Orchestra Digest: Nov. 1st

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This week: Pit news from Ottawa and Toronto, London approves orchestral funding, and musician fashion turns heads in San Antonio. Here are stories we're following...
 
 
Pit bulletins
 
A hopeful note for Ottawa's Opera Lyra, which ceased operations last month: Timothy Vernon has taken the cause to funders, politicians, and community leaders, with hopes to re-form the board and (perhaps) revive the organization, the Ottawa Citizen reports
 
The National Ballet of Canada finished the 2014-15 season with a modest surplus, the Globe and Mail reports. The company has been in the black for the past six seasons; the current season will feature the first Ballet's first new full-length Canadian commission in 10 seasons. 
 
The Canadian Opera Company also pulled in with a slight surplus, its fifth straight, the Globe and Mail reports. COC is currently presenting Barbara Monk Feldman's Pyramus and Thisbe, its first Canadian premiere in 16 years; both the Globe and Mail and CBC previewed the new work.
 
 

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Orchestra Digest: Election edition!

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This week: The election and the arts, Opera Lyra, #WePlayOn, and news from Philly. Here are stories we're following...
 
 
Vote!
 
Almost every angle of this election has been covered - though as Globe and Mail's Marsha Lederman writes, arts and culture issues have gotten little attention on the campaign trail. That's despite the many artists who spoken out on politics, often using #artsvote or #ImagineOct20th.
 
If you're still weighing your options, the Canadian Arts Coalition has assembled Federal Party Positions on Arts on Culture, based on a questionnaire that all but the Conservatives answered.
 
And the Toronto Symphony recently hosted a forum for candidates from the Green Party, NDP, Liberals, and Conservatives to answer questions about their policies and the importance of the arts to Canada.
 
The Globe and Mail's Simon Houpt writes of the CBC: The election issue that wasn't (but should have been). While the parties have made their promises of financial support, there has been little talk about the overall purpose and role of the public media space.
 
 
Opera Lyra and #WePlayOn
 
And amid the election coverage, last Wednesday was a very sad day for the performing arts in Ottawa: Opera Lyra has ceased operations due to a budget shortfall, the Ottawa Citizen reports. The season has been cancelled; the Board is reviewing options for reviving operations in some form in the future.
 
The #WePlayOn Musicians performed Beethoven's 9th with guest conductor Bramwell Tovey, who later tweeted "#WePlayOn concert one of most memorable of my career. Standing O for @OLC_Musicians as they entered was deeply moving #Bravo". 
 
The Musicians are calling on Londoners, patrons, and orchestral music fans to make their voices hear and engage with their strategic planning process, as they work to build a new organization.
 
 

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Orchestra Digest: Oct. 8th

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This week: TSO innovates, new contracts in Chicago and St. Paul, and a new president for the Vancouver Symphony. Here are stories we're following...

  
Canadian symphonic news

The Toronto Symphony has created a new position, Vice-President for Innovation, and appointed Adrian FungMusical Toronto reports. A founding member of the award-winning Afiara Quartet, Fung will work with the TSO's outreach and education and in fostering new collaborations.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and other "pillar cultural groups" in the region may receive increased municipal support over the next few years, as the city council endorsed a consultant's recommendations, the Region Record reports. Possible increases are yet to be set; support will at least maintain at current levels. 

Symphony Nova Scotia benefitted from increased ticket sales, donations, and outreach activities, as well as a funding increase from the municipality of Halifax in 2014-15, the Chronicle Herald reports. The Symphony finished with a small deficit, attributable to weather cancellations and a decrease in Canada Council funding. 
 
The National Arts Centre's annual gala set a fundraising record at just over $1 million, the Ottawa Citizen reports. This gala was the first for new NACO music director Alexander Shelley, and also featured pianist Lang Lang. 
 
Kelly Tweeddale will take over as Vancouver Symphony president in November, the Sun reports. Tweeddale has served as Seattle Opera's executive director for 13 years, overseeing successful social media and fundraising initiatives. 
 
And 20 young Canadian string players faced difficult decisions between priceless instruments,  after winning the 2015 Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank Competition, as the National Post reports
 
 
Making news elsewhere
 
The Chicago Symphony ratified a 3-year contract including wage and pension increases and greater scheduling flexibility, the Chicago Tribune reports. This was the first CSO negotiation led by President Jeff Alexander, formerly of the Vancouver Symphony
 
The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra signed a two-year contract extension with musicians, the first since the orchestra's 6-month lockout in 2012-13, the Star Tribune reports. The deal includes raises for lower-paid musicians in both years, while principal players will receive raises only in the second year. 
 
The Pittsburgh Symphony's 2015 summer season was pronounced a success, the Tribune-Review reports, with increased attendance at more concerts, including a new Thursday Night Icons Series and strong pops programming. 
 
 
Compiled by Matt Heller, OCSM 1st VP. Sources include the discussion groups of ICSOM and ROPA. Visit OCSM on Facebook, or tweet us @ocsm-omosc.
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