Orchestra Digest: January 5th

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This week: Italy's opera crisis, cautious optimism for US orchestras, and an alleged atrocity at US customs. Here are orchestra-related stories making news...

Contracts and finances
New York Philharmonic musicians and management are glad to have a new 4-year contract in place, the New York Times reports. More details were released of the deal, which includes small incremental raises but leaves pension questions unresolved. 
The Minnesota Orchestra has become a cautionary tale for many orchestras; with the lockout in its 16th month, Minnesota Public Radio reported on some orchestras seeing brighter futures, including comments from ICSOM Chair Bruce Ridge. 
Newsweek reports on a crisis among Italian opera houses, caused by cuts in state arts funding; some of Italy's most venerable institutions are facing bankruptcy, and economic uncertainties threaten many others. 
People and miscellanea
San Diego Symphony CEO Edward "Ward" Gill announced his departure next September, the Union Times reports, completing a 10 year term in which the orchestra thrived. 
The Saskatoon Symphony has a new general manager, the StarPhoenix reports. Mark Turner, the current artistic director of the Third Avenue Centre, will take over on an interim basis, replacing Jill Reid.
Canadian flutist Boujemaa Razgui arrived at JFK airport in New York last week to find that his handcrafted instruments were destroyed, The Globe and Mail reports. US customs officials claimed the luggage contained only green bamboo canes, which they identified as an agricultural threat. 
The Symphony Nova Scotia Players' Association presents its 2nd annual fundraiser concert next weekend; donations will benefit Feed Nova Scotia, the Chronicle Herald reports.
Music study's cognitive benefits have been exaggerated, a Harvard researcher argues in the New York Times opinion pages. Researcher Samuel Mehr suggests music education should be valued for its intrinsic benefits, not as a brain-booster. 
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
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