Orchestra Digest: Oct. 5, 2016

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This week: Strike updates and the agreement in Philly; music directors on the move; and #WePlayOn consider their next incarnation. Here are stories we're following...
Strike updates: Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, and reactions elsewhere
Last Friday, Pittsburgh Symphony musicians went on strike after rejecting a proposal that would cut pay, freeze pensions, and reduce orchestra size, the NY Times reports. Concerts through Oct. 27th have been cancelled, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports
Musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony appreciate your support, through phone calls and letter-writing and social media (on Facebook and Twitter). Please visit their website for news and updates.  
With a strike now at 4 weeks, Fort Worth Symphony management has cancelled concerts through Nov. 6, the Star-Telegram reports.
Fort Worth Symphony Musicians continue actively performing in the community and rebutting management statements in the press. Please follow their FacebookTwitter, and website for frequent updates and to sign their petition in support of "Growth, not Cuts"
The NY Times reported more details on the Philadelphia Orchestra agreement, reached Sunday after a two-day strike cancelled an opening gala concert. The three-year contract includes raises of 2% this season, 2.5% in the following two seasons, one position restored to the complement, and increased Sunday performances. 
While strikes often fuel a media narrative of decline, Douglas McLennan of ArtsJournal recently highlighted signs that many symphonies are thriving. McLennan includes examples from St. Louis, Kansas City, Atlanta, and elsewhere. 
NY Times critic Michael Cooper spotlights success stories in LA and Grand Rapids, in advancing the argument that challenges facing certain orchestras may be the result of local economic trends, rather than national ones.
Music director news; Re-branding in London
Bill Eddins will end his 12-year run as music director of the Edmonton Symphony after this season, the Edmonton Journal reports. Eddins listed the orchestra's 2012 tour to Carnegie Hall as a highlight of his tenure. He will remain involved to oversee a major project to expand the Winspear Centre.
It will be 14 seasons for Tania Miller, who conducted the opening concert of her final season with the Victoria Symphony on Sept. 24th, Victoria News reported. Executive director Mitchell Krieger said Miller has taken "a good orchestra and made it into a great orchestra."
Cleveland Orchestra associate conductor Brett Mitchell has been appointed the next music director of the Colorado Symphony, the Plain Dealer reports. The Denver Business Journal reports that the appointment came just after the Colorado Symphony announced an unprecedented budget surplus. 
While new music directors often get profiled in the local paper, it's the rare conductor who writes his own introduction. New Regina Symphony MD Gordon Gerrard did just that for the Leader-Post, describing the excitement of joining a new orchestra in an unfamiliar city. As part of initiatives to engage the community, Gerrard will contribute a biweekly column to the Leader-Post. 
Brent Assink, the San Francisco Symphony's longtime executive director, will step down in March,  the SF Chronicle reports
And #WePlayOn, the self-run orchestra of former Orchestra London musicians, is rebranding, with some crowdsourced help, the London Free Press reports. Their most recent media release also announced a slate of fall concerts, beginning Nov. 11th. 
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. You may also want to check Orchestras Canada's Job Board, sponsored by the CFM. 

Orchestra Digest: Sept. 10

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We're following major stories this week in Fort Worth, Texas and in Calgary...
Strike in Fort Worth
Musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony went on strike Thursday, the NY Times reports; season-opening performances this weekend have been cancelled. 
The move comes after a concessionary proposal was rejected on Sunday, the Star-Telegram reported
FWSO musicians are posting updates at their website and Facebook. Earlier this summer, they also posted a series of videos about the situation on YouTube.
Petitions and concern follow cuts at Mount Royal Conservatory
CBC News reports concern and outrage among Mount Royal Conservatory students and the wider musical community, in Calgary and worldwide, after the dismissal of a highly regarded cello instructor, John Kadz, and demotion of a Conservatory administrator and distinguished violin instructor, Bill van der Sloot. Administrators said the moves were due to financial pressures.
OCSM Conference Highlights
The 2016 OCSM Conference met in Calgary, August 8-12th. Five days of meetings, workshops, reports and discussion are hard to sum up in a few words, but we've compiled a two-page Conference Highlights document for a start. 
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. You may also want to check Orchestras Canada's Job Board, sponsored by the CFM. 

OCSM Conference Highlights

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Highlights from the 2016 OCSM Conference in Calgary, Alberta, August 8-12, 2016



Jazz pianist and retired Senator Tommy Banks gave a keynote address on lobbying of provincial and federal governments, and within the AFM. He argued the arts sector needs a unified presence before legislators, which was lost when the Canadian Conference for the Arts dissolved; and that AFM media policies could better reflect the interests of its broader membership.

Airline policy: The CFM is working to harmonize Canadian regulations with those of the US FAA. Int. Rep. Allistair Elliott updated OCSM on this effort, providing a sample letter for orchestras, player associations, and other organizations to endorse and support reasonable measures for consistent, safe regulations for carry-on and checked musical instruments.

Canada Council: Previously Dir. of the Music Section, Aimé Dontigny discussed how Canada Council is abolishing such fiefdoms, creating a more diverse and fluid vision for federal arts funding, while aiming to show that significantly increased arts funding can bring significant, tangible benefits nationwide, and elevate Canada’s place on the world stage.

Orchestras Matter: Orchestras Canada Exec. Dir. Katherine Carleton reported on her wide-ranging activities, including a public awareness campaign through the websites orchestrasmatter.ca and lesorchestrescomptent.ca.

“Musicians of” websites: The Advocacy Committee challenged all OCSM orchestras to develop website and social media presences, offering guidelines and recommendations for how to manage, maintain, produce relevant content, and cooperate with our organizations.

OCSM President Robert Fraser addressed Delegates on how orchestras can and do make our cities and communities better, safer, and more attractive.



French services: AFM President Ray Hair and Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert discussed how the AFM and CFM are working with Local 406 (Quebec) to translate key documents and support the added costs of serving a bilingual membership.  

International Federation of Musicians: The International Orchestra Conference will be in Montreal, May 11-14, 2017. Local 406 Exec. Dir. Mylène Cyr shared plans and highlights, encouraging Delegates and other OCSM members to attend.

Social media: Legal counsel Michael Wright spoke on risks inherent in electronic communications, including email and social media. While certain labour actions may be protected, privacy is rarely certain, consequences can be profound, and free speech is not a defense for negative and inappropriate comments relating to employers.

Wage charts: Communications Coordinator Laurence Hoffman demonstrated new tools for collecting and presenting key data, now available in a password-protected section of the AFM website: wagechart.afm.org.



Preparatory work continues on a comprehensive symphonic media agreement, which the CFM plans to negotiate with a multi-employer group.



Rights of Extras: Legal counsel Michael Wright addressed the basis for including extras in preparing for, negotiating, and ratifying symphonic agreements, as well as how this may play out in practice.

Pattern Bargaining: AFM President Ray Hair spoke on the strengths of this approach, which pressures multiple employers to match and exceed fair standards for quality wages and benefits; and the perils of being “pattern bargained in reverse”, when managers are able to isolate employee groups and undercut standards achieved elsewhere.


Resolutions, honours, elections

ICSOM Chair Bruce Ridge and ROPA President Carla Lehmeier-Tatum were warmly thanked for their stellar contributions and friendship to Canadian musicians. Their terms of office ended this summer.

A new Honour Roll was instituted to recognize such outstanding service to OCSM’s causes, and an initial list of honorees was approved. It includes outgoing Treasurer Greg Sheldon, who served from 2008-2016.

Elections: OCSM 2nd Vice President Liz Johnston was elected to the office of Treasurer, and Niagara Symphony Delegate Brian Baty was elected to replace Liz as 2nd VP.


Save the dates

Sept. 15: Deadline for submissions to Una Voce, issue 1

Oct. 25: Canadian Arts Coalition’s Day on the Hill

Oct. 31: Deadline for “New Chapter”, Canada Council’s program for grants relating to Canada’s 150th anniversary

Dec. 1: Deadline for submitting OCSM Dues and Directory information

May 11-14: International Federation of Musicians (FIM) Orchestra Conference in Montreal


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