Arts and Entertainment

Last autumn Helene Grimaud released a fine recording of Brahms’ piano concertos under the baton of Andris Nelsons: to hear them perform the second concerto live with the Philharmonia Orchestra was to realise anew what a superb symbiosis they can achieve.

Prom 47: BBCSSO, Exaudi, Volkov/ Prom 48: Coote, LPO, Jurowski, Royal Albert Hall

Radio 3 is embarking on a centenary talk-fest about John Cage, but there’s nothing to say about him that has not been said a thousand times already.

Prom 41: Gurrelieder/BBCSO/Saraste
Prom 42: Power/Philharmonia/Malkki
Royal Albert Hall, London

Schoenberg’s splendidly unclassifiable ‘Gurrelieder’ was both an attempt to beat Wagner at his own game and a declaration that the game was over.

Prom 37: The Apostles, Hallé Orchestra and Choir/Elder, Royal Albert Hall, London ****
Prom 38: Spence, Royal Albert Hall, London ***

All critics have their blind spots, and mine is Elgar, so it was with curiosity rather than hope that I went to hear ‘The Apostles’.

Orchestra members and tutors rehearse in Edinburgh ahead of their tour

'World's bravest orchestra' defies the bombers

Next week, young Iraqi musicians make their international concert debut in Britain. Paul Bignell reports on the obstacles they faced

Ravel's 'L'heure espagnole'

L'heure espagnole/ L'enfant et les sortilèges, Glyndebourne, East Sussex
Tête à Tête Opera Festival, Riverside Studios, London
The Francis Bacon Opera, Camden Arts Centre, London

Glyndeborne's double bill of Ravel operas captures the composer's delicate touch and ability to combine laughter and pain

Prom 31: Benedetti, BBCSSO, NYOS, Runnicles, ***; Prom 32: Bernstein's 'Mass', Jarvi, *****

Since the first item of Prom 31 was James Macmillan's ‘Fanfare Upon One Note’, it looked - when the orchestra broke into the national anthem - as though this congenitally dour Scot had gone satirical.

Charlotte Bray, Composer, 30

Observations One to Watch: Charlotte Bray, Composer, 30

"It was beyond my wildest dreams to have my work performed at the Proms last week – I only started composing music nine year's ago. It was very emotional."

Barenboim conducts the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

Prom 18: Barenboim/West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall

It’s been quite a journey, from Beethoven’s First Symphony to his Ninth in eight days. The Red Arrows even gave us a fly-past to celebrate at the end...

Prom 18: Barenboim/West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall

A fitting crosstown curtain raiser to the Olympics opening night

Television Choices: Using music to help foster harmonious relations

Barenboim on Beethoven: Nine Symphonies That Changed the World

Plácido Domingo's Operalia Winners, Royal Opera House, London

Opera isn’t really Olympic, because a prize is just the start. A great singer grows, matures, transforms – and three generations of vocal giants arrived at Covent Garden, ready to prove it.

Danny Boyle has already been angered by camera positioning at the Opening Ceremony

Masters of ceremonies

Tomorrow, Danny Boyle joins an elite band of directors who have orchestrated the opening of an Olympics. So what's it like putting on a show for the biggest audience on Earth? Simon Usborne finds out

The jet set: the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Games in 1984

Olympics opening ceremony: What is it like to put on a show for the biggest audience on Earth?

Tomorrow night, Danny Boyle will join an elite band of directors.

The Fairy Queen, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

When Glyndebourne invited Jonathan Kent and Paul Brown to realise Purcell’s ‘semi-opera’ The Fairy Queen, it was with slight trepidation, as they had no idea how this amalgam of Purcell’s music and filletings from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream would go down.

RCM's Matyas Csibas and Sophia Anagnostou

Sound of Versailles comes to the Proms

Kate Youde talks to the students recreating Louis XIII's orchestra

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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
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How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
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2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
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The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...