Orchestra Digest: September 15

 
This week: countering negativity in Minnesota, weighing proposals in London, agreement in Baltimore, and a conductor provokes outrage in Norway. Here are stories we're following....
 
 
Minnesota Orchestra update
 
Writing in Polyphonic.org, Robert Levine took a careful read of the recent financial analysis released by the Minnesota Orchestra management, as reported in the Star Tribune. Levine points out several examples of misleading data and sloppy conclusions. 
 
Last Sunday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial board posted their "Verdict on orchestra: Costs are too high". ICSOM Chair Bruce Ridge response was printed this week: "Minnesota Orchestra: Star Tribune shouldn't echo leadership's dirge"
 
Minnesota Orchestra musicians made a counter-offer to management last week, the Star Tribune reports, though management disputed the validity of the counter-offer. The exchange seemed to indicate that the two sides are at least communicating. 
 
 
Orchestra London real estate battles
 
The London Free Press brought city council's consideration of two plans for new concert halls up for public debate, and found the public largely in favour of the Grand Theatre's proposal. Meanwhile, the Free Press obtained a consultant's report casting doubt on both proposals
 
Adding to the intrigue, the Free Press reports on an anonymous benefactor's pledge of $1 million to back the plan favoured by the Orchestra, which would create a new performing arts facility. 
 
Both plans got a public hearing on Wednesday, with some live updates by Free Press journalist Patrick Maloney. That's the latest report as of this writing - stay tuned for more.
 
 
Other symphonic news
 
The Baltimore Symphony ratified a three-year contract, restoring salary cuts in their last agreement, the Baltimore Sun reports
 
The Calgary Philharmonic season got underway Thursday, with the debut of new resident conductor Adam Johnson. Johnson grew up in Hinton, Alberta, the Calgary Herald reports, and first heard an orchestra perform live when the Edmonton Symphony visited his home town. CBC News and the Globe and Mail also covered Johnson's first concert as CPO resident conductor.
 
The Canadian Opera Company received a $1 million donation this week from Hampton Securities CEO Peter Deeb, reported on PR Web. The donation supports training for young opera professionals. 
 
The San Antonio Symphony suspended its search for a new president and CEO, but brought current West Virginia Symphony President and CEO David Gross aboard this week as general manager, the San Antonio Express News reports
 
The new music director of the Oslo Philharmonic, Vasily Petrenko, stepped into controversy in one of his first Norwegian media interviews with Aftenposten. The Norwegian News in English quoted Petrenko saying that male conductors "often have less sexual energy and can focus more on the music." Petrenko later apologized for his remarks and added, "I'm looking forward to getting to know the Norwegian society better and learn more about the important issues here." 
 
 
Advocacy
 
Americans for the Arts and ICSOM are calling on members to sign a petition to support funding for the US National Endowment Agency. US citizens are eligible to sign the petition, available at: https://www.votervoice.net/ARTSUSA/Petitions/263/Respond
 
 
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