Orchestra Digest: Feb. 8th

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This week: Stirring Sibelius in Minneapolis, a major donation in Washington, D.C., and remembering James DePriest. Here are stories we're following, and a new poll about new music....
  • New York Times critic James Oestreich wonders if the sounds of Sibelius could thaw a Minnesota Orchestra lockout -- or at least remind the city what a truly phenomenal orchestra they have? Last weekend musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra, joined by many players of the locked-out St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, performed music from their Grammy-nominated recording of Sibelius, led by music director Osmo Vanska. More than a review, Oestreich's piece recounts the history and context behind the lockout -- as well as the story of Eriko Matsukawa, a blind Japanese English teacher who credits the Minnesota Orchestra with restoring hearing loss she suffered as a result of the 2011 earthquake. Many other media outlets also covered the performance, including:
  • Minnesota Public Radio posted a commentary on the lockout's ripple effects in the community, in schools, economic vitality, and quality of life. The piece's authors have founded an organization, Orchestrate Excellence, to engage the community to end the lockout. 
  • Just hours before its self-imposed deadline, the Indianapolis Symphony announced a successful $5 million fundraising drive, the Indianapolis Star reports. The announcement means a 5-year agreement musicians signed in October will go into effect. 
  • A $15 million bequest from Washington, D.C. philanthropist Richard A. Herman is the largest ever for both the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera, the Washington Post reports. Herman, who died in November at age 100, was a railroad executive and frequent concertgoer who lived a simple, frugal life. 
  • commentary in Mother Jones questions the future of city orchestras, in the wake of recent strikes and lockouts. The piece highlights orchestras expanding their audience bases with cinecasts and residencies in other cities (or pub crawls!) 
  • Legendary conductor James DePriest died this morning, WGN reports. DePriest was Music Director Laureate of the Oregon Symphony, as well as Director Emeritus of Conducting and Orchestral Studies at The Juilliard School. 
New weekly poll: With new season announcements coming out, we wonder -- do Canadian orchestras perform the right amount of new music, too much, or not enough? Please vote your opinion, and share a comment --
Compiled by Matt Heller, OCSM President. Sources include the discussion groups of ICSOM and ROPA, as well as NPR's Deceptive Cadence blog. Visit OCSM online at: http://ocsm-omosc.org/index.php
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