Mar 28

Music Anniverseries in April

PicMonkey Collage7

Clockwise from left: Germaine Tailleferre © Neale Osborne. Olivier Messiaen © John Minnion. Johannes Brahms composing in the shadow of Beethoven © Phil Disley


Next month’s musical anniversaries include composers and artists accross classical, rock, jazz and musicals. Look out for centenaries for jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, ragtime composer Scott Joplin, and Hollywood actress and singer Celeste Holm.

1 April – 100th death anniversary of ragtime composer Scott Joplin

3 April – 120th death anniversary of composer Johannes Brahms

4 April – 70th birthday of Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino

19 April – 125th birth anniversary of Germaine Tailleferre, French composer and only female member of Les Six

21 April – 70th birthday of rock musician Iggy Pop

25 April – 100th birth anniversary of American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald

27 April – 25th death anniversary of Olivier Messiaen, French composer, organist and ornithologist

29 April – 100th birth anniversary of Celeste Holm, actress and singer who played Ado Annie in the original 1943 production of Oklahoma!


Mar 27

Award winning playwright and novelist David Storey has died today

David StoreyAt his home in Hampstead, 1972 © John Haynes


His first novel This Sporting Life was based on his experiences as a professional rugby league player.

Lebrecht holds portraits of Storey as well as production photographs, including In Celebration, Home, The Farm and Early Days, at the Royal Court Theatre, The National Theatre and the Duke of York’s Theatre in London.

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This Sporting Life -  film posterPoster for the 1963 film of This Sporting Life, directed by Lindsay Anderson


Mar 24

Rise and fall of the Romanovs

Romanovy2Clockwise from left: Michael I (1596 – 1645), first Romanov Tsar, portrait by Johann-Heinrich Wedekind. Peter the Great at the Battle of Poltava, painting by Johann Gottfried Tannauer c. 1710. Grand Dukes Alexander Alexandrovich and Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia with cousins, late 19th century. Grigory Rasputin. Images © culture-images


In this centenary year of the Russian Revolution, Lebrecht is taking a closer look at the 300 year dynasty that came to an end with the rise of the Bolsheviks. The House of Romanov rose to prominence with the last of the Rurikid princes, and transformed the tsardom of Russia into an expansive Empire covering a sixth of the world’s surface.

The Romanovs’ extraordinary history is filled with eccentric characters, power struggles, intrigue and murder. In the words of Simon Sebag Montefiore, it is the story of “twenty tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition… a secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire-building, overshadowed by palace conspiracy, family rivalries, sexual decadence and wild extravagance, and peopled by a cast of adventurers, courtesans, revolutionaries and poets.”

Lebrecht’s collections offer comprehensive coverage of this period of Russia’s history, from imperial palaces to battle scenes, to portraits of the tsars, their families, their lovers and their enemies.

Contact with research requests.


Mar 22

Iconic Lebrecht photographer Don Hunstein has died

HunsteinClockwise from left: Leonard Bernstein, February 1970. Bob Dylan with Suze Rotolo, 1963, album cover for The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Thelonious Monk.


We are so sad to announce the death of Don Hunstein after a long illness. Lebrecht represented him for many years, and we were always impressed by his humility and gentle approach. Don Hunstein’s iconic photographs have become symbols of an era. In the history of music photography, Don’s work during his 30 years at Columbia records was unsurpassed in its scope and breadth. Through his subtle humour and quiet nature, he was able to record many great moments in rock, jazz and classical music history – the young Bob Dylan starting out on his meteoric career and the famous cover for The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Miles Davis recording Kind of Blue, Johnny Cash performing and at home on his ranch, Willie Nelson, Thelonious Monk at the piano, Billy Joel, Simon and Garfunkel in 1966, Billie Holiday recording in the studio in 1957, Johnny Mathis in 1960, Muhammad Ali recording his I am the Greatest album, to name a few. On the classical side his subjects included Glenn Gould at the piano, Rudolf Serkin, André Previn, Midori, Pablo Casals, Isaac Stern, Leonard Bernstein, the young Yo-Yo Ma, Yehudi Menuhin, Lotte Lenya in the 1950s, Aaron Copland, Philip Glass, Bruno Walter conducting, and Dmitri Shostakovich. His photographs documented a rare era when musicians spent time on their art, rather than their publicity.

On one of Don’s visits to England, he agreed to be interviewed by Norman Lebrecht at our annual summer party. It was a beautiful summer’s evening and we still remember Don’s soft voice describing the performers and musicians he had worked with and how he approached his craft. It is still a very good memory for all of us who were there.

Don Hunstein grew up in St. Louis, MO and attended Washington University, graduating in 1950 with a degree in English. After college he enlisted in the US Air Force and was stationed in Fairford, England, and assigned a desk job. It was this assignment that allowed him to travel around Europe. He began photographing casually, taking pictures to send home to his family, and then with the help of a Leica M3, and inspired by a book of Henri Cartier Bresson’s work, his hobby began to take him on a lifelong path. After a year in Fairford, Don was transferred to a base outside of London. There he joined a local camera club and took evening classes at London’s Central School of Art and Design, becoming influenced by the artists and designers he met there.

He returned to the States in 1954, ending up in New York City, where he eventually landed an apprenticeship in a commercial photography studio. There he honed his photography skills by mastering large format cameras and lighting. At the time, photography was, as Don put it, “not a glamorous profession,” but he didn’t have a pull in any other vocational direction and it satisfied his creative side. As chance connections were made, he soon met and became mentored by Deborah Ishlon, who worked in the publicity department at Columbia Records. She offered him a job helping her run the photo library there and supplying prints to the press. As he began to take his own photos for the company, they recognized his talent, and he gradually worked his way into the position of Director of Photography for CBS Records.

Don’s most notable role was as chief staff photographer for Columbia Records during the heyday of rock and roll, jazz and classical music. Fortunately for Don, this was a time when the company was under the direction of Goddard Lieberson, who thought it important to document in photographs the cultural history of the music of their time. He had the opportunity to do far more than album covers and publicity shots, covering recording sessions and even visiting performers on their home turf. Don had the ability to listen with his camera. Instinctively he understood that to capture artists at their best moments, patience, trust and humility were needed. This ability to set both newcomers and experienced stars at ease in his presence is evident in his photographs.

We send our condolences to his family.

1928 – 18 March 2017

Don with camera_1

Mar 17

Saint Lucia poet Derek Walcott has died

321106_ copyIn Florence, 2000 © Marcello Mencarini


Derek Walcott, Saint Lucia poet and playwright, has died today. He received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature.

He was Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex from 2010 to 2013. His major works include the Homeric epic poem Omeros (1990). He also received an Obie Award in 1971 for his play Dream on Monkey Mountain, a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award, a Royal Society of Literature Award, the Queen’s Medal for Poetry, and the inaugural OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

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Mar 16

ENO’s Partenope opens tomorrow at London Coliseum

Partenope by George Frederic HandelChristopher Alden’s Olivier Award-winning production of Handel’s Partenope returns to the London Coliseum with Sarah Tynan starring in the title role. Conducted by Baroque specialist Christian Curnyn.

Running 17 – 24 March

Images © Tom Bowles. Click here for more images. Contact

Partenope by George Frederic HandelPartenope by George Frederic Handel Partenope by George Frederic Hande Partenope by George Frederic Handel Partenope by George Frederic Handel Partenope by George Frederic Handel Partenope by George Frederic Handel