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  • Orchestra Digest: April 13th

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    This week: London city council mulls a new orchestra fund; TSO faces an uproar after cancelling Lisitsa; and how do session musicians make ends meet? Here are stories we're following...

    News from Ontario orchestras: London, K-W, and Windsor

    This afternoon, the London city council's Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee considers a proposal to outlay $300k to the London Arts Council for orchestra-related initiatives, the London Free Press and AM980 News report. Half of the grant would fund study into creating a sustainable, professional orchestra model for London; the other half would create a "We Play on Performance Fund" in support of the Musicians of Orchestra London.

    The London Free Press surveyed city council members over the weekend, and found the picture mixed: 3 were opposed or leaning that way, 4 in favour, and 3 undecided; 3 others could not be reached. The meeting is underway at 4pm EST today.

    Kitchener-Waterloo's city council met recently to consider the direction of the city's main performance venue, Centre in the Square, CBC News reports. After hearing a report from consulting firm ArtsBuild, the council voted 8-3 for a plan prioritizing community and cultural interests above commercial ones.  

    And the Windsor Symphony announced a $500k gift from the Toldo Foundation, which will be matched by the Canadian Heritage Fund, the Windsor Star reports. The grant will go towards educational and outreach activities.
     
     

    TSO and the Lisitsa controversy

    The Toronto Symphony's decision to drop Russian-Ukrainian pianist Valentina Lisitsa from concerts last week, based on inflammatory tweets, rippled into a major controversy, after Lisitsa spoke out and defended her social media presence, the National Post reports.

    The TSO planned to replace Lisitsa with pianist Stewart Goodyear, but then decided to drop the Rachmaninoff Concerto in face of the public controversy, the NPR's Deceptive Cadence blog reported. The concerts went ahead with a shortened program and diminished audiences, the Toronto Star reports.
     
    Meanwhile, Lisitsa's attempt to perform at a Toronto church went awry, as the church withdrew the booking, the Toronto Star reported. Lisitsa's June appearance with the Calgary Philharmonic will go ahead as scheduled, CBC reports.
     
     
    Elsewhere
     
    The Boston Symphony has signed a 5-year recording deal with Deutsche Grammophon, WQXR Boston reports. The BSO will record Shostakovich Symphonies 5-10 with music director Andris Nelsons; the first album is due out this summer.
     

    The Globe and Mail interviewed Alexander Neef, the Canadian Opera Company's general director, about contemporary artist Mitchell Chan, the intersections of art and music, and why both matter.

    The Saskatoon Symphony's music director designate, Eric Paetkau, received high marks from the StarPhoenix for an appearance guest conducting the SSO last month, in a program celebrating Saskatchewan artists.

     
    The New York Philharmonic has announced its new concertmaster: Frank Huang, 36, will take over in September, having served previously as concertmaster with Houston Symphony and first violinist for the Ying Quartet, the NY Times reports.

    The Edmonton Symphony recently recorded original music for a CBC documentary series, The Great Human Odyssey, with Edmontonian composer Darren Fung. The ESO also later performed the score live.The CBC put together a making-of documentary showing Fung and the ESO in action.
     

    And Alan Willaert, the AFM's VP from Canada, helped the Globe and Mail answer a tricky question: I want to be a session musician. What will my salary be? As you might expect, the range is considerable.


    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.

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