This week: Play and talk at Hartford and Fort Worth Symphonies; the NY City Opera returns; an impressive new Canadian Opera Company season; and remembering Boulez and Masur.
Orchestras in the news
While concerts go on, Fort Worth Symphony musicians and management are publicly clashing over the direction of their orchestra, KERA News reports. Musicians are calling for an expanded budget and fundraising vision; management says cuts are necessary. Negotiations will continue next Monday. An open letter and petition to FWSO management is online at GrowthNotCuts.org.
Play and talk continues at the Hartford Symphony as well - negotiations there have lasted over a year. Last week musicians unanimously rejected a management proposal that would have meant roughly $1.5m in wage cuts; musicians have offered $750k in concessions, the Hartford Courant reports. NPR commentator Steve Metcalf recently wrote that the symphony is facing a precipice.
The New York City Opera is back, with performances as soon as next week, the NY Times reports. The recovery plan by an organization called NYCO Renaissance received approval from the NY state attorney general's office on Tuesday; City Opera orchestra musicians cheered the news.
A campaign to support the Thunder Bay Symphony continued with a pre-Christmas appeal in the Chronicle Herald. The TBSO faces significant funding challenges, and turning to the community with a goal of $225k.
Globe and Mail critic Robert Harris calls the Canadian Opera Company's lineup for 2016/17 "its most balanced, season in years". Rarely heard operas - a remounting of Harry Somers' Louis Riel (premiered in 1967) and Handel's Ariodante - join the bill with favourites including The Magic Flute, Tosca, Norma, and Gotterdammerung.
People in the news
A new music director will lead the National Symphony beginning in 2017, the Washington Post reports: Italian conductor Gianandrea Noseda, a rising star in the opera and symphonic world.
A profile of Minnesota Orchestra president Kevin Smith appeared recently in the Star Tribune, calling his job "the most difficult reclamation project in the American symphonic industry", while listing several ingredients for his remarkable success.
Composer/clarinetist Kinan Azmeh joined the Toronto Symphony to record a collaboration, celebrating what Syrians bring to Canada; the video was widely reposted, and the project was covered by CBC News.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin returned last week to lead the Victoria Symphony in Bruckner, a decade after his term as principal guest conductor there, the Times Colonist reported.
Philadelphia Orchestra principal trumpeter David Bilger has been an extraordinary mentor for an Afghan teenager, AhmedBaset Azizi, the Inquirer reports. Having taught Azizi for a year and a half via online video, helping him audition successfully for Interlochen, now Bilger is also leading a GoFundMe campaign to help cover Azizi's tuition and expenses.
Two legendary former music directors of the NY Philharmonic passed away recently: first was Kurt Masur, at 88. The New York Times obituary notes that Masur "transformed a sullen, lacklustre ensemble into one of luminous renown."
The NY Times remembers Pierre Boulez as a dominant musical figure of the 20th century, at the forefront of a revolution in music. Boulez was 90.
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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