Orchestra Digest: July 3

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This week: Good news in Winnipeg; analysis of the Steinway deal; symphonic toothpicks in Ottawa; and Eddins on diversity. Here are stories we're following...

Accentuating the Positive 

  • The Winnipeg Symphony posted its sixth consecutive surplus in 2012-13, the Winnipeg Free Press reports. The positive financials benefitted from a 10 percent increase in ticket revenue, and an artistically successful season. 
  • "We are turning a corner," new Jacksonville Symphony board chair Martin Connor told the Florida Times-Union. Newly approved changes reduce the board's size, and aim to make members more engaged. Musicians signed an agreement this April, following long and contentious negotiations.
  • The Omaha Symphony generated $45 million in economic activity over the past five years, WOWT reports. Produced by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bureau of Business Research, the economic impact study accompanied strong attendance and financial numbers announced by the Omaha Symphony this week.  
  • Responding to criticism in London's city council, Orchestra London board chair Joe O'Neill promised "an aggressive initiative (focused) on increasing corporate revenue", the London Free Press reports.

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Orchestra Digest: June 24

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This week: Floods in Calgary, agreements in Toronto and Pittsburgh, Tanglewood upgrades, and awards season. Here are stories we're following... 
When it rains it pours:
  • Rain and flooding deluged Calgary and nearby towns last week. While Calgary Philharmonic staff and many musicians were forced to evacuate, reports so far are that musicians, staff, and facilities were not harmed. 
  • A 2010 flood greatly impacted the Nashville Symphony - which continues to struggle under a debt burden. Last week an editorial in the Tennessean called on business and city leaders to help restore the orchestra.
  • The TSO's performance in this year's Luminato Festival was a hit despite the rain, Toronto Star writer Martin Knelman reports. The orchestra's outdoor concert on Saturday with a 'Music Mob' of fans was marred only by torrential rainstorms. 
  • Toronto Symphony musicians also signed a new, 3-year contract this week, OCSM Delegate Leslie Dawn Knowles reports. The agreement includes a salary freeze in year one with modest increases in years two and three; as well as new provisions relating to live concerts accompanying film. 
  • Negotiations at the Lexington (Kentucky) Philharmonic have reached a stalemate, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. Players and management have clashed over the use of reduced size ensembles, hiring outside extras, and the focus of programming.
Financial news:
  • While many orchestras' seasons have now ended, the Minnesota Orchestra's lockout has not. Campaign for America's Future, a progressive organization, considers the unfortunate state of the orchestra in light of the enormous fortunes of its corporate board members. 
  • Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony, will undergo $30 million in upgrades over the next seven to eight years, the Berkshire Eagle reports
  • The Southwest Florida Symphony is facing a debt crisis, but recent fundraising efforts have begun to pay off, the News-Press reports. That includes an online campaign by principal flutist Bill Larsen, which has gathered $21,000 in donations. 
  • The Canadian Opera Company reported strong attendance for 2012-13, with a sold-out run of Tristan und Isolde and 90% attendance throughout the season, the Toronto Star reports. The numbers were nevertheless a slight decrease from 2011-13. The Lyric Opera of Chicago also filed strong numbers this past season, the Chicago Tribune reports
People and awards: 
  • Canadian conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni will leave Columbus when his contract expires in August 2014, the Columbus Dispatch reports. Zeitouni was appointed as music director in 2010. 
  • Edmonton Symphony executive director Annemarie Petrov was honoured with the Rozsa Innovation Award, which singled her out for her work in restructuring the administration of the ESO and the Winspear Centre, the Edmonton Journal reports
  • And the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians has released a documentary celebrating its anniversary, titled ICSOM: The First Fifty Years. A 90-second trailer is available on YouTube.
Compiled by OCSM President Matt Heller. Sources include the discussion groups of ICSOM and ROPA. Visit OCSM online at: http://ocsm-omosc.org/index.php

Orchestra Digest: June 8

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This week: remembering Mario; troubles in Nashville; rifts in London and Kitchener; debating classical music's vitality; and ads on CBC. Here are stories we're following...
  • Mario Bernardi, who helped found the National Arts Centre Orchestra and served as Music Director of the Calgary Philharmonic, died last Sunday at age 82. CBC News and the Ottawa Citizen both filed remembrances. 
  • The Schermerhorn Center, home of the Nashville Symphony, is threatened with foreclosure, and the Symphony may face bankruptcy, The Tennessean reports. Negotiations with lenders are ongoing. 
  • The public rift between Orchestra London CEO Joe Swan and Centennial Hall manager Don Jones escalated, with demands for apologies answered by refusals, the London Free Press reports
  • Another dispute, involving the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Centre in the Square, also reached the press this week. The Record printed a letter by the Symphony's former CEO, John Spearn, calling for both sides and city hall to work together and resolve the conflict.
  • A letter claiming that "classical music is dying" made the editorial page of the NY Times last week. The author was the former executive director of Orchestra Nova San Diego. ICSOM Chair Bruce Ridge responded on the same editorial page, arguing that reports of classical music's demise have been greatly exaggerated. 
  • CBC's Radio 2 and Espace Musique will feature advertisements for the first time following a decision by the CRTC, the Toronto Star reports. Critics argue that the decision puts the CBC on a "slippery slope" to full commercialization, though many defended it as necessary to maintaining CBC's core mandate.
  • Members of the Philadelphia Orchestra gave an impromptu performance on a plane grounded in Beijing, NBC Philadelphia reports. Fellow passengers eagerly documented the mini-concert on their cell phones. 
  • Renowned pianist Krystian Zimerman interrupted a recital in Germany last week to protest an audience member filming the concert on a phone, the National Post reports. Zimerman resumed the concert after a few minutes, telling the audience, "The destruction of music through YouTube is enormous."
  • And Young Musicians of Minnesota, a new advocacy group of students, launched a presence online and on Facebook this week, calling for an end to the Minnesota Orchestra lockout.  
Compiled by OCSM President Matt Heller. Sources include the discussion groups of ICSOM and ROPA. Visit OCSM online at: http://ocsm-omosc.org/index.php
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