Orchestra Digest: January 17

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This week: Windsor Symphony goes to council, TSO's Melanson reflects on his rookie year, and remembering symphonic legends. Please see also our latest update from Orchestra London.

Canadian orchestras (and Opera) in the news

Windsor Symphony executives will go before city council on Monday, seeking to extend its agreement to manage the city's Capitol Theatre, the Windsor Star reports. Executive Director Sheila Wisdom credits new music director Robert Franz, quality musicianship, and strong programming for the orchestra's recent successes.

A new health and wellness initiative at the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony made the pages of the Waterloo Record, focusing on its work with aging and dementia. 
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestral Institute at Whistler will launch this summer, a press release announced. The dates for this inaugural year are June 28-July 5, 2015.
And the Canadian Opera Company announced an unprecedented focus on Canadian music, in its 2015-16 season and beyond, The Globe and Mail reports. The first offering will be the premiere of Pyramus and Thisbe by Toronto composer Barbara Monk Feldman. NOW Toronto also previewed COC's 2015-16 season this week.

Financials at the opera and other US news
An investor service downgraded the Metropolitan Opera's credit rating, the NY Times reported last month, reacting to recent financial struggles at the company.

The name and assets of New York City Opera are being sold, NY Times also reports, and several potential buyers have shown interest - though some have raised red flags.

The Buffalo Philharmonic posted a banner year in 2013-14, Buffalo Business First reports, with record ticket sales and a soaring endowment.

The Green Bay Symphony, which traces its roots to 1913, plans to go out of business this season, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Musicians are looking for ways to keep the orchestra or a successor in the city.

The series of Sibelius symphony recordings by the Minnesota Orchestra under Osmo Vanska will resume this June, Minnesota Public Radio reports. The latest in the series won a Grammy, but further recordings were delayed by the 2012-13 lockout.
The Atlanta Symphony received a $1.25 million gift to endow musician positions, the Journal Constitution reports. The gift by patrons Sally and Carl Gable kicks off a drive to endow 11 full-time positions over the next four years.
And the US Department of Transportation has issued its final rules for airlines carrying musical instruments, the League of American Orchestras announced. The new rules, which will require major airlines to update their policies, go into effect within 60 days.

New hires

New Toronto Symphony President/CEO Jeff Melanson contributed to The Globe and Mail's "My Rookie Year" series, writing about his work to date, including the decision to bring risers to Roy Thomson Hall.

The Alabama Symphony has named Carlos Izcaray its next music director, Birmingham News reports. The 37-year old Venezuelan currently lives in Germany, and has guest conducted widely.

Andrew Litton will take over as music director of the New York City Ballet Orchestra this fall, the NY Times reports. Litton is currently music director of the Colorado Symphony and the Bergen Philharmonic. 

Legendary performers remembered

Pianist Claude Frank, celebrated for his recordings of Beethoven, passed away at age 89, the NY Times reports.

One of the San Francisco Symphony's most enduring and celebrated musicians, flutist Paul Renzi, passed away on Dec. 19th, the SF Chronicle reports. Renzi was 88.

Retired New York Philharmonic principal cellist Laszlo Varga died on Dec. 11th, at the age of 89, the NY Times reports.
Another legend, retired Philadelphia Orchestra principal cellist William Stokking, passed away on Dec. 14th, at the age of 81, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

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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