Orchestra Digest: January 18th

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This week: Talks resume in Minnesota, record attendance in Cleveland, a CEO's quick exit in New Jersey, and remembering ICSOM co-founder Gino Raffaelli. Here are stories we're following, in the news and on the web....
  • The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra cancelled concerts through March 13th, Minnesota Public Radio reports. Off-the-record talks began on Jan. 2nd, but broke down this week; musicians broke the media blackout and announced that issues besides money have kept the two sides apart.
  • Meanwhile talks continue at the Minnesota Orchestra - though their February 14-15 concerts were cancelled this week, there's still hope for the rest of February, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
  • Gino Raffaelli, a longtime Cleveland Orchestra violinist who co-founded ICSOM as well as Cleveland's Performers and Artists for Nuclear Disarmament (PAND), passed away this week, the Plain Dealer reports. Mr. Raffaelli attended the 50th anniversary ICSOM Conference last summer in Chicago, and received a standing ovation.
  • Midway through the season, Cleveland Orchestra ticket sales are on pace to set records, the Cleveland Examiner reports. Sales in November and December were up 62% from last year, and attendance by students has been especially strong. 
  • Rochester Philharmonic musicians approved a new 4-year agreement, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported. Details were withheld, though a musician representative mentioned "painful concessions" in the first two years, restored in the third and fourth. An RPO spokesman also reported cuts in the summer season, and changes in the health-insurance policy. Fallout from the firing of RPO music director Arild Remmereit continues - last week a group of upset patrons presented a petition and met with the board, WHEC reports.
  • The Houston Symphony hired Andres Orozco-Estrada, a young native Colombian based in Vienna, as its new music director beginning in 2014, the Houston Chronicle reports. Orozco-Estrada will succeed Hans Graf, who steps down this May after 12 years as music director.  
  • Louisville Orchestra CEO Robert Birman has resigned, the WFPL reports. Birman took the post in 2009 and led the orchestra through bankruptcy proceedings and a negotiation impasse that cancelled the 2011-12 season; with the orchestra back in operation, he hoped his departure would "close the chapter on the past."
  • After just nine days as President and CEO of the New Jersey Symphony, Richard Dare resigned last Friday, the New York Times reports - recent media scrutiny of Mr. Dare's resume and background, as well as a 1996 criminal case, led to the surprising departure. 
Compiled by Matt Heller, OCSM President. Sources include the discussion groups of ICSOM and ROPA, as well as NPR's Deceptive Cadence blog. Vist OCSM online at: http://ocsm-omosc.org/index.php
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