Orchestra Digest: Sept. 2nd

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This week: Women conductors reflect, new leaders for TSO and Victoria Symphony, deadlines loom for Pittsburgh and Pacific Symphonies, and a tentative contract for Fort Worth. Here are stories we're following....
 
 
Glass ceilings, new leaders and new roles
 
By the NY Times' reckoning, women now direct leading nations and corporations at higher rates than major orchestras. That glass ceiling may finally be cracking, however, thanks to some remarkable female maestros, including Marin Alsop, Susanna Malkki, Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, and Canadian Barbara Hannigan. All four conducted at the Lucerne Festival this summer, and took time to discuss their careers and the persistence of sexism in conducting. 
 
Gary Hanson, who retired as CEO of The Cleveland Orchestra in January, will take on the same position with the Toronto Symphony on an interim basis, the Plain Dealer and Musical Toronto report. Hanson's term will last up to two years, beginning Sept. 26th. He brings a personal connection - he grew up in Toronto, taking bass lessons from members of the TSO. 
 
The Victoria Symphony also has new leadership this season: Kathryn Laurin, whose most recent position was president of Camosun College, the Times Colonist reports. Laurin had a previous career as a conductor, leading orchestras in Regina and Saskatoon. 
 
Gordon Gerrard led the Regina Symphony last weekend in his first concert as music director, at the Symphony Under the Sky festival, CBC News reports. Gerrard most recently served as associate conductor of the Vancouver Symphony. 
 
 
Talks and contracts
 
A tentative agreement reached yesterday may break the impasse at the Fort Worth Symphony, the Star-Telegram reports. Details were not yet disclosed, and a vote for ratification is scheduled for this Sunday. Most recently, talks were extended past a July 31st expiration, having continued for over a year, with mediation beginning in July. FWSO Musicians are providing updates on their website and social media
 
The Pacific Symphony (Orange County, Ca.) is working without a contract, after negotiations collapsed without an agreement before the August 31st deadline, the OC Register reports. At issue is musicians' effort to move from per-service to a salaried contract, an arrangement they deem more appropriate to the orchestra's purposes and its $20 million budget.
 
A contract deadline is approaching this Sunday for the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Post-Gazette reports. PSO musicians are telling their story through a new website and social media; PSO President Malia Tourangeau recently appealed to the Regional Asset District for $1.4 million, after projecting a 2015-16 budget deficit of $1.5 million. 
 
 
Good news and grants
 
We don't always see the good news stories from the many orchestras tallying strong results both artistically and financially. Three such stories are worth noting, though: the St. Louis SymphonyKansas City Symphony, and Atlanta Symphony each posted gains in attendance and ticket sales last season. 
 
A federal matching grant of $300K will help the Windsor Symphony maintain its artistic work in the community, the Windsor Star reports. The Canadian Heritage grant matches funds donated by the Toldo Family Foundation and the Ursuline Sisters of Chatham in 2015.
 
 
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.
 
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