Orchestra Digest: September 5

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This week: Highlights from our conference; the TSO's successful tour; Jeff Alexander departs VSO for Chicago; and sounding out the classical internet.

Conference season: from Halifax to LA

Delegates met in Halifax this August 5-8. They'll report to each orchestra directly, but here's a quick rundown of some of the highlights

Any musicians in the Ottawa area on October 21st should consider attending the Canadian Arts Coalition's Arts Day on the Hill. Or visit the CAC website for resources to help you meet locally with your MP to advocate for symphonic music.

ICSOM (International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians) also convened last week in Los Angeles, with President Bob Fraser representing OCSM. You can read several noteworthy speeches from the Conference at ICSOM's website.

News from Canadian orchestras
The Toronto Star summed up a successful Toronto Symphony tour last week, its first European tour in 14 years. TSO violinist and OCSM Delegate Leslie Dawn Knowles also filed a guest blog post at Broadway World, covering some of the players' extracurricular activities while on tour.

After 14 years as the Vancouver Symphony's President and CEO, Jeff Alexander is moving on to the same post at the Chicago Symphony, the Vancouver Sun reports. Alexander succeeds Deborah Rutter, who recently accepted the top job at Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center.
And the Edmonton Symphony was surprised by huge audience turnout for last weekend's outdoor Symphony in the City concerts, CTV News reports. The Edmonton Journal also previewed the concerts.

US orchestras in the news

The Atlanta Symphony is again facing a possible work stoppage, ArtsATL reports, less than two years after its last lockout. The current agreement expires on September 6th, and negotiations have been ongoing for 8 months.

The ASO negotiations took an unusual turn with a public statement Tuesday from music director Robert Spano and principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. The conductors maintained neutrality, but asked the ASO board to "acknowledge the sacrifice the musicians have already made"; management issued its own statement, pointing to continuing operating deficits.

The Kansas City Symphony reported record ticket sales and a broadening audience base for 2013-14, the KC Business Journal reports.

A shocking crime in upper New York state ended the life of professional violinist Mary Whitaker, the New York Times reports. Two men are being held for the robbery and murder.

Brave New World, orchestra edition

Recently New York Times critic Michael Cooper reviewed streaming services' operatic offerings: At Home with Renée and Plácido.

New Yorker classical music critic Alex Ross filed a story on a similar beat, headlined The Classical Cloud. He questioned "the aesthetics and the ethics" of services that pay royalties to artists in hundredths of cents per play.

Across the pond, the Guardian looks at orchestras riding the wave of change, from digital offerings to community outreach to cannabis concerts.

The UK's ArtsProfessional blog reports on mental illness and alcoholism among professional musicians, following a recently released survey and a BBC Channel 4 special, Addicts Symphony.

And the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Symphony is doing innovative work with music therapy for neurological patients, the Spectrum Health blog reports. The pilot project was started with a grant which brought musician duos into care settings.

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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