Orchestra Digest: Summer edition

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Comings and goings: Music directors and execs
 
The Winnipeg Symphony announced that Alexander Mickelthwate will leave following the 2017/18 season, his 12th as music director. CBC News and the Free Press reported on the circumstances of Mickelthwate's departure, and Free Press columnist Holly Harris posted an appraisal of his tenure. 
 
Kent Nagano has announced he will leave his music director post with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal in 2020, the Globe and Mail reportsMontreal Gazette critic Arthur Kaptainis praised the decision, arguing he leaves the orchestra in strong form and with time for a smooth succession. 
 
The Thunder Bay Symphony announced the appointment of Paul Haas as its music director, effective this month, CBC News reports. Haas was among 7 finalists for the role; he also serves as music director of the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. The Symphony also recently announced Gerald McEachern as its new executive director, TB Newswatch reports.
 
The Hamilton Philharmonic renewed music director Gemma New's contract through the 2020/21 season, the Spectator reportsColumnist Emma Reilly assessed the HPO's "bold and innovative" direction, and found that the orchestra is thriving.
 
Roberto Minczuk, music director laureate of the Calgary Philharmonic, will become the first music director of the New Mexico Philharmonic, the Albuquerque Journal reports
 
Canadian conductor Alain Trudel will be the new music director of the Toledo Symphony, the Blade reports
 
Stephane Deneve will take over as music director of the St. Louis Symphony next season, as David Robertson leaves the post next season, the St Louis Business Journal reports.  
Canada's new Governor General, Julie Payette, is best known as an astronaut, but she is also an accomplished singer, who has performed with both Tafelmusik and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, CTV News reports.
 
The Minnesota Orchestra has extended music director Osmo Vänskä's contract through the 2021-22 season, the Star Tribune reports. At 19 seasons, his tenure will match that of the Orchestra's longest-serving music directors, Emil Oberhoffer and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. 
 
The San Francisco Symphony has appointed Mark Hanson as its new executive director, replacing Brent Assink, the Chronicle reports. Hanson is currently CEO of the Houston Symphony. 
 
 
Tours, broadcasts, and venue news
 
The Philadelphia Orchestra recently signed a broadcast deal with SiriusXM radio, which will produce 26 concert broadcasts through the course of next season. the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The Inquirer also reported that president/CEO Alison Vulgamore will leave the orchestra at the conclusion of her current contract, Dec. 31st.
 
The Toronto Symphony's May tour to Europe and Israel was its most high-profile trip in decades; the TSO was also the first North American orchestra to tour Israel in 20 years. Toronto Star music critic William Littler summarized the successful tour.
 
A Muslim-Canadian audience member at the TSO's final weekend of concerts claimed she was physically assaulted by another patron, the Toronto Star reported. The incident sparked controversy and discussion, including an interview on CBC's As It Happensletters to the Star's editorial page, and commentary in the Huffington Post. The TSO responded to the incident with a plan to give free tickets to 100 young musicians from underrepresented communities, the Star reports
 
The Winspear Centre, home of the Edmonton Symphony, celebrates its 20th year in 2017. There are also plans to renovate the Centre over the next 5 years, with a $53 million "Winspear Completion Project", CBC News reports.
 
Calgary's city council is considering a one-time grant of $2 million to be shared among ten "cornerstone" arts organizations, including the Calgary Philharmonic, the Herald reports. The proposal will go before council on Tuesday, July 18. 
 
Symphony Nova Scotia is launching a two-week summer season, July 17-31, LocalExpress.ca reports. The series brings a varied schedule of ensemble and orchestral concerts to venues throughout Halifax. 
 
 
Above and beyond
 
Canada's next Governor General, Julie Payette, is best known for her work as an astronaut -- but she is also an accomplished singer, having performed with Tafelmusik and the Orchestre Symphonique de MontrealCTV News reports
 
Federal Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr also found a recent opportunity to show off his musical talents, as an oboe soloist with the Winnipeg SymphonyCTV News reports. Carr's performance was part of a 70th-anniversary celebration for the Symphony. 
 
And London's Royal College of Music is surveying classical instrumentalists on their pre-performance routines. You're invited to take the survey at this link
 
 
Compiled by Matt Heller, OCSM 1st VP. Sources include the discussion groups of ICSOM and ROPA. Visit OCSM online at: http://ocsm-omosc.org/index.php. Visit OCSM on Facebook, or tweet us @ocsm-omosc.

OCSM Conference Information

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Registration is now open for the 2017 OCSM/OMOSC Conference in Gatineau/Ottawa! Our host hotel is the Four Points Sheraton in Gatineau (35 rue Laurier, Gatineau, Québec J8X 4E9). We have arranged a promotional rate of $139/night.

Note to Delegates: The AFM by-laws state that the AFM Local will pay “the reasonable and necessary expenses of sending one delegate to the appropriate annual conference…” In order to get the proper rate, please use the group name (OCSM). Please inform your Local of your attendance. In the event you are unable to attend, it is your responsibility to find an alternate Delegate to take your place and see that they book a room. Please let the Executive know of the change and we'll get the alternate onto the Delegates email list.

Please plan to arrive for the first Delegate session on Monday, August 14 at 2pm. We will adjourn by 1pm on Friday, August 18

You can reserve by phone: 1-888-627-8089. In order to get the proper rate, please tell the receptionist that you are with the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians. You may also reserve online using this dedicated link.

Once you have made your reservation, please fill in our own online registration form:

2017 OCSM Conference Registration

Orchestra Digest: May 12, 2017

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Note to readers: As you may have noticed, Orchestra Digest postings have grown rather sparse this season -- due not to a lack of orchestra news stories, but to my own limited capacity to compile and share them all! 
 
I will continue to do my best to highlight and summarize relevant stories, and would like to invite all of you to share interesting stories as well. Just make sure to identify yourself by name and orchestra at the start of the post. We moderate posts to the OCSM List, so if we notice anything amiss, we will let you know before it goes out to the list. I'm also happy to hear from you with any general suggestions or contributions to improve this newsletter. 
 
Thanks and happy reading! - Matt Heller
 
 
Tours and headlines from Canada's 150th 
 
As part of its Canada 150 celebration this weekend, the Saskatoon Symphony will stage an unlikely twofer: a citizenship ceremony combined with an all-Canadian concert -- CBC reports
 
The TSO embarked on a two-week tour of Europe and Israel this past week: the Toronto Star spoke with interim CEO Gary Hanson on the importance of international touring. 
 
The National Arts Centre Orchestra is also touring widely this spring, including a recent outing to Canada's East Coast. The Chronicle Herald previewed its busy Halifax stop, which included a side-by-side, chamber music, master classes, and more. 
 
And while Harry Somers' opera Louis Riel is gaining wide recognition in a new co-production by the Canadian Opera Company and National Arts Centre, it tells a Canadian story which has come to seem more tragic than celebratory. The Globe and MailCBC and the NY Times previewed the production and the complicated history it recounts.  
 
 

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