Orchestra Digest: November 28

This week: TSO posts surplus, progress in Hartford, remembering Joseph Silverstein, and a look behind the audition screen in Cincinnati. Here are stories we're following...
Financial news
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra finished the 2014-15 season with a small surplus, the Globe and Mail reports. The black ink was thanks largely to strong fundraising, including major contributions from TSO board members. 
"We are just regular people looking to bring orchestral music to people's lives," says violist Thea Boyd, and the #WePlayOn Musicians are doing just that, as London Community News reports. Ms. Boyd spoke about the former Orchestra London musicians' latest initiatives as they prepared for their first concert at Museum London. The cocktail-hour concert featured Kevin Mallon conducting Haydn, Handel, and Richard Reed Parry (of Arcade Fire fame), the London Free Press reported.
Hartford Symphony management agreed to issue musicians contracts for the current season, after the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favour of the musicians' union (Local 400), the Hartford Courant reports. Violinist and musician representative Michael Pollard said the move "provides a starting point" to reach a new agreement. Neither side has threatened a work stoppage so far.
The Philadelphia Orchestra has seen attendance stagnate, despite a popular music director and thriving downtown, the Inquirer reports. The orchestra is questioning its operations with the help of consultant Michael Kaiser.
After near misses with insolvency and foreclosure (in 2008 and 2013, respectively), the Nashville Symphony is close to a full recovery, the Nashville Banner reports. President/CEO Alan Valentine credited strong ticket sales, donations both small and large, and diverse programming for the recent turnaround.
Human interest
Joseph Silverstein, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's concertmaster for 22 years, died this week at age 83, the Boston Globe reports. After leaving the BSO, Silverstein continued teaching, performing, and led a second career as a conductor; in recent months he talked in interviews about his continuing commitment to practice. 
The Boston Globe also reports on the Boston Symphony Orchestra's "101" series, free educational sessions aimed at erasing the barriers to understanding symphonic music. Now in its fourth year, the series is popular with new and longtime audience members. 
To celebrate its 85th season, the Saskatoon Symphony asked local artists to give its violins a makeover - or rather, a batch of 13 run-down, low-cost instruments acquired for that purpose. CBC News reports and offers a gallery of the results.
Searching for that special someone
The Cincinnati Enquirer covered a two-day viola audition, interviewing one candidate as well as committee chair Christian Colberg and music director Louis Langrée on all stages of the process.
The New York Philharmonic is searching for its next music director - as are many orchestras, though few are quite as demanding or subject to so much public scrutiny, New Yorker classical music critic Alex Ross writes
And WQXR reports the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has chosen its next music director: Xian Zhang. Ms. Zhang was previously music director of the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, as well as an associate conductor of the NY Phil. 
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.