first woman to be named to the post.

The Polar Music Prize was awarded to Anne-Sophie Mutter, hip-hop artist Grandmaster Flash, and the Playing for Change Foundation.

The musical world was saddened by the deaths of Pete Tork of the Monkees, who lost his fight against a rare form of oral cancer; and of much loved conductor, composer, and pianist, Andre Previn. His appearance on the BBC’s Morecambe and Wise Show, endeared him to a wide audience outside the musical world. There were loving tributes from his long-standing colleagues at the London Symphony Orchestra. We were also sorry to hear of the deaths of composer, John Joubert, and Oscar winner, Michel Legrand.

Michel Legrand’s Oscar winning song, Windmills of your mind from the film, The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

On a brighter note the Pendlebury launched its new Twitter account, and made some IT upgrades to its Reading Room.


March was a busy month with the long anticipated Hans Keller anniversary. A range of events celebrated the life and work of this extraordinary man. Across London and Cambridge, there were book launches (featuring our own Susi Woodhouse), talks, concerts, a film, masterclasses with everything you could want to know about Functional Analysis, and a display of art work by Milein Cosman. Those who had known Hans chatted about him, and it was a wonderful opportunity for musicians of all ages to get together, and celebrate his life and influence.

Kate Crane, joint winner of the E.T. Bryant Memorial prize.

In other MusiCB3 news, there were pop-up exhibitions in the Anderson Room celebrating Valentine’s Day, Berlioz 150, Offenbach, and female composers. Around Easter time a group of music librarians headed off to Leicester for IAML’s Annual Study Weekend, where Kate Crane received the E.T. Bryant Memorial prize.

Prism by Ellen Reid won the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Aretha Franklin was awarded a special citation for “her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.”

Doris Day, one of the top box-office earners of the late ’50s / early ’60s, who was also renowned for her musical roles (Calamity Jane, By the light of the silvery moon), and chart topping recordings, died at the age of 97.

There was more sad news with the deaths of Keith Flint, the kind-hearted, if tough looking, front man of the Prodigy; and organist and composer, Peter Hurford.


Cambridge alumni were rewarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours: Stephen Cleobury and David Pountney were knighted; while pianist Joanna MacGregor, composer Jonathan Dove, and singer Mark Padmore became CBEs. Former Professor of Music, Alexander Goehr, became an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society.

More information was released on the fire that hit Universal Studios in 2008, revealing that the back catalogue of many artists was consumed in the blaze.

Karina Cannellakis became the first woman to conduct the First Night of the Proms.

Barrington Pheloung, composer, best known for his work on television passed away.

Pendlebury Library enquiries poster

Back at MusiCB3, a UL librarian headed off to IAML’s international congress in Krakow, and gave a paper on music copyists. On return to the UK, two more articles beckoned, on two very different subjects – William Alwyn’s operas, and Musical skulduggery among eighteenth century music publishers. As with the former paper, these were all inspired by the collections at the UL. Both are due to be published shortly.

The Pen, closely followed by the UL Music Dept., won the unofficial “School of Arts and Humanities’ most tricky enquiry” award. The Moon landing was celebrated in the Anderson Room, and MusiCB3 took over the UL’s Instagram account for a week.


William Alwyn’s opera, Miss Julie, received its concert premiere in London.

Lucia Lucas became the first transgender singer to perform with the English National Opera company. Earlier in the year, she made her American debut singing Don Giovanni for Tulsa Opera.

The deaths were announced of soprano, Jessye Norman, Raymond Leppard, drummer and founder member of supergroup, Cream, Ginger Baker, and pianist and musicologist, Paul Badura-Skoda.

There was the usual stream of new faces through the doors of the Pen and the UL at the beginning of term. Around sixty people were toured, usually with three groups touring in different directions at the same time. Much to our astonishment, we never actually bumped into each other; though there were a few hairsbreadth escapes.

A reader enquiry following a blog post on MusiCB3 unexpectedly led to a family reunion, when it reunited relatives from Australia and the UK.


Cambridge was in mourning for Stephen Cleobury and Jonathan Miller. We were also sorry to hear of the death of Mariss Jansons, just a few weeks after conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall; and of Marie Fredrikkson of Swedish group, Roxette, after a long battle with cancer.

The Vienna State Opera premiered its first production composed by a woman – Orlando by Olga Neuwirth and Catherine Filloux.

The Music Collections’ Advent Calendar proved popular, with a blissful Hans Keller on skis rounding the Hans Keller year off nicely.

Here’s to a happy and musical 2020.


About mj263

Music Collections Supervisor at Cambridge University Library. Wide musical interests. Often to be found stuck in a composer's archive, or enthusing about antiquarian music.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to 2019 : That was the year that was, that was

  1. Pingback: 2020: Looking forward… | MusiCB3 Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.