Orchestra Digest: December 21

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This week: Symphonic turnarounds, Saskatoon wishes Sawa farewell, and a slew of major gifts. Also, please see this post for recent news from Orchestra London.


The Indianapolis Symphony posted its second straight surplus in 2013-14, the Indianapolis Business Journal reports, lifted by strong fundraising and a 16 percent increase in ticket sales.
The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra also finished last season in the black, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Attendance reached a 20-year high for 2013-14, the first full season since the lockout. A MinnPost article looks into the orchestra's attempts to re-invent "modern chamber orchestra."

And the Detroit Symphony posted a small surplus, Detroit News reports, with growth in ticket sales and donations.


Soon after hiring Courtney Lewis as its next music director, the Jacksonville Symphony named Robert Massey its next president and CEO, the Jacksonville Daily Record reports. Soon after that announcement, the orchestra and musicians reached a 3-year agreement with incremental raises, the Florida Times Union reports.

This season is Victor Sawa's last as music director of the Saskatoon Symphony, and as Global News reports, the search for his replacement is well underway. His last message to Saskatoon: "I'll miss you guys, have me back!"

And SSO musician Stephanie Unverricht, a Saskatoon native, has designed school programs to educate and inspire students in her city, Global News reports.

Season of giving

The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation will give $38 million to the Woodruff Arts Center, including $8 million to the Atlanta Symphony endowment, WQXR reports. The ASO's 9-week lockout ended last month with an agreement that reduced the orchestra's size.

Tech entrepreneur and Los Angeles Philharmonic board member David Bohnett will give $20 million to the orchestra in recognition of president Deborah Borda, the LA Times reports. The new fund will go partly towards exploring new digital platforms to reach audiences.
And Curtis Institute board chair Nina von Maltzahn is giving the school $11.5 million, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The donation will underwrite a President's Chair and the Curtis on Tour program.
Other items of note

The New York Times laid off cultural reporter Allan Kozinn this week, along with roughly 110 other journalists and staff members, Musical America reports. Classical music blogger Norman Lebrecht called the firing "a terrible mistake."
The 'Cromnibus' budget bill passed by the U.S. Congress last week will cut benefits for some retirees in multiemployer pension plans, Time reports. The cuts affect funds in the "red zone", meaning they are seriously underfunded.
The Thunder Bay Symphony is taking a hard look at recent deficits, TB Newswatch reports. Executive director Shannon Whidden and his staff have taken wage cuts to reduce spending.

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.

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