This week: A new deal in Halifax, new seasons at Orchestra London and the National Ballet, updates on the Minnesota lockouts, and learning to love unfamiliar music. Here are stories we're following, in the news and on the web....
- A tentative deal has been reached for Symphony Nova Scotia, the Chronicle Herald reports, and both sides expect it will be ratified soon. The contract extends 2 seasons, including the current season, with an option for a third. Musicians will receive base salary increases of 3.1% for 2012-13 and 3.45% for 2013-14. Musicians also posted a press release on their website.
- Orchestra London announced its 2013-14 season this week, the London Free-Press reports, with highlights including two young (and redheaded) soloists who are both London natives: vocalist Cassandra Hodgins and cellist Cameron Crozman.
- The National Ballet of Canada also announces its 2013-14 season, including its second Innovation series of world premiere productions featuring Canadian choreographers.
- Last weekend's Grammy Awards ceremony honoured Canadian pianist Glenn Gould with a lifetime achievement award, and a tribute by Lang Lang. The Los Angeles Times reports on other classical Grammy winners, including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco, and new music sextet Eighth Blackbird.
- A New York Times article on the virtues of rest to increase productivity highlights findings that working in 90-minute segments separated by breaks is ideal for several types of elite performers -- including musicians.
- The Minnesota Orchestra lockout is 5 months old, and Minnesota Public Radio featured a discussion of the situation on a call-in show this week. MPR also reports on a grassroots funding drive by Save Our SPCO, a community organization. The group hopes to demonstrate that maintaining the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's size at 34 musicians is doable, and to help end the lockout.
- Meanwhile, SPCO management this week offered to return to play-and-talk -- musicians have until Monday to respond -- and Minnesota Orchestra CEO Michael Henson testified before the Minnesota legislature about use of state funds, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
- The Rochester Philharmonic announced new fundraising goals and programming ideas, the Democrat and Chronicle reports -- including a "Cocktail Classics" series of one-hour concerts paired with parties, and a greater emphasis on "casual, low-cost concerts where listeners can learn about the music being performed."
- A week after meeting its own ambitious fundraising goal, the Indianapolis Symphony announced the appointment of new CEO Gary Ginstling, formerly general manager of The Cleveland Orchestra. The Indianapolis Star reports on the new hire, including musicians' participation on the search committee.
- Four anonymous donors donated a combined $2 million to the Charlotte Symphony, the Observer reports, which should provide a timely boost amidst cuts to the state Arts & Science Council grants.
- This week NPR's Deceptive Cadence asks: "Can you learn to like music you hate?" New research shows that a better understanding of musical structures, including individual chords, can greatly increase listeners' enjoyment.
Last week our poll asked, "Should Canadian orchestras play more new music?" A small majority responded affirmatively -- 66% said we should play more new music, while 33% thought that we play about the right amount. (Only 6 people responded though!) We'll return with a new poll next week!