Orchestra Digest: March 6th

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This week: The NY Phil renames Avery Fisher Hall, new seasons launch, and Dutoit's return to Montreal. Here are stories we're following...
New seasons, agreements, and names
This week brought new season announcements from the Vancouver Symphony (the Vancouver Sun reports) and Symphony Nova Scotia (the Chronicle Herald reports).

Symphony Nova Scotia also announced a new, 5-year agreement with musicians, the Chronicle Herald reports. The agreement includes incremental salary increases and a new, 2-week summer season, beginning in 2017.

The Regina Leader-Post and News Talk 980 covered the launch of the Regina Symphony's 2015-16 season, which will be Victor Sawa's last as the RSO's music director. Six candidates for the position will take the podium next season.
Avery Fisher Hall, the home of the New York Philharmonic, will soon be named for David Geffen, the NY Times reports. The entertainment magnate donated $100 million to support major renovations of the concert hall.

The Musicians of Orchestra London continue to perform, most recently last Sunday with Ivars Taurins and the Amabile choral festival, the Free Press reported.

Charles Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony will share a stage next season, for the first time since 2002, Global News reports. Meanwhile, the Globe and Mail wonders how many musicians would refuse to take part.

The Saskatoon Symphony has named Eric Paetkau its next music director, CBC News reports.
Sir Simon Rattle will be the next music director of the London Symphony, the Evening Standard reports. Rattle will take over in 2017, after a 15-year tenure with the Berlin Philharmonic.

Another major music directorship is open, as Christoph Eschenbach announced his 2017 departure from the National Symphony, the Baltimore Sun reports.

The Los Angeles Phil's star CEO, Deborah Borda, will take a sabbatical this fall to take on a residency at Harvard teaching cultural entrepreneurship, the LA Times reports.

And Minnesota Orchestra music director Osmo Vänskä spoke to MinnPost about Sibelius, the state of his orchestra, and their upcoming tour to Cuba.

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.

Orchestra Digest: February 13th

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This week: A historic Cuba tour, an LA Phil close-up, and music directors on the move. Here are stories we're following....

Tours, awards, and new seasons

The Windsor Symphony will maintain a strong Masterworks series for the 2015-16 season, the Windsor Star reports. Among the highlights are a festival devoted to Mozart and a concert version of La Boheme.

Winners in the classical music categories at the Grammy Awards included the St. Louis Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and violinist Hilary Hahn, New York Public Radio's WQXR reports.

Another Grammy-winning ensemble, the Minnesota Orchestra, will tour Cuba this May, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. The MinnOrch, which toured Cuba most recently in 1930, will be the first US orchestra to return there since the beginning of normalized relations.

Next week the Berlin Philharmonic begins a residency in London, the Economist reports, including chamber concerts and a workshop with young musicians. The headline events will be a full cycle of the Sibelius symphonies and two performances of Mahler's 2nd Symphony, paired with German modernist composer Helmut Lachenmann.


This week the LA Times took an up-close look at several musicians of the LA Philharmonic, in a story accompanied by video, finding impressive focus attention to detail. The LA Phil is now the US' best-paid orchestra.
Colorado Springs Philharmonic principal tubist Charles Ortega continues to fight for survival, following an auto accident in January, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports. An online fund, Charlie's Fund, has been created to help with medical costs.

National Arts Centre Orchestra principal cellist Amanda Forsyth will resign from the orchestra to pursue solo and chamber music opportunities, the Ottawa Citizen reports. Pinchas Zukerman, who is married to Forsyth, is also in his last season as NACO's music director.

Eleven years into his tenure as Symphony Nova Scotia music director, Bernhard Gueller remains popular with musicians and audiences, the Cape Breton Post reports. Gueller began his career as a successful cellist.

Toronto Symphony resident conductor Earl Lee, another cellist-turned-maestro, was profiled last weekend by the Globe and Mail. Five years after a diagnosis of focal dystonia ended his playing career, Lee made his official debut with the TSO last Saturday.  

Quebec-native Marie-Hélène Bernard has been appointed president and CEO of the St. Louis Symphony, the Post Dispatch reports. Bernard previously led Boston's Handel and Haydn Society.

Alan Gilbert will end his term as the New York Philharmonic's music director with the 2016-17 season, the New York Times reports. Gilbert will have led the NY Phil for eight seasons; his decision was largely based on the scheduled construction of a new hall, which won't be completed until 2021 at the earliest.

The Milwaukee Symphony is also in search of a new music director, following Edo de Waart's announcement that he will step down after the 2016-17 season, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. De Waart will also have led his orchestra for eight seasons.

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.

Orchestra Digest: February 3rd

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This week: The orchestra is the jewel in TSO's new season, new agreements for SF Symphony and Yannick, and Edmontonians consider the post-Eddins era. 

Orchestras in the news

The Toronto Symphony announced its 2015-16 season last week with an emphasis on the orchestra rather than high-profile soloists, as the National Post reports. "If you constantly bring in superstars, you can undermine people's view of the orchestra as the jewel," music director Peter Oundjian said. The Globe and Mail also previewed the TSO's new season.

The musicians of Orchestra London will perform again this Sunday, with guest soprano Sonja Gustafson and conductor Brian Jackson joining them for Broadway musical highlights, the London Free Press reports.

And shows are still on for London-based symphonic rock group Jeans 'n Classics, the Free Press reports. Leader Peter Brennan wants people to know that the group is very much a going concern; they broke off their affiliation with Orchestra London in 2012.

Management and musicians of the San Francisco Symphony reached a new 3-year agreement through November 2018, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Two years ago, a brief strike cancelled several concerts and an East Coast tour.

A group of investors led by hedge fund manager Roy Niederhoffer will work to revive the New York City Opera, the Wall Street Journal reports. Two competing bids were studied by US Bankruptcy Court Judge Sean Lane, who agreed that Niederhoffer's group gave a better proposal. 

Travel across the US border continues to be a worry for musicians whose instruments contain small amounts of ivory or Brazilian rosewood, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Some musicians may not even be aware of their instruments' materials, but US Wildlife Service agents are demanding they obtain passports confirming their provenance.

Read more: Orchestra Digest: February 3rd

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