Orchestra Digest: Jan. 30th

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This week: Crisis averted in Fort Worth and Hartford; Thunder Bay Symphony seeks an assist from city hall; and downsizing Canadian journalism. 
 
 
US news
 
The Fort Worth Symphony narrowly averted a strike, signing a one-year contract this evening, the Dallas Morning News reports. Earlier in the week, musicians had voted to authorize a strike and rejected management's "final contract offer" of 8.7% pay cuts; the temporary contract will freeze 2014-15 wages and conditions. 
 
Last week, Hartford Symphony musicians accepted a pay cut upwards of 30%, agreeing to a contract management said was needed for the orchestra to survive. WNPR commentator Steve Metcalf considers the challenges now facing the HSO in their attempts to rebuild. 
 
The New York Philharmonic announced Jaap van Zweden (pronounced 'Yahp van ZVAY-den') as its next music director, the NY Times reports. Zweden, who currently directs the Dallas Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic, will take over from Alan Gilbert following the 2016-17 season. 
 
 
Canadian news
 
The Thunder Bay Symphony's fundraising appeal extended to city hall last week, where board chair Paul Inksetter asked councillors to advance grant funds that would normally go to the orchestra following budget ratification, CBC News reports. Inksetter reported the orchestra was about halfway to its $225k fundraising goal. 
 
Inside Toronto explores the curious history of the Cabbagetown neighbourhood, home to founders and leaders of the Toronto SymphonyCanadian Opera Company, and other major arts institutions. 
 
The Winnipeg Sun posed 20 questions to Winnipeg Symphony music director Alexander Mickelthwaite to preview the orchestra's New Music Festival. 
 
And Postmedia, Canada's largest newspaper chain, last week merged newsrooms and downsized its staff in Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver, the Globe and Mail reported. Cuts to the "mainstream media" impact all of us, the Globe and Mail's Marsha Lederman writes
 
 
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. Visit OCSM on Facebook, or tweet us @ocsm-omosc.
 
Orchestras Canada's weekly, bilingual newsletter features even more news from Canadian orchestras as well as advocacy information - click here to read the latest edition and sign up for delivery to your inbox each Wednesday.

Orchestra Digest: Jan 16th

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This week: Play and talk at Hartford and Fort Worth Symphonies; the NY City Opera returns; an impressive new Canadian Opera Company season; and remembering Boulez and Masur.
 
 
Orchestras in the news
 
While concerts go on, Fort Worth Symphony musicians and management are publicly clashing over the direction of their orchestra, KERA News reports. Musicians are calling for an expanded budget and fundraising vision; management says cuts are necessary. Negotiations will continue next Monday. An open letter and petition to FWSO management is online at GrowthNotCuts.org.
 
Play and talk continues at the Hartford Symphony as well - negotiations there have lasted over a year. Last week musicians unanimously rejected a management proposal that would have meant roughly $1.5m in wage cuts; musicians have offered $750k in concessions, the Hartford Courant reports. NPR commentator Steve Metcalf recently wrote that the symphony is facing a precipice.
 
The New York City Opera is back, with performances as soon as next week, the NY Times reports. The recovery plan by an organization called NYCO Renaissance received approval from the NY state attorney general's office on Tuesday; City Opera orchestra musicians cheered the news.
 
A campaign to support the Thunder Bay Symphony continued with a pre-Christmas appeal in the Chronicle Herald. The TBSO faces significant funding challenges, and turning to the community with a goal of $225k.
  
Globe and Mail critic Robert Harris calls the Canadian Opera Company's lineup for 2016/17 "its most balanced, season in years". Rarely heard operas - a remounting of Harry Somers' Louis Riel (premiered in 1967) and Handel's Ariodante - join the bill with favourites including The Magic Flute, Tosca, Norma, and Gotterdammerung. 
 
 

Read more: Orchestra Digest: Jan 16th

Orchestra Digest: December 11th

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This week: Thunder Bay Symphony appeals for support; strong reports from Cleveland, Indy, and Minnesota; and a circus video we can't watch, but can't look away...
 
 
Thunder Bay Symphony deficit & other business news
 
The Thunder Bay Symphony is calling on supporters to help it through dire financial straits, CBC News reports; they have set a fundraising goal of $225K. Board chair Paul Inksetter and Executive Director Shannon Widden spoke to CBC yesterday morning on the challenges facing the orchestra.
 

The Cleveland Orchestra's annual report carried lots of good news, the Plain Dealer reports: increased attendance, endowment growth, and record-setting philanthropy were some highlights. The Orchestra's leadership is in transition, with longtime executive director Gary Hanson handing off to Quebec native Andre Gremillet.

 
Ticket and subscription sales also boosted the Indianapolis Symphony to a third-consecutive surplus, the Indy Business Journal reports. The $900K surplus in 2014-15 topped both of the previous years'. 
 
The court battle between groups seeking to revive the New York City Opera ended peacefully last week, as Gene Kaufman's group withdrew, the NY Times reports. A group backed by Roy G. Niederhoffer called NYCO Renaissance is now the only proposal; they plan to mount Puccini's Tosca in January, perhaps under the NYC Opera name. 
 
Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have donated $250K to their orchestra to establish a fund for musician-led education and outreach programming, the NY Times reports. The money was earned through musician-produced concerts during the 2012-14 lockout; the nonprofit organization which musicians formed during that lockout will dissolve after filing 2015 taxes. The announcement came with the MinnOrch's annual report for 2014-15, which finished with a small surplus. 
 

Read more: Orchestra Digest: December 11th

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