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

Orchestra Digest: May 14, 2016

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Canadian news: Federal survey, CPO launch, farewell to Victor Sawa

 
The Government of Canada Heritage is surveying Canadians about the future of Canadian content in a digital world - we encourage you to express the importance of compensation for artists, performers, and other content creators! The survey is available both in English and en français
 
The Calgary Philharmonic has announced its 2016-17 season, the Herald reports. Return visits from Music Director Laureate Roberto Minczuk, the Requiems of Brahms and Mozart, and an adventurous pops series make up some of the highlights. 
 
A cover story in Maclean's recounts the story of "The impresario, the heiress, and the juiciest divorce ever". Jeff Melanson and Eleanor McCain parted ways in January, leading to an escalating public battle and Melanson's resignation as TSO President/CEO. 
 
The Regina Symphony shared a final bow with music director Victor Sawa last Saturday, performing Beethoven's 9th, CBC News reports. Sawa has led the RSO for 20 seasons.
 

Read more: Orchestra Digest: May 14, 2016

Orchestra Digest: April 16

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This week: Raves for OSM and Victoria Symphony tours; raises for Oregon and Grand Rapids Symphonies; and the Met Opera bids farewell to the James Levine era. Here are stories we're following...
 
 
Canadian orchestras: tours and new seasons
 
The Thunder Bay Symphony announced its 2016-17 season, the final season for music director Arthur Post, the Chronicle Journal reports. Highlights include world premieres by Christos Hatzis and Jordan Nobles, and a season opening Mahler 4.
 
Rising star soloists and guest conductors highlight the Edmonton Symphony's 2016-17 season, the Edmonton Journal reports
 
A recent tour by the Montreal Symphony left critics raving across the US: "Refined viruosity" - Boston Globe; "Gallic brilliance" - Chicago Tribune; "an orgiastic smashing of meter into tiny pieces rendered with frighteningly stark precision" - San Diego Union-Tribune. (I think that's a compliment.)
 
The Victoria Symphony's tour gathered some kudos as well: "Verve and passion and volcanic energy" - Ottawa Citizen. Music director Tania Miller filed a series of reports for the Victoria Times-Colonist, and spoke to the Toronto Star about changing expectations for female conductors. 
 
 
US orchestras: contract news
 
The Oregon Symphony signed a new 3-year contract, which will raise musician salaries for the first time since 2011, the Oregonian reports. Musicians accepted pay cuts and givebacks in 2010, 2012-13, and 2013-14; the current raises will be tied to the national Consumer Price Index. 
 
Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony agreed to a three-week furlough, equivalent to a 10% cut in annual pay, to address financial instability, Texas Public Radio reports. SAS President David Gross promised a clean balance sheet by 2017-18.
 
After 11 months of negotiations, the Grand Rapids Symphony reached terms on a 5-year musician contract, MLive reports, including small incremental pay raises. The GRSO is in the final stages of a music director search as well. 
 
Writing in Classical Voice America, journalist James L. Paulk reviewed the labour history of the Atlanta Symphony and some promising developments since the 2014 lockout.
 
 
People in the news
 
Metropolitan Opera music director James Levine, hailed as "transformative" and an audience favourite, will step down after this season, the New York Times reports. Levine has faced a series of health problems, including Parkinson's disease. 
 
Symphony Nova Scotia composer-in-residence Dinuk Wijeratne won the Juno Award for Classical Composition of the Year, the Chronicle Herald reports. Wijeratne's Two Pop Songs on Antique Poems can be heard on the Afiara Quartet's recording, Spin Cycle.
 
Allegations of professional and personal improprieties brought an abrupt end to Jeff Melanson's tenure as Toronto Symphony President/CEO, the Toronto Star reportsSonia Baxendale, a member of the TSO Board, is serving as interim President/CEO.
 
And CBC reports on a touching gift: after homeless busker Mark Landry's violin was stolen, Orchestre Métropolitain staff contacted Maison du Violon and hand-delivered a new instrument.
 

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.
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