Orchestra Digest: Dec. 19, 2016

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Industry news: TSO surplus amid board exodus; new hall in Milwaukee

 

The Toronto Symphony posted an $831k surplus for 2015-16, with increases in administrative expenses balanced by an unusually large contribution of $5m from the Toronto Symphony Foundation, the Globe and Mail reports.

 

News of a shake-up on the TSO Board followed soon after the annual report. Board Chair Richard Phillips departed along with four of five other executive committee members, including Sonia Baxendale, the interim CEO last season following Jeff Melanson's resignation. The Globe and Mail reported on the leadership change, though little explanation was given.

 

Musicians of the Slovenian Philharmonic went on strike earlier this month in response to abusive behaviour by recently appointed music director Uroš Lajovic, Slipped Disc reports. They are calling for the dismissal of Lajovic as well as general director Damjan Damjanovič. The International Federation of Musicians issued a statement last week in support of the striking musicians.

 

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, known for innovations in programming and accessibility, reported a $245k surplus for 2015-16, setting records in numbers of households attending and ticket revenue, the Star Tribune reports.

 

An abandoned theatre may provide a new home for the Milwaukee SymphonyMilwaukee Public Radio (WUWM) reports. The MSO has raised over half of the $120m needed to convert the Warner Grand Theatre into a concert hall.

 

Canada and culture: Female conductors; NAC makeover

 

"Why are there so few female conductors?", The Walrus Magazine asks this month, noting that while Canadian women are among the field's rising stars, the gender gap persists.  

 

Last week the Vancouver city council unanimously approved a motion recognizing arts and culture as one of four "pillars" of sustainable development, the Georgia Straight reports. Cities around the world, including several in Canada, have adopted a policy statement to this effect, Agenda 21.

 

First built 50 years ago, the National Arts Centre may finally achieve its founder's vision after a major renovation, the Globe and Mail reports. The renovations will expand the Centre's size, scope, and reach across the nation - while moving the main entrance to face the city.

 

Sing-Along Messiah; Winnipeg welcomes refugees; early music ed in Montreal

 

Tafelmusik's Sing-Along Messiah turned 30 this year, the Toronto Star reports. The event has become a beloved tradition for many. Conductor Ivars Taurins spoke with Tom Powers last week on CBC Radio's Q.

 

The Winnipeg Symphony will welcome refugees with free admission to a concert showcasing multicultural dance traditions in February, MetroNews reports.  

 

Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony are bringing early music instruction to preschoolers at École St-Rémi Annexe in Montreal North, CBC reports. The program, La Musique aux Enfants, will extend over two years with intensive daily lessons.

 

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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. You may also want to check Orchestras Canada's Job Board, sponsored by the CFM.

 

Orchestra Digest: Nov. 25

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Canadian orchestras: A landmark tour, new hires, and Canada's 150th in Ottawa 
 
Orchestre Métropolitain and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin announced a new Deutsche Gramophone recording and a European tour, both in fall 2017, the Montreal Gazette reports. The recordings will feature singers Rolando Villazón and Ildar Abdrazakov. 
 
The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony announced a $178k surplus on $5.6m in revenue for the 2015-16 season, The Record reports. The KWS has so far not announced a replacement for Music Directory Edwin Outwater, who completes his tenure this season.
 
This week on CBC Radio's Q, host Tom Power interviewed Alexander Prior, the Edmonton Symphony's incoming Music Director, on the fixation with his age (24) and how to connect with young audiences. 
 
The Calgary Philharmonic announced the appointment of Vincent Ho as New Music Advisor, a position created for Mr. Ho, the Calgary Herald reports
 
The National Arts Centre has begun to unveil plans for Canada's 150th anniversary next year, CBC reports, including orchestra and theatre tours and a six-week Canada Scene festival next summer. The NAC building is scheduled to re-open on Canada Day after a $110.5m renovation.
 
 
US orchestras: Changing business models and an end to Pittsburgh strike
 
Pittsburgh Symphony musicians accepted 5-year contract, with a 7.5% pay cut this season restored gradually, the Post-Gazette reports. The deal concludes a 2-month strike, in time for Holiday Pops concerts in early December. 
 
"Orchestras are too important to fail," writes attorney Jonathan Kaledin, calling for increasing government support for symphony orchestras in a USA Today opinion column
 
US orchestras have grown increasingly dependent on philanthropic giving, the NY Times reports, summarizing data released by the League of American Orchestras. Beyond its attention-grabbing headline ("It's Official: Many Orchestras Are Now Charities"), the article delves into the varied and shifting business models of larger orchestras.  
 
 
A Canadian voice remembered
 
Baritone Bernard Turgeon, a legendary opera singer and educator, died in Victoria last week at age 85, the Globe and Mail reports. Among his achievements was a triumphant lead performance Harry Somers' opera Louis Riel, which premiered in 1967 and will finally be remounted by the Canadian Opera Company next year. 
 
 
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. You may also want to check Orchestras Canada's Job Board, sponsored by the CFM. 

Orchestra Digest: Nov. 8, 2016

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This week: Music director designates in Victoria, Edmonton, and Calgary; play-and-talk at Pacific Symphony; and the allure of the octobass. Here are stories we're following...
 
 
New maestros
 
Three western orchestras have recently announced their next music directors, each taking over in 2017-18. Let's start with the Victoria Symphony, where 34-year-old Danish conductor Christian Kluxen takes the helm, the Times-Colonist reports. Kluxen earned rave reviews for a recent performance opening the orchestra's Masterworks Monday series.
 
The Edmonton Symphony has appointed 24-year-old British conductor Alexander Prior, the Journal reports. Prior, who is also a composer, earned high marks for an ESO performance of Nielsen 2nd two weeks ago. 
 
And the Calgary Philharmonic showed off its new maestro, Norwegian Rune Bergmann, in a recent concert reviewed by the Herald
 
Simon Rattle, who will take over as music director of the London Symphony in 2017, spoke to the NY Times in advance of Carnegie Hall performances with his current orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic. Rattle's busy autumn also included a residency at Carnegie, performances with the Met Opera and Philadelphia Orchestra, and a memorial concert for organist/choirmaster John Scott. 
 
 
Business news 
 
The Philadelphia Orchestra is adopting several recommendations from consultant Michael Kaiser, the Inquirer reports - including expanded outreach, new philanthropic councils and programming musicals. 
 
Two years ahead of schedule, the Atlanta Symphony completed a $25 million fundraising campaign to restore its complement of musicians, ArtsATL reports. The initiative was helped by a $2.5m donation from Delta Airlines. 
 
Musicians of the Pacific Symphony have been working with an expired contract since August 31st, the LA Times reports; they rejected a contract proposal on Oct. 23rd. The orchestra's part-time status and lack of guarantees are major points of contention.
 
The Canadian Opera Company posted a modest surplus for the 2015-16 season, $32,000, according to a press release issued on Broadway World. The COC endowment increased by $1m during the fiscal year, to $37.5m as of June 30, 2016. 
 
This week, the COC unveils Second Nature, an environmentalist-themed opera by Matthew Aucoin, to be performed on its Ensemble Studio School Tour, the Toronto Star reports.  
 
The Chronicle Herald reports on Symphony Nova Scotia's 2015-16 season, which drew strong attendance, a new partnership to bring in diverse audiences, and a $9,000 surplus. 
 
And media organizations couldn't resist the Montreal Symphony's latest addition: a rare octobass. Read, see, and hear it at CBC, the Violin ChannelClassic FM, or CTV News
 
 
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. You may also want to check Orchestras Canada's Job Board, sponsored by the CFM. 
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