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  • 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.
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