Seven-week CSO strike ends; NACO tours Europe; new inclusive offerings in Toronto, Edmonton, and Halifax; and more. Photo credit: H Edgar, Chicago Classical Review.
Chicago Symphony ends strike
The Chicago Symphony reached a five-year agreement last weekend, ending a strike which began March 10th. The deal followed meetings at City Hall with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Sun-Times reported. This was the first time in Mayor Emanuel's eight-year term that he attempted to broker a compromise in a labour dispute.
At issue in the seven-week strike was the CSO's pension, which will shift from a defined-benefit to defined-contribution plan, the NY Times reports. Wages will also increase in each of the five years: 2, 2, 2.5, 3.25, and 3.5% in the final year, which will bring base salaries to USD 181,272.
The NY Times reports:
The strike was also notable for the unusual involvement of the orchestra’s revered music director, Riccardo Muti, since conductors usually avoid seeming to take sides in labor disputes. But before the strike began, Mr. Muti wrote to the orchestra’s board and management, saying, “I am with the musicians,” and he later appeared with the players on the picket line.
Canadian orchestra news
A significant rent increase at Victoria's Royal Theatre, which would impact the Victoria Symphony and other arts groups, was postponed and will now take two years to go into effect, CBC News reported. Arts groups are advocating for more public consultation on funding and the impact of rent hikes.
The National Arts Centre Orchestra's May European tour, titled Crossings, will highlight contemporary Canadian composers, the Ottawa Citizen reports. With stops in London, Paris, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Utrecht, and Saffron Walden, NACO will perform works by Ana Sokolovic and Jocelyn Morlock, along with more traditional fare by Ravel, Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Dvorak.
The Calgary Philharmonic will close its Under the Influence Festival this weekend with music by John Corigliano and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, broadcast as a live-stream on Saturday evening, 7:30 MT. The YYScene blog previewed the festival. Last Thursday's concert featured a concerto performance by CPO principal percussionist Josh Jones, who recently recovered from cancer; Jones was interviewed by the Calgary Herald.
The Toronto Symphony recently offered its first 'relaxed performance', a concert specifically designed for neurodiverse audiences and those on the autism spectrum. TSO cellist Winona Zelenka wrote an opinion piece for Toronto.com explaining and applauding the initiative.
Similar events have already been programmed by other orchestras and arts presenters, including Symphony Nova Scotia, as the Chronicle Herald reports.
The Edmonton Symphony will feature drag performer and violinist Thorgy Thor on an upcoming concert, one of several drag performances at the Winspear Centre this season. CBC News reported on the growing acceptance of drag within mainstream culture.
The Saskatoon Symphony recently premiered a violin concerto written in 1938 by Heinz Moehn, best known as a music editor for Barenreiter, the StarPhoenix reported. Moehn's grandson, Johannes Dyring, moved to Saskatoon in 2015 and advocated for the work; it was performed by violinist Timothy Chooi.
The McGill Chamber Orchestra has assumed a new name, Orchestre classique de Montréal. The Montreal Gazette reports on the history behind the names.