Orchestra Digest: September 7

 
This week: Warring words in Minnesota; orchestra updates from London and Windsor; and audiences hear with their eyes. Here are stories we're following...
 
 
The pen is mightier
 
Former US Senator George Mitchell has been mediating talks between Minnesota Orchestra musicians and management, the New York Times reports. Last week management proposed a 2-month play and talk period, with an imposed 2-year contract with a 25% pay cut if negotiations were not successful.
 
On Thursday, musicians voted to reject that offer, the NY Times reports. Interviewed Friday on Minnesota Public Radio, musician representative Tim Zavadil affirmed musicians' support for the proposal offered by mediator George Mitchell, which included a play-and-talk but without the 25% pay cut provision. 
 
Commentaries this week included an article by former Minnesota Orchestra cellist Mina Fisher, published in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune; a cross-blog exchange promoted by Save Our Symphony MN; an open letter by ROPA President (and Minnesota native) Carla Lehmeier-Tatum, published in the Winona Daily News; and a letter by your OCSM executive board, featured as a letter of the day by Save Our Symphony MN
 
We encourage you to write a letter of your own. The Minnesota Orchestra Musicians' website provides a list of MOA board member contact information, with advice and plenty of examples. Please also copy your letter to: contact (at) minnesotaorchestramusicians.org, saveoursymphonymn (at) gmail.com, ocsm.secretary (at) gmail.com
 
 
Building plans in London, new directions in Windsor, and remembering Lotfi Mansouri
 
The London Free Press reports today on talks between the Orchestra London and the Grand Theatre, which proposed a major expansion to accommodate a performing arts centre. Orchestra London board chair Joe O'Neill made clear that a lack of space was the issue in the orchestra's rejection of the proposal. 
 
Yesterday the Free Press presented the Grand Theatre and Orchestra London's plans as "duelling proposals". A community consultation event is planned for next Wednesday in London.
 
New Windsor Symphony music director Robert Franz is already considering major changes, including the season schedule and programming, the Windsor Star reports. Their season opens September 27th at the Capitol Theatre. 
 
The Windsor Symphony's latest recording, under former music director John Morris Russell, features jazz artist Ron Davis and concertmaster Lillian Scheirich. The Windsor Star reports that the album will be launched next month.
 
Former Canadian Opera Company general director Lotfi Mansouri passed away last week at 84, Canadian Press reports. Mansouri was credited with expanding the COC's offerings and reputation during his 1976-88 tenure. 
 
 
Crises, debated
 
recent New Republic article drew a response from League of American Orchestras President Jesse Rosen, with a rebuttal from author Philip Kennicott, published together this week
 
Is the labour movement in crisis? Many writers weighed in on the state of unionism this past week, including Waterloo Regional Labour Council president Marc Xuereb, writing in The Record: We need unions today more than ever.
 
 
More labour news
 
An Israeli musician and labour leader dismissed last month had his job restored by a labor court ruling on Monday, Haaretz reports. Ma'ayan Beider-Jacobssohn will continue as bassist for Sinfonietta Beer Sheva, and negotiator for its musicians.
 
The Canadian Federation of Musicians announced its support for recently announced changes to Labour Market Opinion processing fees. The CFM press release said that the increased fees would "in no way affect AFM members." 
 
The ICSOM Governing Board called on President Obama to appoint a Chairperson for the National Endowment for the Arts, a position left vacant for over 8 months. You can join this campaign by writing to the White House.
 
And the Grand Rapids Symphony has joined ICSOM, Grand Rapids Press reports. The GRS is the first orchestra accepted to ICSOM in the past 10 years. 
 
 
Here's looking at you!
 
With many eyes on the lockout in Minneapolis, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra season got underway last weekend, the Star Tribune reports. Tensions remain from the SPCO's 6-month lockout, but the organization is moving forward, focusing on strong programming and digital presence. 
 
A study presented last month to the National Academy of Sciences found that listeners base much of their musical experience on visual cues, the Harvard Gazette reports. The study's lead author, Chia-Jung Tsay, is a Harvard-trained pianist herself.
 
You are invited to submit articles, commentaries, or your own thoughts on OCSM-list! Please identify yourself by name and orchestra at the beginning of your posting. Thanks for keeping the conversation going!
 
 
Compiled by Matt Heller, Calgary Philharmonic and OCSM Past President. Sources include the discussion groups of ICSOM and ROPA. Visit OCSM online at: http://ocsm-omosc.org/index.php