This week: Good news from US orchestras; Vancouver Opera's shrinking season; and remembering Vic Firth.
US and international news
Hartford Symphony musicians and supporters rallied outside the concert hall on Thursday, WNPR reports. The musicians went public with details from their management's latest contract proposal, which would cut pay by 40%. Polyphonic.org contributor Steve Metcalf also posted about the dispute.
Russian-born conductor Kirill Petrenko will become the next music director of the Berlin Philharmonic, the NY Times reports. The orchestra's musicians choose their own music director in a private election; Petrenko will take over from Simon Rattle in 2018.
Several US orchestras reported positive news: the Oregonian reports on the Oregon Symphony, which set records for ticket sales and contributions last season; the Indianapolis Symphony saw ticket sales jump 15%, according to the Indy Business Journal; and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Atlanta Symphony finished with a surplus, which will help restore the orchestra's size to 88 players.
Vic Firth, the legendary principal timpanist of the Boston Symphony, passed away this week at age 85, NPR reports. Firth was also renowned as an entrepreneur, creating his own brand of percussion equipment.
News from across Canada
Beginning in 2017, the Vancouver Opera will switch to a spring festival format, producing 3 operas in 3 weeks, the Georgia Straight reports. The move comes amid concerns about sustainability and declining audience; but many were disappointed, including VSO Music Director Bramwell Tovey, who spoke out on Twitter.
The Calgary Philharmonic named Paul Dornian its next President/CEO, effective this month, the Calgary Herald reports. Dornian most recently led Calgary's Mount Royal University through a major expansion, and has been a board member and board chair of the CPO.
CBC News profiled Gemma New, the recently appointed music director of the Hamilton Philharmonic. At just 28, New joins a small minority of female music directors, in Canada and worldwide.
And the Toronto Star's Once Upon a City column remembered the Toronto Symphony's inaugural season, in 1923, performing Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Dvorak. "The 58 players received $3.95 each for the hour-long concert and four rehearsals. But it wasn’t so much money that motivated them as a desire to tackle a more challenging repertoire than that of vaudeville shows and movie theatres."