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 Mail, CBC and the NY Times previewed the production and the complicated history it recounts.
New seasons, new hires, and business news
For all its battles, the London Symphonia has so far achieved a remarkable success: retaining a core of 27 musicians, the same size as Orchestra London. The Free Press featured an extended commentary by journalist Larry Cornies on the musicians' efforts to build a new orchestra for London: Musicians battle shifting sands of culture.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada, the union representing box office staff and ushers at the National Arts Centre reached a deal to narrowly avert a strike in late April, the Ottawa Citizen reported. The ushers and staff had been working without a contract since June 2016.
Symphony Nova Scotia has appointed Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser as its artist in in residence and community ambassador for the 2017-18 season, the Chronicle Herald reports. Bartholomew-Poyser has previously held staff conductor positions with the Kitchener-Waterloo and Thunder Bay Symphonies.
Conductor Bernard Labadie, best known for his work with Les Violons du Roy, survived a battle with lymphoma which included a month-long medically induced coma. He was recently named principal conductor of St. Luke's Chamber Orchestra, and spoke to the NY Times about his harrowing journey.
Seattle Symphony music director Ludovic Morlot will step down after the 2018-19 season, the Seattle Times reports.
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra promoted a new concertmaster from within: Nicholas Wright, a British-born violinist who first joined the VSO six years ago, the Georgia Straight reports.
The Thunder Bay Symphony announced major leadership changes, TB News Watch reports. A former mayor, Ken Boshcoff is the new interim executive director. The symphony also welcomed several new board members, and appointed Linda Penner as board chair.
The TBSO announced its 2017-18 season, titled New Beginnings, the Chronicle-Journal reports. Among the changes: the orchestra will announce a new music director soon, and move concert start times to 7:30pm.
Other items of interest...
Young audience clubs are a popular marketing and audience development tool for orchestras. InsideToronto profiles two standouts in the genre, Tafelscene and TSOundcheck.
Unusual instrument aficionados will want to check out a recent episode of CBC's cultural talk show, q, featuring TSO affiliate composer Jordan Pal talking about writing for a massive sheet of metal and orchestra.
A major renovation will "encapsulate" Quebec City's Grand Théâtre within a sheathe of glass, La Presse reports (in French). The article includes a striking artistic rendering of the renovated building, to be completed by September 2018.