Orchestra Digest: March 16

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This week: The San Francisco Symphony on strike; new works in Toronto and a new season for the NACO; Nazis and the Vienna Phil; and a debate on opera and ballet elitism. Here are stories we're following, in the news and on the web....

 
  • The San Francisco Symphony went on strike Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Two concerts this weekend have been canceled, and a planned tour to the East coast is in doubt. Talks with a federal mediator have made some progress, Reuters reports.  
  • The musicians of the San Francisco Symphony issued a press release on their website, accusing management of stalling negotiations and a lack of financial disclosure. The Chicago Sun Times reprinted another lengthy press release on Friday from SFS principal timpanist David Herbert, who will join the Chicago Symphony in July. Herbert points to a lack of support and access to practice facilities as reasons for his departure. 
  • The National Arts Centre Orchestra announced its 2013-14 season, which includes a tour to China in October, the Globe and Mail reports. And critic Robert Harris wonders if there is a danger in playing it too safe.
  • A panel of historians released disturbing new research about the Vienna Philharmonic's association with the Nazis, BBC News reports. Historians studying newly opened archives found that 60 of 123 musicians were Nazi Party members, and 13 musicians were driven out for being Jewish; five of them died in concentration camps, and none returned to the orchestra. 
  • On a happier note: the new Pope loves opera. NPR's Deceptive Cadence reports that Pope Francis, formerly known as Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, enjoys listening to Metropolitan Opera recordings.
  • The website of the British paper The Telegraph hosted the first of a series of debates on cultural Big Questions - this one asks, Are opera and ballet elitist? Quite a few commenters weighed in, both on Twitter (at #BigQuestion) and on Deceptive Cadence. At this writing, the poll is holding, by a margin of about 60/40, that opera and ballet are not elitist. 
 
 
Compiled by Matt Heller, OCSM President. Sources include the discussion groups of ICSOM and ROPA. Visit OCSM online at: http://ocsm-omosc.org/index.php.
 
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