Orchestra Digest: December 6th

This week: Orchestra London's shaky finances, the Toronto Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra buck the shrinking orchestra trend, and Calgary's visually-enhanced Turangalîla. Here are stories we're following....

First the bad news...

The London Free Press obtained an internal message from Orchestra London Board Chair Joe O'Neill, describing the orchestra's finances as "precarious" while expressing confidence in Executive Director Joe Swan. O'Neill warns that "further restructuring to reduce expenses is inevitable."

The New York Times reported a downsizing trend among some major American orchestras: Roll over, Mahler: U.S. orchestras are shrinking. Exhibit A is the Atlanta Symphony, which has recently reduced from 95 musicians to 77.

...and then some good
"You seldom shrink your way to greatness," Toronto Symphony CEO Jeff Melanson told the Toronto Star. The TSO posted a surplus in 2013-14, as Melanson promised an era of growth and bold thinking.
The Calgary Philharmonic teamed up with artists from Alberta College of Art and Design for a multimedia performance of Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony last weekend, an Alberta premiere. The Globe and Mail posted a preview, and Giller Prize-winning novelist Sean Michaels posted a review for the National Post.

The Cleveland Orchestra posted close to a $1 million surplus last season, with record fundraising and a surge in attendance, the Plain Dealer reports. The success came as the orchestra launched a new initiative to bring in young people, and toured Europe and the US.

The Minnesota Orchestra's annual report didn't match the glitz, but came as remarkable news from an orchestra recovering from a lengthy lockout, as the Star Tribune reports. The MinnOrch's deficit of $650K was less than expected, and comes amid a major rebuilding campaign.

People in the news

After just two and a half years on the job, Minnesota Opera President Kevin Ramach announced his resignation effective immediately, the Star Tribune reports. An interim replacement, Nina Archabal, was named in the same announcement.

And Symphony Nova Scotia Music Director Bernhard Gueller will stay on through 2018, the Chronicle Herald reports. Gueller, whose tenure began in 2002, extended his contract for two more seasons, giving the orchestra time to search for a successor.

Compiled by Matt Heller, OCSM 1st VP. Sources include the discussion groups of ICSOM and ROPA. Visit OCSM online at: http://ocsm-omosc.org/index.php.