Orchestra Digest: Summer edition

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Comings and goings: Music directors and execs
The Winnipeg Symphony announced that Alexander Mickelthwate will leave following the 2017/18 season, his 12th as music director. CBC News and the Free Press reported on the circumstances of Mickelthwate's departure, and Free Press columnist Holly Harris posted an appraisal of his tenure. 
Kent Nagano has announced he will leave his music director post with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal in 2020, the Globe and Mail reportsMontreal Gazette critic Arthur Kaptainis praised the decision, arguing he leaves the orchestra in strong form and with time for a smooth succession. 
The Thunder Bay Symphony announced the appointment of Paul Haas as its music director, effective this month, CBC News reports. Haas was among 7 finalists for the role; he also serves as music director of the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. The Symphony also recently announced Gerald McEachern as its new executive director, TB Newswatch reports.
The Hamilton Philharmonic renewed music director Gemma New's contract through the 2020/21 season, the Spectator reportsColumnist Emma Reilly assessed the HPO's "bold and innovative" direction, and found that the orchestra is thriving.
Roberto Minczuk, music director laureate of the Calgary Philharmonic, will become the first music director of the New Mexico Philharmonic, the Albuquerque Journal reports
Canadian conductor Alain Trudel will be the new music director of the Toledo Symphony, the Blade reports
Stephane Deneve will take over as music director of the St. Louis Symphony next season, as David Robertson leaves the post next season, the St Louis Business Journal reports.  
Canada's new Governor General, Julie Payette, is best known as an astronaut, but she is also an accomplished singer, who has performed with both Tafelmusik and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, CTV News reports.
The Minnesota Orchestra has extended music director Osmo Vänskä's contract through the 2021-22 season, the Star Tribune reports. At 19 seasons, his tenure will match that of the Orchestra's longest-serving music directors, Emil Oberhoffer and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. 
The San Francisco Symphony has appointed Mark Hanson as its new executive director, replacing Brent Assink, the Chronicle reports. Hanson is currently CEO of the Houston Symphony. 
Tours, broadcasts, and venue news
The Philadelphia Orchestra recently signed a broadcast deal with SiriusXM radio, which will produce 26 concert broadcasts through the course of next season. the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The Inquirer also reported that president/CEO Alison Vulgamore will leave the orchestra at the conclusion of her current contract, Dec. 31st.
The Toronto Symphony's May tour to Europe and Israel was its most high-profile trip in decades; the TSO was also the first North American orchestra to tour Israel in 20 years. Toronto Star music critic William Littler summarized the successful tour.
A Muslim-Canadian audience member at the TSO's final weekend of concerts claimed she was physically assaulted by another patron, the Toronto Star reported. The incident sparked controversy and discussion, including an interview on CBC's As It Happensletters to the Star's editorial page, and commentary in the Huffington Post. The TSO responded to the incident with a plan to give free tickets to 100 young musicians from underrepresented communities, the Star reports
The Winspear Centre, home of the Edmonton Symphony, celebrates its 20th year in 2017. There are also plans to renovate the Centre over the next 5 years, with a $53 million "Winspear Completion Project", CBC News reports.
Calgary's city council is considering a one-time grant of $2 million to be shared among ten "cornerstone" arts organizations, including the Calgary Philharmonic, the Herald reports. The proposal will go before council on Tuesday, July 18. 
Symphony Nova Scotia is launching a two-week summer season, July 17-31, LocalExpress.ca reports. The series brings a varied schedule of ensemble and orchestral concerts to venues throughout Halifax. 
Above and beyond
Canada's next Governor General, Julie Payette, is best known for her work as an astronaut -- but she is also an accomplished singer, having performed with Tafelmusik and the Orchestre Symphonique de MontrealCTV News reports
Federal Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr also found a recent opportunity to show off his musical talents, as an oboe soloist with the Winnipeg SymphonyCTV News reports. Carr's performance was part of a 70th-anniversary celebration for the Symphony. 
And London's Royal College of Music is surveying classical instrumentalists on their pre-performance routines. You're invited to take the survey at this link
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.

OCSM Conference Information

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Dear Delegates and Friends of OCSM: 

The 43rd annual Conference of the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM) will be held from August 13-17, 2018, at the Hotel PUR in Quebec City. The first day will be for OCSM Delegates, Officers, and designated AFM personnel only; the full open sessions will begin at 9 a.m. on August 14.

The hotel is part of the Tribute Portfolio chain, and is located at 395 Rue de la Couronne in Quebec City's Saint Roch district.

The link for on-line hotel reservations is here (specifically set up for our conference).

If the link provided is down, the hotel's booking reservations line is 1-800-267-2002; mention you are with the group "Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians" 

If you have any questions, please contact me or any other member of the OCSM Executive.

We hope you can come - we look forward to seeing you in August!


The OCSM Executive

Robert Fraser, President ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Matt Heller, 1st VP

Brian Baty, 2nd VP

Faith Scholfield, Secretary

Elizabeth Johnston, Treasurer

Orchestra Digest: May 12, 2017

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Note to readers: As you may have noticed, Orchestra Digest postings have grown rather sparse this season -- due not to a lack of orchestra news stories, but to my own limited capacity to compile and share them all! 
I will continue to do my best to highlight and summarize relevant stories, and would like to invite all of you to share interesting stories as well. Just make sure to identify yourself by name and orchestra at the start of the post. We moderate posts to the OCSM List, so if we notice anything amiss, we will let you know before it goes out to the list. I'm also happy to hear from you with any general suggestions or contributions to improve this newsletter. 
Thanks and happy reading! - Matt Heller
Tours and headlines from Canada's 150th 
As part of its Canada 150 celebration this weekend, the Saskatoon Symphony will stage an unlikely twofer: a citizenship ceremony combined with an all-Canadian concert -- CBC reports
The TSO embarked on a two-week tour of Europe and Israel this past week: the Toronto Star spoke with interim CEO Gary Hanson on the importance of international touring. 
The National Arts Centre Orchestra is also touring widely this spring, including a recent outing to Canada's East Coast. The Chronicle Herald previewed its busy Halifax stop, which included a side-by-side, chamber music, master classes, and more. 
And while Harry Somers' opera Louis Riel is gaining wide recognition in a new co-production by the Canadian Opera Company and National Arts Centre, it tells a Canadian story which has come to seem more tragic than celebratory. The Globe and MailCBC and the NY Times previewed the production and the complicated history it recounts.  

Read more: Orchestra Digest: May 12, 2017

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