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Conductor Gustavo Gimeno, photo by Anne Dokter

News from the Canadian orchestral scene and beyond, compiled by OCSM 1st VP Matt Heller. This week, more conductor news than you can wave a baton at, including the long-awaited appointment of the Toronto Symphony's next music director, Gustavo Gimeno (pictured here). 





March of the Maestros

The Toronto Symphony has appointed Gustavo Gimeno its next music director, beginning in the 2020-21 season, the Globe and Mail reports. Born in Valencia, Mr. Gimeno is currently music director of the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg. CBC News, the Toronto Star, and the NY Times also reported on the appointment. 

Vancouver Symphony music director Otto Tausk spoke to the Sun about beginning his tenure with Renee Fleming and Strauss' Four Last Songs, and the process of collaboration that goes into shaping an orchestra's sound. 

Winnipeg Symphony music director Daniel Raiskin spoke with Global News Winnipeg on his background, career path, world travels, and finding a home and musical connections in Winnipeg.

Hamilton Philharmonic music director Gemma New appeared at the Tanglewood Music Festival this summer as a conducting fellow, the Spectator reports, working with artists such as Thomas Adès, Emanuel Ax, Andris Nelsons, and Herbert Blomstedt. 

Calgary Philharmonic music director Rune Bergmann is asking Calgarians to give the CPO a try -- while inviting audiences everywhere to join in as well through a series of live-streamed performances, the Herald reports

National Arts Centre Orchestra music director Alexander Shelley and his wife, Zoe Shelley, recently welcomed their first child, the Ottawa Citizen reported. To add to the excitement, the NACO began its 2018/19 season with a 10-day Beethoven festival, performing all 9 symphonies. The baby, a boy, was not named Ludwig. Mr. Shelley's NACO contract was recently extended through 2023, the Citizen reports

As he starts his penultimate season with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, what's music director Kent Nagano looking forward to? Ockeghem. In 2019. With the OSM Chorus. The surprises aren't over yet -- the Montreal Gazette reports

And the Thunder Bay Symphony has appointed Melissa Biroun as its new conductor-in-residence, CBC News reports. Biroun takes over from Simon Rivard, now resident conductor with the Toronto Symphony. 

State of the symphony / opera

The National Arts Centre has completed a major acoustic upgrade for Southam Hall, the NACO's main performance space, to positive reviews, CBC News reports

The Thunder Bay Symphony has struggled with financial pressures in recent seasons, but executive director Gerald McEachern told CBC News that they have a plan for a brighter future, notably through new audience initiatives, approaches to programming, and discussions about a new venue. 

Should symphony orchestras dive deeper into the operatic repertoire? Toronto Star music critic William Littler argues so, pointing to the cases of the San Francisco Symphony (which has regularly performed semi-staged operas) and the Toronto Symphony (which has not). 

Are female classical composers finally having a moment? Vancouver Sun critic David Gordon Duke points to Vancouver's proud history of successful composers who are women, and the Vancouver Symphony's increasing recognition of them. 

The Metropolitan Opera under its new music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, made headlines this week by announcing it will commission new operas by Missy Mazzoli, Jeanine Tesori, and Mason Bates, among other composers, the NY Times reports. Ms. Mazzoli and Ms. Tesori will be the first two women composers ever commissioned by the Met Opera, and among the first women composers ever performed there.

What did you do this summer? department

The Edmonton Symphony offered adult amateurs a chance to make music with the pros, with its first Rusty Musicians Summer Camp, Global News Edmonton reported

Regina Symphony production manager Andrew Manera talked to the Leader Post about all the complications of presenting an outdoor symphony concert in the summer, as the RSO has since 1997 with its Symphony Under the Sky. 

On July 31st, an attack in the offices of the Saskatoon Symphony left executive director Mark Turner injured and in shock. CBC News reported the incident, including the orchestra's re-evaluation on whether to move its office from a downtown location. The perpetrator fled the scene, but a suspect was later apprehended. 

The Calgary Philharmonic regularly performs at the Calgary Stampede's Heavy Horse Show, but musicians rarely saddle up -- except for CPO violinist Adriana Lebedovich. While recovering from an injury, Lebedovich took the opportunity to enter the competition, 660 News reports. A recent addition to the CPO, principal clarinetist Slavko Popovic, spoke with the Hamilton Spectator about the thrill of winning an orchestra audition. 

The Baltimore Symphony's principal oboist filed a discrimination lawsuit against the BSO, alleging a hostile work environment with the orchestra's concertmaster as the main offender, the Baltimore Sun reports. The suit was filed after an independent investigation commissioned by the BSO, which found corroboration for some complaints but concluded that the concertmaster's actions did not constitute retaliation. The Sun article reviewed several harassment cases and complaints in other orchestras. 

Compiled by Matt Heller, with editorial assistance from Francine Schutzman and Robert Fraser. Notice a correction? Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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