Orchestra Digest: May 2nd

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This week: More on the international ivory ban; a new CEO in Toronto; a classical high in Denver; and Vänskä returns to Minnesota. Here are stories we're following...


Ivory ban

With the Winnipeg Symphony's performance at Carnegie Hall just days away, stage supervisor Lawrence Rentz is working overtime to get instruments there safely, Global News reports. WSO production staff are also ensuring that the orchestra is in compliance with the US restrictions on imported ivory and rosewood.

The import ban has already affected one prospective Winnipeg Symphony audition candidate: Taddes Korris, an Edmonton-born double bassist studying at Manhattan School of Music, cancelled his audition plans due to the new policy, CBC News reports

The AFM requests musicians sign a petition and fill out a survey related to the ivory ban - the deadline for both is today. Please follow this link to complete both!




The Toronto Symphony has named Jeff Melanson as its new CEO, succeeding Andrew Shaw. The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star report on Melanson's hiring, which came just weeks after he resigned as president of the Banff Centre.

Osmo Vänskä has returned as music director of the Minnesota Orchestra, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. Vänskä's return was contingent on the resignation of Minnesota Orchestra President and CEO Michael Henson; he signed a two-year contract with a 15% pay cut, the same as musicians agreed to. 

The Victoria Symphony named Jared Miller as its new composer-in-residence. The Times Colonist profiled Miller, who at just 25 has already written works for the Vancouver Symphony and pianist Ang Li.


Other news 

The Houston Symphony has reached a new, 4-year agreement, CultureMap Houston reports. The deal brings wage increases each season, and reflects a much smoother negotiation process than the last cycle. 

The Hamilton Philharmonic announced its 2014-15 season, the Spectator reports. Five music director candidates will be in the spotlight with the HPO, as well as former music director Jamie Sommerville, who returns as conductor and soloist next May. 

The New York Times reported on threats to multi-employer pension plans, like those sponsored by many unions including the AFM. Long thought to be entirely secure, dozens have recently failed and more are on the edge of failure. 

And the Colorado Symphony is launching a new series sponsored by the cannabis industry, the Denver Post reports. The three concerts will feature small ensembles of CSO musicians, performing for a bring-your-own-marijuana crowd at the Space Gallery in Denver's Santa Fe arts district.


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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