This week: Symphonic news from Ottawa, Baltimore, and Saskatoon...
The National Arts Centre
is celebrating its 50th anniversary this Sunday, June 2nd; the Ottawa Citizen spoke with
executive director and longtime NACO manager Christopher Deacon about the state of the NAC, its current initiatives and his vision for its future.
The management of the Baltimore Symphony
abruptly cancelled the orchestra's summer season, citing "long term systemic issues" and a need to change the business model. BSO musicians' last contract expired in September 2018, and management has demanded a cut from a 52- to a 40-week season, the Washington Post reports
The Saskatoon Symphony
ran a successful fundraising campaign and achieved a surplus for 2018-19, its first in recent memory, the Star Phoenix reports
. Music director Eric Paetkau
and executive director Mark Turner
also spoke to the Star Phoenix
about the SSO's 19/20 season.
Concert hall worries in Winnipeg; Symphony Nova Scotia music director finalists; a late swap in Montreal; hearing aid research in Hamilton; the Pittsburgh Symphony's recovery plan, and more. Photo: WSO performing at Centennial Concert Hall, Nov. 2014, photo by blogger Jennifer Lynn Grace
Canadian orchestra news
Symphony Nova Scotia
has narrowed its music director search to two finalists: Quebec-based Jean-Michel Malouf
and New Zealand-born Holly Mathieson.
Both will conduct the SNS in the fall, the Chronicle Herald reports
CBC News reported
on a last-minute programme change Wednesday at the Montreal Symphony
, via OSM bassist Scott Feltham: after concerto soloist Daniil Trifonov's last-minute cancellation due to illness, conductor Karina Canellakis
conducted Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony without rehearsal. Trifonov recovered and performed on Thursday and Friday.
Winnipeg's Centennial Concert Hall shell is in dire need of repair, according to Winnipeg Symphony executive director Trudy Schroeder
's recent comments, reported by Global News
. The orchestra is calling on the province, the concert hall's landlord, to fund improvements.
Both Trudy Schroeder
and Brandon native James Ehnes
were among the recipients of the Order of Manitoba this year, the Winnipeg Sun reports
In partnership with the Hamilton Philharmonic
, McMaster University's LiveLab is working to develop better hearing aids and PA systems with a study of audience members' listening experience, the Spectator reports
While on tour in London, the National Arts Centre Orchestra
connected youth orchestras in both countries in an event showcasing top talents as well as technology, the Ottawa Citizen reports
And the NY Times profiled
the Pittsburgh Symphony
and its music director, Manfred Honeck.
Following a 55-day strike in 2015, the orchestra has made a series of well-received recordings of standard repertoire. Several musician-led initiatives have sought to reconnect to the community.
Seven-week CSO strike ends; NACO tours Europe; new inclusive offerings in Toronto, Edmonton, and Halifax; and more. Photo credit: H Edgar, Chicago Classical Review.
Chicago Symphony ends strike
The Chicago Symphony
reached a five-year agreement last weekend, ending a strike which began March 10th. The deal followed meetings at City Hall with Mayor Rahm Emanuel
, the Sun-Times reported
. This was the first time in Mayor Emanuel's eight-year term that he attempted to broker a compromise in a labour dispute.
At issue in the seven-week strike was the CSO's pension, which will shift from a defined-benefit to defined-contribution plan, the NY Times reports
. Wages will also increase in each of the five years: 2, 2, 2.5, 3.25, and 3.5% in the final year, which will bring base salaries to USD 181,272.
The NY Times reports:
The strike was also notable for the unusual involvement of the orchestra’s revered music director, Riccardo Muti, since conductors usually avoid seeming to take sides in labor disputes. But before the strike began, Mr. Muti wrote to the orchestra’s board and management, saying, “I am with the musicians,” and he later appeared with the players on the picket line.
Canadian orchestra news
A significant rent increase at Victoria's Royal Theatre, which would impact the Victoria Symphony
and other arts groups, was postponed and will now take two years to go into effect, CBC News reported
. Arts groups are advocating for more public consultation on funding and the impact of rent hikes.
The National Arts Centre Orchestra
's May European tour, titled Crossings
, will highlight contemporary Canadian composers, the Ottawa Citizen reports
. With stops in London, Paris, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Utrecht, and Saffron Walden, NACO will perform works by Ana Sokolovic and Jocelyn Morlock, along with more traditional fare by Ravel, Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Dvorak.
The Toronto Symphony
recently offered its first 'relaxed performance', a concert specifically designed for neurodiverse audiences and those on the autism spectrum. TSO cellist Winona Zelenka wrote an opinion piece for Toronto.com
explaining and applauding the initiative.
Similar events have already been programmed by other orchestras and arts presenters, including Symphony Nova Scotia
, as the Chronicle Herald reports
The Edmonton Symphony
will feature drag performer and violinist Thorgy Thor on an upcoming concert, one of several drag performances at the Winspear Centre this season. CBC News reported
on the growing acceptance of drag within mainstream culture.
The Saskatoon Symphony
recently premiered a violin concerto written in 1938 by Heinz Moehn, best known as a music editor for Barenreiter, the StarPhoenix reported
. Moehn's grandson, Johannes Dyring, moved to Saskatoon in 2015 and advocated for the work; it was performed by violinist Timothy Chooi.
The McGill Chamber Orchestra has assumed a new name, Orchestre classique de Montréal
. The Montreal Gazette reports
on the history behind the names.