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  • Orchestra Digest: April 16

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    This week: Raves for OSM and Victoria Symphony tours; raises for Oregon and Grand Rapids Symphonies; and the Met Opera bids farewell to the James Levine era. Here are stories we're following...
     
     
    Canadian orchestras: tours and new seasons
     
    The Thunder Bay Symphony announced its 2016-17 season, the final season for music director Arthur Post, the Chronicle Journal reports. Highlights include world premieres by Christos Hatzis and Jordan Nobles, and a season opening Mahler 4.
     
    Rising star soloists and guest conductors highlight the Edmonton Symphony's 2016-17 season, the Edmonton Journal reports
     
    A recent tour by the Montreal Symphony left critics raving across the US: "Refined viruosity" - Boston Globe; "Gallic brilliance" - Chicago Tribune; "an orgiastic smashing of meter into tiny pieces rendered with frighteningly stark precision" - San Diego Union-Tribune. (I think that's a compliment.)
     
    The Victoria Symphony's tour gathered some kudos as well: "Verve and passion and volcanic energy" - Ottawa Citizen. Music director Tania Miller filed a series of reports for the Victoria Times-Colonist, and spoke to the Toronto Star about changing expectations for female conductors. 
     
     
    US orchestras: contract news
     
    The Oregon Symphony signed a new 3-year contract, which will raise musician salaries for the first time since 2011, the Oregonian reports. Musicians accepted pay cuts and givebacks in 2010, 2012-13, and 2013-14; the current raises will be tied to the national Consumer Price Index. 
     
    Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony agreed to a three-week furlough, equivalent to a 10% cut in annual pay, to address financial instability, Texas Public Radio reports. SAS President David Gross promised a clean balance sheet by 2017-18.
     
    After 11 months of negotiations, the Grand Rapids Symphony reached terms on a 5-year musician contract, MLive reports, including small incremental pay raises. The GRSO is in the final stages of a music director search as well. 
     
    Writing in Classical Voice America, journalist James L. Paulk reviewed the labour history of the Atlanta Symphony and some promising developments since the 2014 lockout.
     
     
    People in the news
     
    Metropolitan Opera music director James Levine, hailed as "transformative" and an audience favourite, will step down after this season, the New York Times reports. Levine has faced a series of health problems, including Parkinson's disease. 
     
    Symphony Nova Scotia composer-in-residence Dinuk Wijeratne won the Juno Award for Classical Composition of the Year, the Chronicle Herald reports. Wijeratne's Two Pop Songs on Antique Poems can be heard on the Afiara Quartet's recording, Spin Cycle.
     
    Allegations of professional and personal improprieties brought an abrupt end to Jeff Melanson's tenure as Toronto Symphony President/CEO, the Toronto Star reportsSonia Baxendale, a member of the TSO Board, is serving as interim President/CEO.
     
    And CBC reports on a touching gift: after homeless busker Mark Landry's violin was stolen, Orchestre Métropolitain staff contacted Maison du Violon and hand-delivered a new instrument.
     

    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.
     
    Orchestras Canada's weekly, bilingual newsletter features even more news from Canadian orchestras as well as advocacy information - click here to read the latest edition and sign up for delivery to your inbox each Wednesday.
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