Orchestra Digest: Influencers edition

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Influencers in the headlines
 
The Toronto Symphony named Matthew Loden its new CEO, the Toronto Star reports. Loden currently serves as interim co-president of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Loden will take over from interim CEO Gary Hansen this July. 
 
The Philadelphia Orchestra named Matías Tarnopolsky its new President and CEO in March, the NY Times reported; he currently leads Cal Performances at the University of California, Berkeley. 
 
The TSO also announced that Simon Rivard, currently the conductor-in-residence for the Thunder Bay Symphony, will take over as their resident conductor next season. CBC reports on the move and a conductor on the rise. 
 
Composer, violist, and teacher Quentin Doolittle has died at age 90, the Calgary Herald reports. Doolittle composed more than 60 works, including 4 operas; served as principal violist of the Calgary Philharmonic; founded New Works Calgary; and he was among the University of Calgary's first arts faculty. 
 
Elizabeth "Betty" Webster, Orchestra Canada's founding executive officer, has died at age 93, the Hamilton Spectator reports. Webster also directed the Hamilton Philharmonic from 1967 to 1975, and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1992. Orchestras Canada gives an annual award in her name for contributions to orchestral community. 
 
Irwin Hoffman, a past music director of the Vancouver Symphony (1952-1964) and founder of the Florida Orchestra, has died at age 93, Slipped Disc reports
 
National Ballet Orchestra of Canada principal percussionist Kristofer Maddigan was nominated for a Juno for best instrumental album, CTV News reports. Maddigan's composed the soundtrack to an indie video game, Cupheads.
 
Winners at the 2018 Juno Awards included Jan Lisiecki (Classical album of the year: Large ensemble); Barbara Hannigan (Classical album of the year: vocal or choral); and Jocelyn Morlock (Classical composition of the year). 
 
Conductor Noel Edison resigned as artistic director of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, after an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations, the Toronto Star reports. Edison had been nominated for a Grammy earlier this year for a recording with the TMC and TSO. 
 
The Globe and Mail profiled violinist Benjamin Bowman, the Metropolitan Opera's newly appointed concertmaster. Bowman previously served as associate concertmaster of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra for ten seasons. (Paywall)
 
 
 
Financial column
 
Quebec's three major orchestra will receive supplemental grants from the province, to be disbursed in supplements over five years, the Montreal Gazette reports. The total amounts of the grants are significant: $7.5m to the Montreal Symphony, $3m to the Quebec Symphony, and $2.5 million to Orchestre MétropolitainLudwig van Montreal also reported on the OM grant (in French), while Slipped Disc noted that OSM receives the most government funding of any North American orchestra. 
 
The San Antonio Symphony's season seemed poised to end on January 5th, as the board considered bankruptcy -- only to pull back from the brink, with the help of several key grants. Texas Public Radio reports on a crisis averted at the last possible moment. 
 
Eight of Calgary's "cornerstone" arts organizations, including the Calgary Philharmonic, are advocating for increases in municipal arts grants, which have been frozen for eight years, according to a report in the Calgary Herald. The organizations proposed a "sustainability framework" to a city council committee last week. 
 
The province of Alberta has set aside $13m to fund an expansion project for Edmonton's Winspear CentreCBC reports. The $53m project is roughly 50% funded, with completion targeted for 2022. 
 
A new report released by the U.K. Musicians' Union highlights the financial difficulties even full-time orchestral musicians are facing: salaries averaging 21k pounds (approx. $28,500 USD) coupled with high instrument costs and student loans. The findings were reported by New England Public Radio; the Musicians' Union is launching an awareness campaign
 
 
New seasons, collaborations, and reckonings
 
A drag queen, a Star Wars star, and local heroes will headline Symphony Nova Scotia Pops concerts next season, The Signal Halifax reports
 
The Hamilton Philharmonic's 2018/19 season, the Spectator reports, opens with Gemma New's favourite symphony (Brahms 1st), features a Bach Festival with Ivars Taurins, and closes with Mahler's 5th. 
 
For 2018/19, the Calgary Philharmonic welcomes Renee Fleming and Measha Brueggergosman as guests, and features an Under the Influence Festival, the Calgary Herald reports.
 
The Montreal Symphony's new season pays homage to some of the OSM's most iconic recordings, the Montreal Gazette reports, with programs featuring Berlioz, Dukas, Ravel, and Debussy.
 
The Thunder Bay Symphony hosted its first Indigenous concert last month, CBC News reported, spearheaded by musician/board member Shy-Anne Hovorka. 
 
Few orchestras, if any, touch their cities as deeply as the Baltimore Symphony, the NY Times reports: the BSO's OrchKids program now reaches over 1,300 students in 6 schools. The Times profiles some of those students with an extended photo essay. 
 
As #MeToo reckonings have touched classical music organizations in Toronto and elsewhere, Toronto Star critic John Terauds argues that classical music has enabled bad behaviour by prominent male artists, and asserts that we need to change such patterns. Globe and Mail critic Marsha Lederman surveys the reckoning in Toronto's arts scene more broadly, considering how structural power dynamics play a part. 
 
 
 
Notice a correction, or an orchestra news story I missed? Please email me at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or post to the list yourself! (Remember to include your name and orchestra in your post.) Thank you! - Matt Heller

Compiled by Matt Heller, with editorial assistance from Francine Schutzman and Robert Fraser. (Errors are Matt's!) 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: New seasons edition

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Deals, festivals, and a Mozart controversy

The New York Philharmonic reached agreement on a 3-year contract with modest salary increases, the NY Times reports. This was the first negotiation involving new President/CEO Deborah Borda, with new Music Director Jaap van Zweden set to take over in the fall.  

The Regina Symphony launched its new Forward Currents Festival this month, previewed in the Globe and Mail. Each year the festival will highlight a different social justice issue; this year's festival focused on Truth and Reconciliation, just weeks after the Gerald Stanley verdict in Colten Boushie's death sparked national outrage. 
 
The Vancouver Symphony's Spring Festival is underway this weekend, highlighting musical legends including Leonard Bernstein. The Georgia Straight previews the Festival. 
 
Symphony Nova Scotia has launched a new prize for women composers, the Maria Anna Mozart Award, and recently performed its first commission: Kelly-Marie Murphy's Dragon. The Chronicle Herald previewed the concert. 
 
The current Canadian Opera Company production of Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio reworked the text substantially to address the casual racism of the original, inserting around 30 minutes of spoken dialogue. Maclean's surveyed the critical reaction. 
 
 
People in the news
 
Among the tributes to Tommy Banks, who died of leukemia on Jan. 25th, were laudatory pieces in the Globe and MailCBC News, and Edmonton Journal. A well-attended remembrance ceremony took place Feb. 14th in Edmonton's Winspear Centre.
 
Alexander Neef, the Canadian Opera Company's general director for the past 10 years, will add a new role as artistic director of Santa Fe Opera, working alongside general director Robert K. Meya and music director Harry Bicket, the New York Times reports
 
The new general director of Calgary OperaKeith Cerny, has a history as a repetiteur for Richard Bradshaw, and as an innovator of opera technology in his previous post with Dallas Opera. The Globe and Mail profiled Cerny as he steps into his new role. 
 
Three days after the Metropolitan Opera fired James Levine, following an investigation into abuse allegations, Levine has sued the company for defamation and breach of contract, the NY Times reports
 
The Boston Symphony announced an independent investigation had found allegations against frequent guest conductor Charles Dutoit were credible, CBC News reported
 
Following Levine's firing, NY Times critic Zachary Woolfe asked: Should We Rethink Maestro Worship? Reporting on Charles Dutoit's tenure with the Montreal Symphony prompted a related commentary by Globe and Mail critic Robert Everett-Green
 
Many Canadian orchestra musicians (including yours truly) come via the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. The Toronto Star followed four such musicians from the TSO, Miles Jaques, Kelly Zimba, Clare Semes, and Charles Settle, as they worked with New World fellows and discussed the future of the profession.  
 
 
New seasons 
 
At the centre of the Edmonton Symphony's 2018-19 season, previewed by the Edmonton Journal, is a Sibelius mini-festival conducted by Alexander Prior. 
 
The Record spoke with new Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony music director Andrei Feher to preview his first season as music director, highlighting Russian and Eastern European repertoire.
 
The National Arts Centre Orchestra launched its 50th anniversary season with a bilingual YouTube video featuring music director Alexander ShelleyThe Globe and Mail also previewed the 2018-19 NAC season. 
 
The National Ballet of Canada's season opens with a new Anna Karenina, co-produced with the Hamburg and Bolshoi Ballets. The Toronto Star previews the entire season. 
 
As he oversees the Metropolitan Opera and Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin is standing by his city -- and Orchestre Métropolitain. The Montreal Gazette previewed OM's 2018-19 season, including Sibelius, Mahler, and Bartok.
 
The Regina Post-Leader offered a run-down of the Regina Symphony's new season under music director Gordon Gerrard, the RSO's 110th anniversary. 
 
Symphony Nova Scotia bids farewell to longtime music director Bernhard Gueller this May; resident conductor / community ambassador Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser spoke to the Chronicle Herald drumming up excitement for the upcoming season. 
 
The Toronto Star's John Terauds and Globe and Mail's Jenna Simeonov agree: the Toronto Symphony's 2018-19 season will be familiar, traditional, and safe. Both critics previewed the upcoming season with interim artistic director Sir Andrew Davis, a transition year amid a music director search.
 
Under music director Robert Franz, the Windsor Symphony takes a welcoming approach, inviting audience members to join the orchestra on stage in a series titled Beer and Beethoven. The Windsor Star previewedtheir 2018-19 season.
 
The Winnipeg Symphony's 2018-19 season will be its first under music director Daniel RaiskinCBC posted a preview, and reported recently on the announcement of Raiskin's appointment. He grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, studying violin, viola, and conducting. 
 
 
Notice a correction, or an orchestra news story I missed? Please email me at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or post to the list yourself! (Remember to include your name and orchestra in your post.) Thank you! - Matt Heller

Compiled by Matt Heller, with editorial assistance from Francine Schutzman. 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: Innovators edition

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New seasons and the rise of the supertitle
 
The Canadian Opera Company has announced its 2018/19 season, with six productions ranging from Mozart's Cosí fan tutte to a world premiere, Rufus Wainwright's Hadrian. The Globe and Mail previewed the season's notable performers and story lines. 
 
It's been 35 years since the Canadian Opera Company started a trend that revolutionized opera: supertitles. NPR News reported on how the projections brought a surge of popularity to the form. 
 
Tafelmusik also announced its 2018/19 season, its 40th anniversary, previewed in the Toronto Star:  it will include a new multimedia work by oboist Marco Cera and a return of another multimedia work by bassist Alison Mackay. The Globe and Mail notes the ensemble will tour the US and Canada. 
 
 
Canadian arts jobs, new music, and awards
 
Are non-Canadians sweeping up too many of Canada's most sought-after arts administration jobs? Should we be concerned about it? This weekend, the Globe and Mail looked at the issue, and factors behind an influx of foreign managers. 
 
In a recent piece for the Vancouver Courier, Clarisse Tonigussi, who started the Canadian Women Composers Project, argues that we've neglected and overlooked many of our most talented artists.
 
The Vancouver Symphony New Music Festival recently concluded under the direction of VSO composer-in-residence Jocelyn Morlock, the Sun reports. The festival also included a new violin concerto by composer-in-association Marcus Goddard, along with works by Samy Moussa and Andrew Staniland.
 
The Winnipeg Symphony wraps its Winnipeg New Music Festival (WNMF) this weekend; it featured Winnipeg composers Steven Webb and Kristen Wachniak, a Philip Glass premiere, the JACK Quartet, and much more. The Manitoban and CBC filed previews. 
 
The Houston Symphony, under former Calgary Philharmonic music director Hans Graf, won its first-ever Grammy Award last weekend, the Houston Chronicle reports. Their release of Berg's Wozzeck won for best opera recording. Canadian Barbara Hannigan also won for best classical vocal album, the LA Times reports. Other awards went to the Pittsburgh SymphonyNashville Symphony, and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.  
 
 
 
People in the news
 
Former Toronto Symphony principal violist Teng Li has accepted the same position with the LA Philharmonic, the Violin Channel reports
 
Concerning reports continue to arise regarding former Montreal Symphony music director Charles Dutoit's behaviour towards musicians, and how complaints were handled by the OSM. Le Devoir reports (in French). The CBC still features many Dutoit/OSM recordings, but no longer credits him in broadcasts, the Montreal Gazette reports
 
Former Opera Hamilton and Hamilton Philharmonic artistic director Daniel Lipton is wanted on sexual assault charges, which he denies, the Spectator reports. He was more recently artistic director of Opera Tampa, but resigned last July. 
 
Celebrating his "restless creative spirit", friends, students, and colleagues spoke to CBC News and the Edmonton Journal about jazz pianist and former Senator Tommy Banks, who died last week at the age of 81.
 
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Got a correction, or an orchestra news story I missed? Please email me at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or post to the list yourself! (Remember to include your name and orchestra in your post.) Thank you! - Matt Heller

Compiled by Matt Heller, with editorial assistance from Francine Schutzman. 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.
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