Orchestra Digest: February 15

 
This week: Returns and recoveries, concert hall proposals, Rick Mercer conducts the TSO, and more. 
 
 
A belated opening night, a new season, and a return celebrated
 
The New York Times and San Francisco Classical Voice each covered the Minnesota Orchestra's return last weekend, under music director laureate Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. The orchestra was welcomed back with extended applause, and cries of "Bring back Osmo!" 
 
The National Ballet of Canada announced its 2014-15 season, the Toronto Star reports. The season includes the premiere of Shakespeare's The Tempest, newly choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, and a run of Manon, which hasn't been performed at the National Ballet in 16 seasons. 
 
The "Lipinski" Stradivarius violin was recovered undamaged last week, following an armed robbery in Milwaukee on Jan. 27th, the New York Times reported. Three suspects are being held in the theft. The violin has been returned to Milwaukee Symphony concertmaster Frank Almond, who celebrated its return during an MSO Valentine's concert last night, the Journal Sentinel reports.
 
 
Deadlines and hurdles
 
More good news offstage for the Milwaukee Symphony: the orchestra announced it has raised $4.8 million in an emergency campaign to make up a budget shortfall, making it almost certain to achieve its $5 million goal, the Journal Sentinel reports
 
This Friday was the deadline for the US Department of Transportation to set new rules for airlines carrying musical instruments - rules that haven't even been started, Associated Press reports. A spokesperson cited a lack of funding for the regulatory evaluations necessary. More than 30 members of Congress signed a letter protesting the delays. 
 
The Memphis Symphony faces its own massive shortfall, the Memphis Business Journal reports. MSO musicians have launched a Facebook page and a benefit concert for March 7th, with a Kickstarter campaign on through April 7th; they welcome your support in spreading the word. 
 
 
Concert hall plans
 
A petition to build a new concert hall on the Halifax waterfront for Symphony Nova Scotia, started by a 15-year-old oboist, gained momentum this week, Metro News reports. Music director Bernhard Gueller applauded the effort, saying "It is more than necessary, and it's a fantastic idea." 
 
The London Free Press calls the city's proposed performing arts centre "the $164 million question", quoting reactions from city authorities and planning experts. City council is expected to consult and consider the proposal over the next few weeks. 
 
 
People and miscellany
 
Chicago Symphony music director Riccardo Muti will stay on through 2020, the Chicago Tribune reports. Muti credited the warm and productive relationship with musicians and administration for his decision to renew.
 
President Obama will appoint Jane Chu to head the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kansas City Star reports. Chu is the current president and CEO of the Kauffman Center in Kansas City.
 
Richard Hayman, an irreverent conductor of pops concerts, died last Wednesday in Manhattan, the New York Times reports; he was 93. 
 
Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music is launching a new institute dedicated to preserving works by composers who were exiled, imprisoned, and in other ways suppressed, the Globe and Mail reports. The new centre's mission is to ready lost works for orchestras, opera companies, and chamber ensembles to perform. 
 
And the Toronto Symphony was featured in a recent episode of the Rick Mercer Report, with music director Peter Oundjian showing Rick the ropes of how to conduct an orchestra. You can still watch the video on the CBC website
 
 
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