Orchestra Digest: Feb. 2nd

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This week: Verdi vs. Wagner, a new Kennedy Center expansion, and scientific evidence of excessive coughing. Here are stories we're following -- 
  • The Globe and Mail remembered music critic John Kraglund, noted in the Canadian Encyclopedia for his "measured enthusiasm". Kraglund, who died last week, served as the Globe and Mail's classical critic from 1952 to 1987.
  • In this season of big operatic bicentennials, the Canadian Opera Company and Calgary Opera have taken opposite sides, according to another article in the Globe and Mail -- and revived perennial comparisons and competition between Verdi and Wagner. 
  • The Boston Globe profiles Tod Machover, the MIT professor and composer who has crowd-sourced Torontonians to create a collaborative symphony. Titled "A Toronto Symphony: Concerto for Composer and City", the work premieres March 9th. Meanwhile, the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail each have rundowns of the just-announced TSO 2013-14 season, Peter Oundjian's 10th as music director. 
  • The Florida Orchestra's plans to tour Cuba hit a glitch this week, the Tampa Bay Times reports, when a US government agency denied a license to spend money in Cuba, citing the trade embargo. The Florida Orchestra had hoped to send concertmaster Jeffrey Multer next week, to perform as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.
  • The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. unveiled a new $100 million plan to expand and renovate, the New York Times reports. A previous, $650 million plan fell victim to U.S. Congress budget cuts - this new plan relies on private fundraising. 
  • The timing of a new proposal by Minnesota Orchestra management brought an angry reaction from musicians, Minnesota Public Radio reports. They said it violated an agreement to set aside differences until a celebration concert held Friday. 
  • Colorado Symphony board chair Jerome Kern will also serve as the orchestra's CEO, the Denver Post reports, after current CEO Gene Sobczak resigned last week. 
  • And the Telegraph (U.K.) reports a new study that found people are twice as likely to cough in a classical concert as in normal life. German economist Andreas Wagner, who published the study, doesn't have a theory for why classical music audiences cough so much. 
Last week's poll asked: Should orchestras change the way they dress? 80% of respondents said yes. A few of the comments:
  • Our dress should reflect the times, less formality breeds accessibility.
  • As long it it looks classy, is comfortable, suits all body types, is reasonably uniform, and allows for a little bit of individuality. Easy, eh?
  • We cannot afford to dress like pop stars. They used to say we should be dressed one step better than our audience. I would hate to see us become an equally motley crew.
  • For men, business suit and tie should be the standard attire for all concerts. For women, dressy black dresses or pant suits that are comfortable for their performing requirements.
  • Formal dress looks really good and it makes the concert seem like more of a special event.
This week the Musicians' Pension Fund of Canada held webinars in English and French to discuss the recent changes. (Video of both webinars will be posted soon on the MPFC website.)
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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