Orchestra Digest: August 2

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This week: Suffering for our art, the TSO's Andrew Shaw departs, AFM President Ray Hair re-elected, and much more. Here are stories we're following...
 
 
Symphonic Life
 
The Montreal Symphony will present 30 concerts of 45 minutes or less during its two-day "A Cool Classical Journey," Broadway World reports. The festival takes place August 16-17. 
 
Ottawa mayor Jim Watson will travel to China alongside the National Arts Centre Orchestra this fall, the Ottawa Citizen reports. He will engage in trade talks, and also attend a NACO performance with Chinese officials.
 
Today's Los Angeles Times catalogues the ways classical musicians suffer for their art, physically. Torn rotator cuffs, hearing loss, hernias, and crippling tendinitis all get mention, as do rotations and time-off policies that can help. 
 
Climbing ticket sales at the National Arts Centre Orchestra have been credited to expanded programming, CBC reports. Managing Director Christopher Deacon says, "We're trying to appeal to a younger audience taste, so that's evolving."
 
Departures
 
The Cleveland Orchestra principal tubist Ron Bishop passed away on July 25th, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. He performed in The Cleveland Orchestra for 38 years, and earned extravagant praise from critics and colleagues.
 
Andrew Shaw, Toronto Symphony's President and CEO since 2001, will leave the organization this fall, the Toronto Star reports. Shaw has been credited with the TSO's resurgence in the past 10 years, and his departure caught many by surprise. 
 
San Antonio Symphony President/CEO Jack Downey resigned this week after less than 3 months on the job, the San Antonio Express-News reports. Chief Operating Officer David Green, a former SAS president, will serve in the interim. 
 
 
Arrivals
 
Symphony Nova Scotia has appointed Chris Wilkinson as CEO, the Chronicle Herald reports. Wilkinson played in SNS as principal 2nd violin, also serving as personnel and production manager, until a sabbatical two years ago, during which he served as general manager of the Thunder Bay Symphony. 
 
 
US orchestras in the news
 
The Nashville Symphony's management are taking cuts of between 11 and 21 percent, the Tennessean reports. The cuts come following a near-default on debts related to the Schermerhorn Center's recovery, and during negotiations with musicians.
 
NSO violinist Laura Ross, who also serves as an officer of the Nashville Local and ICSOM, posted an article answering many questions raised by the recent default scare and financial problems in the news on the Nashville Symphony musicians' website. Material from Ross' piece was also reported by the Nashville Business Journal
 
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on behind-the-scenes talks with a mediator in early July to end the Minnesota Orchestra lockout. The negotiations are under a media blackout. 
 
The Kansas City Symphony concluded a harmonious agreement, the Kansas City Star reports. The three-year contract was reached a full year ahead of schedule.
 
Following a recently concluded Pittsburgh Symphony contract, patrons Michele and Pat Atkins stepped up with a $1.2 million dollar donation to support an increase in musicians' wages, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The increase restores 9.7% cuts taken in the previous contract. 
 
Music Director Alan Gilbert is ushering in changes at the New York Philharmonic, the New York Times reports, including new outdoor performance series, multimedia approaches, and a passion for contemporary music.
 
 
Commentary
 
LA Times music critic Mark Swed filed a review of the Hollywood Bowl's new sound system and video screens: At the Hollywood Bowl, an unhealthy glow. Swed's objections included the screens' effect on audience behaviour, and the overall concert experience.
 
New York Philharmonic concert in the park also earned an unusually critical reaction, due to the heat. The NY Phil was forced to cut the program short due to unsafe conditions, the New York Times reports.
 
Is internet radio ruining music? NPR considers the effects of Spotify, Pandora, and other streaming services, and the increasing backlash from performers and artists.
 
PBS Newshour reports on the difficulties facing young classical musicians, such as those attending The Juilliard School. Much of the story deserves rebuttal, including a statement by Allentown (PA) Symphony Music Director Diane Wittry: "We want to share music with the world, and we would do it whether we were paid or not." 
 
 
AFM Convention
 
AFM President Ray Hair was re-elected, as were all AFM International Executive Board members, at the 99th AFM Convention last week in Las Vegas. The Hollywood Reporter has coverage of the Convention, including the delegates' outpouring an support for AFM Local 30-73, home local of the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, amounting to over $60,000 in donations.
 
 
Compiled by OCSM President Matt Heller. Sources include the discussion groups of ICSOM and ROPA. Visit OCSM online at: http://ocsm-omosc.org/index.php
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