Orchestra Digest: Season-opening edition

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This week: As Canadian orchestra seasons get underway, we've compiled a selection of notable headlines from the late summer - including collaborations, awards, profiles, retirements, and new initiatives. Thanks for reading!
 
 
Collaborations 

The Regina Symphony and Buffy Sainte-Marie are partnering for a concert in October and tour next spring, aimed at furthering a conversation about reconciliation, the Leader Post reports. Both emphasize that the project is about cultural exchange between the RSO and First Nations communities. 

Rarely does a concert capture the attention of an entire city -- but Montréal's 375th birthday did just that: both the Montreal Gazette and CBC News posted reviews. The concert drew a crowd of 80,000 to Mount Royal for performances by the Montreal SymphonyMcGill Symphony, and Orchestre Metropolitain, alongside Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Patrick Watson, Isabelle Boulay, and other popular artists. CBC Music also posted a video of "Concordia", an original symphony composed for the occasion by Samy Moussa
 
The Windsor Symphony is celebrating its 70th year -- as well as the city of Windsor's 125th and Canada's 150th. The festivities converge with a performance of Beethoven's 9th this Saturday, previewed by the Windsor Star.
 
The Edmonton Journal previewed the Edmonton Symphony's new season, along with Edmonton Opera, Alberta Baroque Ensemble, and local choral groups. The ESO and National Arts Centre Orchestra will join forces under Alexander Shelley on Oct. 28.
 
And Tafelmusik is launching a new chapter with music director Elisa Citterio, who left Milan's La Scala orchestra to lead the ensemble. Both the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail met up with Citterio as she prepared for Tafelmusik's opening concerts this weekend. 
 
 
Awards, arguments, and edifices
 
And the International Federation of Musicians, or FIM, recognized Air Canada with its first-ever Airline of Choice Award for 2017. The award was announced in a ceremony in Montreal, during FIM's International Orchestra Conference.
 
In a Toronto Star opinion piece, Bob Ramsay noted that the boards of Toronto's Big Six arts organizations have become more diverse over the past four years -- but argued that both the Toronto Symphony and National Ballet of Canada boards underrepresent people of colour. 
 
The Niagara Symphony kicks off its 70th season this weekend, the Niagara Falls Review reports -- and the buzz continues over the new FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. "It changed literally everything," according to music director Bradley Thachuck.
 
Urban Toronto posted designs and renderings for Phase 2 of renovations to Toronto's Massey Hall, recipient of a recent $4 million provincial grant. Massey Hall will close next summer through completion in summer 2020. 
 
And the Toronto Star chronicled the history of Roy Thomson Hall, including shifting architectural designs, a spat over naming rights, a major renovation, and several decades of world-class music-making.
 
 
People in the news
 
Peter Herrndorf will leave his post as president and CEO of the National Arts Centre next June, the Globe and Mail reports. Capping a long career as an arts administrator, Herrndorf oversaw the extensive renovation of the NAC, completed this fall. 
 
McGill music professor Eleanor Stubley, who died tragically at age 57, was remembered for her profound intellect and devotion to students. The Montreal Gazette featured a remembrance. 
 
A recent documentary, Integral Man, profiles mathematician and violinist James Stewart, whose many accomplishments include a long tenure as professor at McMaster University, early advocacy for gay rights, guiding the creation of Integral House, and performing as a member of the Hamilton Philharmonic. A magazine at McMaster, The Silhouetteprofiled Stewart in August
 
During a busy season-opening week, Edmonton Symphony music director Alexander Prior spoke with the Edmonton Examiner about his ambitious goals for the ESO this season, as well as the importance of several upcoming auditions in moulding the orchestra's sound for years to come. 
 
The Spectator reported on Hamilton Philharmonic music director Gemma New's busy summer schedule, which included the HPO's first-ever Young Musician's Boot Camp - a weekend-long workshop for amateur musicians, coached by New and several HPO musicians. 
 
 
Got an orchestra news story I missed? Please forward it to me ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), or post it to the list yourself! (Remember to include your name and orchestra in your post.) Thank you! - Matt Heller

Compiled by Matt Heller, with editorial assistance from Francine Schutzman. 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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