Orchestra Digest: January 26th

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This week: a new leaf at the Canadian Opera Company, the NLRB rules on social media policies, fundraising quagmires, and a provocative challenge to British orchestras. Here are stories we're following -- and please scroll down to answer our new weekly poll! Responses will appear here next week. 
  • The Canadian Opera Company announced its 2013-14 season this week, including high-profile directors Peter Sellars and Atom Egoyan in productions of Tristan und Isolde and Cosi fan tutte, the Toronto Star reports. Meanwhile, Globe and Mail commentator Robert Harris wonders if the Maple Leafs could learn from the Canadian Opera Company's recent success. 
  • And the Globe and Mail reports on a wooden trumpet built by COC trombonist Herb Poole and instrument-repair expert Gary Armstrong. The instrument will be heard in Tristan, premiering on January 29th. 
  • The Vancouver Symphony's two-week tour of the US west coast tour made its first stop in Seattle on Wednesday night, reviewed in the Seattle Times. The critic praised the VSO as "a supple ensemble with a big, unified sound."
  • The US National Labor Relations Board has ruled that workers have a right to discuss workplace issues and concerns on social media - whether or not that contradicts a corporate social media policy. The New York Times reports on the decisions, which give employees broader protections for certain forms of concerted activity. 
  • In a separate case involving the NLRB, a federal appeals court ruled that President Obama's recess appointments to the Board were unconstitutional, the Washington Post reports. The ruling could trigger challenges to many cases the NLRB has heard, pending appeals to the US Supreme Court. 
  • Union membership in the US fell by over 400,000 in 2012, the New York Times reported, despite overall job growth. The steep decline was attributed in part to right to work legislation in several states. 
  • A new survey of US nonprofits found widespread problems in fundraising, the LA Times reports. The report highlighted revolving-door turnover in key development positions and lack of cooperation by the board, executive directors, and other staff. 
  • The Indianapolis Symphony has a Feb. 3rd deadline to raise $5 million - and just $3.2 million raised so far, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. A shortfall could lead to re-opening negotiations, though management could keep the current contract if they feel the fundraising has been sufficient. 
  • A Minnesota legislative hearing on lockouts Wednesday was dominated by discussion of orchestras, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The committee heard testimony from management and players' representatives of the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, as well as the those impacted by the state's largest lockout, at American Crystal Sugar. 
  • The Star Tribune also reports on apparent progress in talks at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. A recent exchange of proposals showed some movement on both sides, though player rep Carole Mason Smith warned that the gap is still wide. 
  • New York Times classical music editor James Oestreich has accepted a buyout and will retire at the end of the month, the New York Observer reports. The NY Times is encouraging writers to accept the buyout to avoid possible layoffs. 
  • Rochester Philharmonic music director Arild Remmereit's contract has been terminated effective immediately, the Democrat and Chronicle reports. The board had earlier terminated Remmereit effective this August but this week chose to move the date, citing a lack of communication.
  • Playing classical music may lower your blood pressure, according to a Netherlands study reported in the Pacific Standard. Listening while driving may not be beneficial, though -- as reported on NPR, a British study found that participants drove more erratically to classical music than to hip-hop, heavy metal, or silence. 
  • The director of Universal Music's classical division made headlines in the Independent (U.K.) for remarks that orchestras are in "grave danger" if they don't "ride the wave of change". In a speech to the Association of British Orchestras, Max Hole called on musicians to change the way they dress, become more excited when they play and to encourage the audience to applaud whenever they want.


Compiled by Matt Heller, OCSM President. Sources include the discussion groups of ICSOM and ROPA, as well as NPR's Deceptive Cadence blog. Vist OCSM online at: http://ocsm-omosc.org/index.php

Orchestra Digest: January 18th

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This week: Talks resume in Minnesota, record attendance in Cleveland, a CEO's quick exit in New Jersey, and remembering ICSOM co-founder Gino Raffaelli. Here are stories we're following, in the news and on the web....

Read more: Orchestra Digest: January 18th

Orchestra Digest: January 11, 2013

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This week: Toronto loves Mozart, opera meets improv in Chicago, reviewing a tough year in the performing arts, and conductors' pop music favourites. Here are stories we're following, in the news and on the web...

Read more: Orchestra Digest: January 11, 2013

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