Orchestra Digest: Jan 16th

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This week: Play and talk at Hartford and Fort Worth Symphonies; the NY City Opera returns; an impressive new Canadian Opera Company season; and remembering Boulez and Masur.
Orchestras in the news
While concerts go on, Fort Worth Symphony musicians and management are publicly clashing over the direction of their orchestra, KERA News reports. Musicians are calling for an expanded budget and fundraising vision; management says cuts are necessary. Negotiations will continue next Monday. An open letter and petition to FWSO management is online at GrowthNotCuts.org.
Play and talk continues at the Hartford Symphony as well - negotiations there have lasted over a year. Last week musicians unanimously rejected a management proposal that would have meant roughly $1.5m in wage cuts; musicians have offered $750k in concessions, the Hartford Courant reports. NPR commentator Steve Metcalf recently wrote that the symphony is facing a precipice.
The New York City Opera is back, with performances as soon as next week, the NY Times reports. The recovery plan by an organization called NYCO Renaissance received approval from the NY state attorney general's office on Tuesday; City Opera orchestra musicians cheered the news.
A campaign to support the Thunder Bay Symphony continued with a pre-Christmas appeal in the Chronicle Herald. The TBSO faces significant funding challenges, and turning to the community with a goal of $225k.
Globe and Mail critic Robert Harris calls the Canadian Opera Company's lineup for 2016/17 "its most balanced, season in years". Rarely heard operas - a remounting of Harry Somers' Louis Riel (premiered in 1967) and Handel's Ariodante - join the bill with favourites including The Magic Flute, Tosca, Norma, and Gotterdammerung. 

Read more: Orchestra Digest: Jan 16th

Orchestra Digest: December 11th

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This week: Thunder Bay Symphony appeals for support; strong reports from Cleveland, Indy, and Minnesota; and a circus video we can't watch, but can't look away...
Thunder Bay Symphony deficit & other business news
The Thunder Bay Symphony is calling on supporters to help it through dire financial straits, CBC News reports; they have set a fundraising goal of $225K. Board chair Paul Inksetter and Executive Director Shannon Widden spoke to CBC yesterday morning on the challenges facing the orchestra.

The Cleveland Orchestra's annual report carried lots of good news, the Plain Dealer reports: increased attendance, endowment growth, and record-setting philanthropy were some highlights. The Orchestra's leadership is in transition, with longtime executive director Gary Hanson handing off to Quebec native Andre Gremillet.

Ticket and subscription sales also boosted the Indianapolis Symphony to a third-consecutive surplus, the Indy Business Journal reports. The $900K surplus in 2014-15 topped both of the previous years'. 
The court battle between groups seeking to revive the New York City Opera ended peacefully last week, as Gene Kaufman's group withdrew, the NY Times reports. A group backed by Roy G. Niederhoffer called NYCO Renaissance is now the only proposal; they plan to mount Puccini's Tosca in January, perhaps under the NYC Opera name. 
Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have donated $250K to their orchestra to establish a fund for musician-led education and outreach programming, the NY Times reports. The money was earned through musician-produced concerts during the 2012-14 lockout; the nonprofit organization which musicians formed during that lockout will dissolve after filing 2015 taxes. The announcement came with the MinnOrch's annual report for 2014-15, which finished with a small surplus. 

Read more: Orchestra Digest: December 11th

Orchestra Digest: November 28

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This week: TSO posts surplus, progress in Hartford, remembering Joseph Silverstein, and a look behind the audition screen in Cincinnati. Here are stories we're following...
Financial news
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra finished the 2014-15 season with a small surplus, the Globe and Mail reports. The black ink was thanks largely to strong fundraising, including major contributions from TSO board members. 
"We are just regular people looking to bring orchestral music to people's lives," says violist Thea Boyd, and the #WePlayOn Musicians are doing just that, as London Community News reports. Ms. Boyd spoke about the former Orchestra London musicians' latest initiatives as they prepared for their first concert at Museum London. The cocktail-hour concert featured Kevin Mallon conducting Haydn, Handel, and Richard Reed Parry (of Arcade Fire fame), the London Free Press reported.
Hartford Symphony management agreed to issue musicians contracts for the current season, after the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favour of the musicians' union (Local 400), the Hartford Courant reports. Violinist and musician representative Michael Pollard said the move "provides a starting point" to reach a new agreement. Neither side has threatened a work stoppage so far.
The Philadelphia Orchestra has seen attendance stagnate, despite a popular music director and thriving downtown, the Inquirer reports. The orchestra is questioning its operations with the help of consultant Michael Kaiser.
After near misses with insolvency and foreclosure (in 2008 and 2013, respectively), the Nashville Symphony is close to a full recovery, the Nashville Banner reports. President/CEO Alan Valentine credited strong ticket sales, donations both small and large, and diverse programming for the recent turnaround.

Read more: Orchestra Digest: November 28

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