Orchestra Digest: September 23

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This week: Bold words from Pinchas Zukerman, new seasons in Toronto and Saskatoon, a big rally in Minneapolis, and negotiations all over. Here are stories we're following...

Canada news
National Arts Centre Orchestra music director Pinchas Zukerman, who will leave the orchestra in 2015, says that major changes are needed at NACO: to its mandate, its facilities, and perhaps even its name. Zukerman's comments arose in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen last week.
The Toronto Symphony season opens this week, and the Detroit News reports on the opening concerts. TSO music director Peter Oundjian is well-known to Detroit audiences from his tenure with the Detroit Symphony. 
Novelist and Toronto Star columnist David MacFarlane writes that for those new to opera, the Canadian Opera Company's season-opening production of La Bohème is the place to start. The COC's 2013-14 season begins next week.
Last week Saskatoon Symphony musicians promoted their new season by hitting the streets - or more accurately, the parking lots. The Star Phoenix reports on their mini-performances as part of Saskatoon's second annual Park(ing) Day.

Read more: Orchestra Digest: September 23

Orchestra Digest: September 15

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This week: countering negativity in Minnesota, weighing proposals in London, agreement in Baltimore, and a conductor provokes outrage in Norway. Here are stories we're following....
Minnesota Orchestra update
Writing in Polyphonic.org, Robert Levine took a careful read of the recent financial analysis released by the Minnesota Orchestra management, as reported in the Star Tribune. Levine points out several examples of misleading data and sloppy conclusions. 
Last Sunday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial board posted their "Verdict on orchestra: Costs are too high". ICSOM Chair Bruce Ridge response was printed this week: "Minnesota Orchestra: Star Tribune shouldn't echo leadership's dirge"
Minnesota Orchestra musicians made a counter-offer to management last week, the Star Tribune reports, though management disputed the validity of the counter-offer. The exchange seemed to indicate that the two sides are at least communicating. 
Orchestra London real estate battles
The London Free Press brought city council's consideration of two plans for new concert halls up for public debate, and found the public largely in favour of the Grand Theatre's proposal. Meanwhile, the Free Press obtained a consultant's report casting doubt on both proposals
Adding to the intrigue, the Free Press reports on an anonymous benefactor's pledge of $1 million to back the plan favoured by the Orchestra, which would create a new performing arts facility. 
Both plans got a public hearing on Wednesday, with some live updates by Free Press journalist Patrick Maloney. That's the latest report as of this writing - stay tuned for more.

Read more: Orchestra Digest: September 15

Orchestra Digest: September 7

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This week: Warring words in Minnesota; orchestra updates from London and Windsor; and audiences hear with their eyes. Here are stories we're following...
The pen is mightier
Former US Senator George Mitchell has been mediating talks between Minnesota Orchestra musicians and management, the New York Times reports. Last week management proposed a 2-month play and talk period, with an imposed 2-year contract with a 25% pay cut if negotiations were not successful.
On Thursday, musicians voted to reject that offer, the NY Times reports. Interviewed Friday on Minnesota Public Radio, musician representative Tim Zavadil affirmed musicians' support for the proposal offered by mediator George Mitchell, which included a play-and-talk but without the 25% pay cut provision. 
Commentaries this week included an article by former Minnesota Orchestra cellist Mina Fisher, published in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune; a cross-blog exchange promoted by Save Our Symphony MN; an open letter by ROPA President (and Minnesota native) Carla Lehmeier-Tatum, published in the Winona Daily News; and a letter by your OCSM executive board, featured as a letter of the day by Save Our Symphony MN
We encourage you to write a letter of your own. The Minnesota Orchestra Musicians' website provides a list of MOA board member contact information, with advice and plenty of examples. Please also copy your letter to: contact (at) minnesotaorchestramusicians.org, saveoursymphonymn (at) gmail.com, ocsm.secretary (at) gmail.com

Read more: Orchestra Digest: September 7

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