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.
 
 

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Orchestra Digest: Nov. 1st

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This week: Pit news from Ottawa and Toronto, London approves orchestral funding, and musician fashion turns heads in San Antonio. Here are stories we're following...
 
 
Pit bulletins
 
A hopeful note for Ottawa's Opera Lyra, which ceased operations last month: Timothy Vernon has taken the cause to funders, politicians, and community leaders, with hopes to re-form the board and (perhaps) revive the organization, the Ottawa Citizen reports
 
The National Ballet of Canada finished the 2014-15 season with a modest surplus, the Globe and Mail reports. The company has been in the black for the past six seasons; the current season will feature the first Ballet's first new full-length Canadian commission in 10 seasons. 
 
The Canadian Opera Company also pulled in with a slight surplus, its fifth straight, the Globe and Mail reports. COC is currently presenting Barbara Monk Feldman's Pyramus and Thisbe, its first Canadian premiere in 16 years; both the Globe and Mail and CBC previewed the new work.
 
 

Read more: Orchestra Digest: Nov. 1st

Orchestra Digest: Election edition!

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This week: The election and the arts, Opera Lyra, #WePlayOn, and news from Philly. Here are stories we're following...
 
 
Vote!
 
Almost every angle of this election has been covered - though as Globe and Mail's Marsha Lederman writes, arts and culture issues have gotten little attention on the campaign trail. That's despite the many artists who spoken out on politics, often using #artsvote or #ImagineOct20th.
 
If you're still weighing your options, the Canadian Arts Coalition has assembled Federal Party Positions on Arts on Culture, based on a questionnaire that all but the Conservatives answered.
 
And the Toronto Symphony recently hosted a forum for candidates from the Green Party, NDP, Liberals, and Conservatives to answer questions about their policies and the importance of the arts to Canada.
 
The Globe and Mail's Simon Houpt writes of the CBC: The election issue that wasn't (but should have been). While the parties have made their promises of financial support, there has been little talk about the overall purpose and role of the public media space.
 
 
Opera Lyra and #WePlayOn
 
And amid the election coverage, last Wednesday was a very sad day for the performing arts in Ottawa: Opera Lyra has ceased operations due to a budget shortfall, the Ottawa Citizen reports. The season has been cancelled; the Board is reviewing options for reviving operations in some form in the future.
 
The #WePlayOn Musicians performed Beethoven's 9th with guest conductor Bramwell Tovey, who later tweeted "#WePlayOn concert one of most memorable of my career. Standing O for @OLC_Musicians as they entered was deeply moving #Bravo". 
 
The Musicians are calling on Londoners, patrons, and orchestral music fans to make their voices hear and engage with their strategic planning process, as they work to build a new organization.
 
 

Read more: Orchestra Digest: Election edition!

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