Orchestra Digest: Sept. 25th

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This week: Yannick at the Met, Syria's symphonic exiles, LA Phil groupies in Tokyo, and more. Here are stories we're following....
 
 
Business news and beyond
 
The Metropolitan Opera is back in the black, posting a $1 million surplus last season after finishing 2013-14 with a $22 million deficit, the Wall Street Journal reports. Attendance actually fell slightly, however; the NY Times interviewed general manager Peter Gelb on some ways the Met hopes to reverse that trend. 
 
As the New York Philharmonic opened its season, and officially renamed David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher), they also announced a record donation: $25 million from board chair Oscar Schafer and his wife, Didi. The gift will go towards the renovation, strengthening the endowment, and supporting free park concerts, the NY Times reports.
 
With the Hartford Symphony scheduled to open its season next Thursday, WNPR music critic Steve Metcalf answered two questions many are asking: Will the concerts go on as planned? And what can concerned people do to help? For those who can't afford to write a big cheque, letters to key leaders could also make a difference. 
 
The Philadelphia Orchestra is in "play and talk", as their contract expired on Sept. 13th, the Inquirer reports. The most recent contract in 2011 included steep cuts in pay and orchestra size, which musicians are hoping to restore. 
 
A new orchestra of exiled Syrian musicians, the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra, performed its first concert in Bremen this week, Deutsche Welle reports. Most of the orchestra's 30 musicians are refugees, and come together from all over Europe to rehearse and perform in Germany. 
 
And Bloomberg News followed the Los Angeles Philharmonic on tour to Japan, along with some of their "groupies" - 17 patrons who joined the tour, socializing with and cheerleading for their favourite orchestra. 
 
 
People making headlines
 
While rehearsing for the Metropolitan Opera's opening performances, Montreal's Yannick Nézet-Séguin extended his contract as principal conductor and artistic director of Orchestre Métropolitain, through the 2020-21 season. The Montreal Gazette followed the conductor's busy week, posting a profile, as well as coverage of the contract extension and a career timeline.
 
The news that Edwin Outwater will leave the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony after next season prompted Waterloo Record columnist (and chorister) Sally D'Amato to write an appreciation of his innovative yet entertaining approach.
 
Businessman Ronald O. Perelman, who became Carnegie Hall's board chairman earlier this year, will step down next month, the NY Times reports. The move came after he suspended Carnegie executive director Clive Gillinson, citing a "troubling lack of transparency" and governance problems, which other board members denied.  
 
The San Francisco Opera appointed Matthew Shilvock as its next General Director, KQED reports. Shilvock has served as SF Opera's Associate General Director since 2010, under David Gockley. 
 
And in a recent piece, New Yorker classical music critic Alex Ross writes that rumours of the symphony's demise have been greatly exaggerated. He looks at several of the form's more modern practitioners, from Sibelius to Robert Simpson. 
 
 

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.

 

 

Orchestra Digest: September 15th

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This week: NLRB ruling in Hartford; ESO's big park gig; turning off cell phones as selling point; and remembering violinist Jacques Israelievitch. Here are stories we're following....
 
 
Union news
 
Labour Day brought several stories on the current state of unions: the New York Times' Upshot column reported a new study showing that an area's rate of union membership can predict upward mobility in lower-income children
 
Less happily, AP News reports that no union mines are left in Kentucky, where coal miners battled for decades to organize and improve conditions.
 
The US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint against Hartford Symphony, saying management violated their musicians' contract by not providing a schedule for the current season by May 1, the Hartford Courant reports. Negotiations continue, and neither side has threatened a work stoppage so far. 
 
 

Read more: Orchestra Digest: September 15th

Orchestra Digest: September 3rd

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This week: ICSOM takes Philly, more on troubles in Hartford, a Strad reclaimed, and more. Here are stories we're following... 
 
 
US orchestras and the ICSOM Conference
 
The International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) has just concluded its 53rd annual conference in Philadelphia, where Mayor Michael A. Nutter proclaimed August 26th "ICSOM Day". The Delegates also passed a resolution honouring OCSM on its 40th anniversary.
 
At the Grand Rapids Symphony (ICSOM's newest member), the contract expired August 31st, and musicians are leading a public campaign to bolster support, including lawn signs, an e-newsletter (subscribe here) and a free musician-produced concert on Sept. 8th, the Grand Rapids Press reports.
 

Read more: Orchestra Digest: September 3rd

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