Pin It

Composer John EstacioRead on for coverage of labour disputes in San Antonio and Springfield; a wave of Omicron cancellations; opinions and people in the news, including composer and Order of Canada recipient John Estacio. (Photo: CBC News)


Labour news

The New York Times reported on the pandemic struggles of orchestras with ‘underlying conditions’, focusing on the San Antonio Symphony and Springfield (Massachusetts) Symphony Orchestra, both of which remain in contentious labour disputes. 

As the San Antonio Symphony strike continues, some musicians have found work or relocated to other cities, according to San Antonio News Report. For those with deeper roots in San Antonio, the decision to leave is more fraught.

Omicron cancellations

The Omicron surge has led to a wave of cancellations across the country in recent weeks and days (this list is partial and as of January 8th); some orchestras have released or expanded online offerings:

  • The Montreal Symphony postponed and cancelled some January concerts, while offering a free online performance of Brahms 1 recorded last January, Global News reports;
  • La Presse also reported (in French) on January shutdowns by OSM and Orchestre Métropolitain
  • While live concerts are shut down, the Thunder Bay Symphony is offering free streaming concerts for a limited time, Thunder Bay News Watch reports;  
  • The Windsor Symphony is releasing an online series about music and food, CBC News reports;
  • The Winnipeg Symphony cancelled some January concerts, but hopes that the New Music Festival may still go ahead, Global News reports;
  • While Saskatchewan has so far not restricted gatherings, many cultural events in the province have cancelled, including performances by the Saskatoon Symphony, CBC News reports;
  • The Calgary Philharmonic cancelled upcoming performances with pianist Yuja Wang and concertmaster Diana Cohen, per a press release posted at Broadway World



Anthony Tommasini reflected on his life as a devoted classical music listener and New York Times arts critic, in a piece titled What Shouldn’t Change About Classical Music

Globe and Mail critic Kate Taylor lamented the fickleness of arts shutdowns, in a piece titled Arbitrary shutdowns show that most Canadian leaders don’t value artists. Taylor argues that relatively few exposures have been linked to arts events, and that disruptions to events have real negative consequences for the cultural workers, as well as the social fabric and psychological health.  


People in the news

Edmonton-based composer John Estacio is among the newest class of Order of Canada recipients, CBC News reports.

CBC News profiled Bernard Neumann, an internationally acclaimed violin maker from Montreal now based in Cremona. 

Longtime Chicago Symphony principal horn Dale Clevenger has died, at age 81, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Seattle Symphony music director Thomas Dausgaard abruptly stepped down this week, the Seattle Times reports.

The St. Louis Symphony has created a new position, VP for external affairs and equity, diversity, and inclusion, hiring St. Louis native Yolanda Alovor for the role, STLPR reports.

And the National Youth Orchestra of Canada appointed Sascha Goetzel as music director for a 2-year term, Ludwig Van reports


Compiled by Matt Heller and Melissa Goodchild, with assistance from the OCSM Editorial Committee.