This week: Symphoria in Syracuse, a blow for unions in Michigan, and remembering Ravi Shankar and Galina Vishnevskaya. Here are stories we're following, in the news and on the web....
- The orchestra formerly known as Symphony Syracuse got a new name yesterday: Symphoria. The Syracuse Post-Standard reports on the much-awaited announcement at a Holiday Pops concert last night, which featured a newly commissioned piece by composer/conductor Sean O'Loughlin, also titled Symphoria.
- The Milwaukee Symphony agreed to a contract extension through 2014-15, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, including a reduction of musicians' planned salary raise for the present season. The orchestra's new President and CEO, Mark Niehaus, was previously the orchestra's principal trumpeter and chair of its players' council.
- The US labour movement faces a major setback with new legislation passed in Michigan, the New York Times reports. Passed by the Republican-dominated state legislature and signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, the new laws limit unions' right to collect dues and require union membership.
- Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reports on widening pay disparities at large US corporations - including McDonalds, where the lowest-paid employees ($8.25 / hour) would need over a million hours to earn the salary that former CEO Jim Skinner earned last year ($8.75 million).
- A new music director was appointed this week for the Qatar Philharmonic: Han-Na Chang, a highly regarded cello soloist who is also 29, Korean, and a woman. The National, an English-language paper in the Arab Emirates, reports the surprising announcement and interviews Ms. Chang.
- Ravi Shankar, the celebrated sitarist who introduced and popularized Indian classical music in the West, passed away this week at 92, the New York Times reports. Shankar was a long-term friend, collaborator, and influence on musicians including George Harrison, John Coltrane, Yehudi Menuhin, and Philip Glass.
- Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, whose voice inspired works by Dmitri Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten, passed away this week at age 86, NPR reports. Her husband for over 50 years, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, died in 2007.