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. 
 
 

Read more: Orchestra Digest: Sept. 2nd

Orchestra Digest: July 16

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This week: Major new hires in Calgary and Thunder Bay; Nikki Chooi steps up at Met Opera; a stellar contract in KC, and more. Here are stories we're following....

 
 
New hires 
 
The Calgary Philharmonic appointed Rune Bergmann its next music director, beginning September 2017; as Slipped Disc noted, The maestro you'd never heard of now has two jobs. Earlier, Herald critic Ken Delong appraised the legacy of Bergmann's predecessor, Roberto Minczuk.
 
The Toronto Star speculates whether the Toronto Symphony may hire Gary Hanson as interim President/CEO. Hanson was born in Toronto, and recently retired from a successful term leading The Cleveland Orchestra
 
The Thunder Bay Symphony named Barry Streib its new executive director / general manager, according to a press release. Mr. Streib's background is in business, public service, and community event management.
 
And Canadian violinist Nikki Chooi will join the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as co-concertmaster, the Times Colonist reports. The 27-year-old was born in Victoria and first performed as a soloist with the Victoria Symphony at age 12.
 
 
US News
 
The new musicians' contract at the Kansas City Symphony may serve as a model for progressive, collaborative negotiation, the KC Star reports. The agreement will yield a 19.7% raise over 4 years, and was reached quickly and without drama. 
 
A brief strike by the Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra threatened to cancel the opening night performance, the Chicago Sun Times reports. Just hours before the performance, a tentative 3-year agreement was reached, and the concert went on as planned. 
 
With negotiations stretching over a year and an extension about to expire, Fort Worth Symphony musicians and management agreed to enter mediation, the Star Telegram reports. Talks are to resume this week. 
 
The Baltimore Symphony, which just reached a 1-year contract extension with modest pay increases, announced a major new initiative to bring the city's poorest young people to concerts, the Baltimore Sun reports. A $1.2m donation by Mark and Patricia Joseph will increase the number of schoolchildren attending from 1,500 to 5,000 a year. 
 
An extraordinary donation by Marjorie S. Fisher will go directly to the Detroit Symphony's 78 current full-time musicians, the Free Press reports. The late philanthropist and long-time DSO supporter earmarked the gift for a one-time payment of $5,000 to each musician.
 
"The Dream Unfinished Project", a series of concerts to benefit the Black Lives Matter movement, continued last week amid tragic news, the New York Times reports. The initiative was started by Eun Lee, a clarinetist and music teacher in New York, as a means for classical musicians to pring people together and respond to social unrest. 
 
Quick commercial message: OCSM's annual conference is coming to Calgary this August 9-11 and members are welcome! Visit our website for information and register to attend a session.
 
 
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.
 
Orchestras Canada's weekly, bilingual newsletter features even more news from Canadian orchestras as well as advocacy information - click here to read the latest edition and sign up for delivery to your inbox each Wednesday.

 

Orchestra Digest: June 11th

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This week: The League talks diversity; troubles and innovation at TSO; Jane Little's passing; and a new post for Yannick. Here are stories we're following...
 
 
Business news and conferences
 
The League of American Orchestras meets this weekend in Baltimore - a majority African-American city - highlighting issues of diversity in the predominantly white orchestral industry, the Baltimore Sun reports. Baltimore Symphony MD Marin Alsop, historian Earl Lewis, and Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson will discuss diversification and wider societal trends. 
 
The Toronto Symphony's leadership troubles and a potential $4 million plus deficit fuelled worry and speculation, including a Toronto Star analysis by columnist Martin Knelman. The TSO plans to sell a rare viola to its own foundation, the Globe and Mail reports, while also launching a major fundraising campaign. According to unnamed sources, current negotiations may lead to a pay freeze for musicians.
 
The TSO's recent innovations include "Listening Guide", a graphic representation of musical elements and structure. Examples were featured on the UK blog Creative Review.
 
Canadian teenager Amanda Todd became a tragic figure in 2012, when she took her own life amid vicious cyberbullying; a new work by Jocelyn Morlock brings her story to the stage with the National Arts Centre OrchestraCBC News reports

Read more: Orchestra Digest: June 11th

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