This week: Stalled talks in San Francisco, a new symphony lights up Toronto, more from Minnesota, and big changes in Jacksonville. Here are stories we're following, in the news and on the web....
- With an East Coast tour set for later this month, San Francisco Symphony negotiations stalled earlier this week, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Musicians objected to a proposed pay freeze and benefit cut, while the organization is launching a half-billion dollar hall renovation. On Thursday the musicians voted to authorize a strike, which could put the tour in jeopardy, the San Francisco Business Journal reports. Please visit and Like the Musicians of the San Francisco Symphony page on Facebook for updates as this situation develops.
- The Toronto Symphony's New Creations Festival is in full swing, including the premiere of the long-awaited composition by Tod Machover "and the citizens of Toronto." The piece, titled A Toronto Symphony: Concerto for Composer and City, premieres Saturday, and the CN Tower announced it will accompany the performance with a light show, the Toronto Star reports. The performance will also be webcast live at tso.ca.
- Earlier this week, the TSO performed with some other cool people: Owen Pallett, Pekka Kuusisto, and Mason Bates/DJ Masonic, who curates a contemporary music series at the Chicago Symphony. Blog TO interviewed Bates about being a symphonic DJ and his new composition, "Alternative Energy".
- In an open letter, Minnesota legislators are urging the management of the Minnesota Orchestra to open its books to a state auditor. Blogger Emily Hogstad posted a bibliography of the Minnesota Orchestra lockout, titled What Michael Henson Doesn't Want You To Read (Michael Henson is the Minnesota Orchestra's President and CEO.
- Meanwhile, talks have again broken down in St. Paul. A press release on the SPCO musicians' website highlights the musicians' disappointment in management's unwillingness of compromise. Earlier in the week, the orchestra announced cancellation of concerts through April 21, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
- Last week we shared the tragic news of San Francisco Symphony principal oboist William Bennett's untimely death. Last weekend, in an eerily similar story, we lost Canadian baroque oboist Washington McClain at age 52. Toronto-based baroque flutist Alison Melville posted a moving remembrance on her blog, Calliope's Sister.
- The Jacksonville Symphony announced a major management shuffle, with former president David Pierson returning to that position, as current president Stacy Ridenour moves to a fundraising role, the Florida Times Union reports. The changes came on the heels of a consultants report by Henry Fogel, discussing many areas for improvement.
- Recognizing the Cleveland Orchestra's initiatives to attract new, young listeners, the George Gund Foundation announced a $3 million donation to the Orchestra, the Plain Dealer reports. The gift is spread over 6 years, and will endow a "George Gund Fund for Artistic Excellence".