Orchestra Digest: January 5th

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This week: Italy's opera crisis, cautious optimism for US orchestras, and an alleged atrocity at US customs. Here are orchestra-related stories making news...

Contracts and finances
New York Philharmonic musicians and management are glad to have a new 4-year contract in place, the New York Times reports. More details were released of the deal, which includes small incremental raises but leaves pension questions unresolved. 
The Minnesota Orchestra has become a cautionary tale for many orchestras; with the lockout in its 16th month, Minnesota Public Radio reported on some orchestras seeing brighter futures, including comments from ICSOM Chair Bruce Ridge. 
Newsweek reports on a crisis among Italian opera houses, caused by cuts in state arts funding; some of Italy's most venerable institutions are facing bankruptcy, and economic uncertainties threaten many others. 

Read more: Orchestra Digest: January 5th

Orchestra Digest: December 17

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This week: Toronto Symphony deficit, New York Phil agreement, and other financial news - as well as advocacy campaigns, Bramwell Tovey's departure, and much more.
Financial news from far and wide
'Tis the season for orchestra financial reports: some naughty, others nice. In the latter category, the Detroit Symphony has reversed its course (and Detroit's) and stayed in the black, the New York Times reports. The Detroit Opera House, home to Michigan Opera Theatre, has been thriving as well, Hour Detroit Magazine reports.
The Cleveland Orchestra's latest financial report contains "virtually nothing but good news", the Plain Dealer reports. Revenues, attendance, and endowment all increased in fiscal 2013, and gifts to the Annual Fund topped $10 million. Another recent Plain Dealer article discusses The Cleveland Orchestra's strategic use of touring to build an international audience base.
The Toronto Symphony posted a $1.2 million deficit in the last fiscal year, the Toronto Star reportsThe National Post's Arthur Kaptainis also weighed the gloomy numbers. The TSO is in a search for a new CEO, and declining revenues will be of major concern for Andrew Shaw's successor. 
Milwaukee Symphony management and musicians reached a deal to reduce the orchestra's size through attrition, the Journal Sentinel reports. The MSO still needs to raise $5 million within the next two months to resolve an urgent cash flow crisis. 
In response, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board called on the community to step up: Love the MSO? Now is the time to show it. ICSOM Chair Bruce Ridge also made the case in a letter to the editor.
The Nashville Symphony received a welcome Christmas gift from singer Taylor Swift, Music Row reports. Swift donated $100,000 to the Symphony, which recently faced its own serious financial crisis. 
And the New York Philharmonic has reached a 4-year agreement, retroactive to September 2013, the New York Times reports. While neither side discussed specific terms, the agreement includes modest wage increases and maintains the current pension benefit levels for the first three years; the final year's pension terms are still to be negotiated. 

Read more: Orchestra Digest: December 17

Orchestra Digest: November 29

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This week: Celebrating Britten in London, a new exec in Charleston, the state of Canadian unions, and more...
Orchestra London is celebrating Benjamin Britten's centenary this weekend, with the Canadian premiere of Britten's Double Concerto for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra, written at age 18. The London Free Press previews the concert with a video performance by associate concertmaster Mary-Elizabeth Brown. 
The Toronto Star reports on the state of the Toronto Symphony, with key vacancies in executive director and marketing and communications director positions. Critic Martin Knelman points to vital partnerships between music directors and executive directors of other successful orchestras.

Read more: Orchestra Digest: November 29

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