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New Toronto Symphony CEO Mark Williams: photo Russell Lee/TSOThe latest coverage of orchestras, people, and trends in the arts. Here are stories we're following. (Newly hired Toronto Symphony CEO Mark Williams, photo Russell Lee/TSO)


Arts and pandemic coverage

Protests in Ottawa extended into a fifth day, disrupting many businesses and causing concern about when and how the demonstrations will end, CBC News reports

Organizers of Quebec City’s Winter Carnival, scheduled to open this Friday, are also voicing concerns, as protesters plan demonstrations there beginning Thursday, CBC News reports.

While Ontario has lifted some restrictions, concert presenters still face complications and uncertainties, the Globe and Mail reports. While cinemas, casinos, and restaurants are returning to full capacity later this month, the province will maintain a 50% capacity limit on live arts events through at least mid-March. 

Globe and Mail journalist Kate Taylor also reported on the current arts climate: Omicron decimated Canada’s performing arts centres, but lifting restrictions gives cause for optimism. 

The Globe and Mail’s daily news podcast, The Decibel, featured an interview with Taylor about the pandemic’s devastating impact on the arts, lingering uncertainties, and the prospect for a comeback. The audio story is available through various podcast apps, and at the Globe and Mail website. 

People in the news

The Toronto Symphony appointed Mark Williams as its new CEO, the Globe and Mail reports. Williams previously worked at the Cleveland Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony.  

The NY Times reported further on the abrupt resignation last month of Seattle Symphony music director Thomas Dausgaard, calling it an “unusually bitter, and open, rupture,” and an example of strained relations affecting many ensembles. New York Philharmonic music director Jaap van Zweden has also announced an unusually early departure, in 2024. 

Lithuanian conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla was profiled in the NY Times. Gražinytė-Tyla will step down as music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony this year; while mentioned as a top contender for US orchestras, she has maintained a streak of independence.  

The NY Times also reviewed “The Conductor”, a feature documentary on Marin Alsop


US orchestra news

A mediated negotiation of the San Antonio Symphony labour dispute has been scheduled for February 14, according to the San Antonio Report. The union proposed terms for a shortened season early in January, though the management has not formally responded. 

The Dallas Symphony is offering free Covid tests to audience members without proof of vaccination, the Dallas News reports. Patrons are asked to arrive at least 60 minutes before the concert, and tickets will be refunded if they test positive. At a recent concert, 51 people participated and 2 tested positive. 


Schedule changes 

The National Ballet of Canada will be back on stage in March with slight changes, Ludwig Van reports.

The Winnipeg Symphony has pared back its February concerts, but the New Music Festival went ahead with reduced capacity and some programming tweaks, the Winnipeg Free Press reported.

The Regina Symphony has rescheduled several postponed concerts, beginning with a Pops concert with Sarah Slean now slated for March, the Leader-Post reports.  

Radio Canada previewed Quebec performances planned for February (in French): Reprise des arts vivants : quoi voir en février? 

Compiled by Matt Heller and Melissa Goodchild, with assistance from the OCSM Editorial Committee. Please send comments, corrections, and content tips to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..