We celebrate the life of our dear colleague Douglas Sommer who passed away this morning. Doug played in the bass section of the ASO for 25 years but was more to the musicians than just one member of our large family. He was a respected leader who we all counted on for support during our most challenging times. We'll remember him for his great musicianship, his "Hey, man" greetings, his cool demeanor and his warm friendship. Peace be with his lovely family, Phyllis, Gracie and Andrew.
The new church bells at Atlanta Symphony Orchestra are remarkable for several reasons. First, they're of a type that's exceedingly rare in the US; very few orchestras own them. Second, they're used in exactly one piece of music: Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, which the ASO is performing this weekend.
The third compelling detail about the new bells is the man whose memory they honor, an eccentric wit of a musician who played with the ASO for 49 years.
WABE’s Kate Sweeney paid a visit to Symphony Hall to talk with principle percussionist Tom Sherwood, about the bells and the unique man whose life they commemorate.
Pictured above: Tom Sherwood and the ASO church bells dedicated in Eugene Rehm's honor.
Full story: http://wabe.org/post/new-aso-bells-unique-musician-they-honor
In the last five years, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has had 21 sell-outs in Music Hall, boosted attendance by double digits and nearly doubled the number of donations to its annual fund.“Something unique and exceptional is happening, and it’s unique to Cincinnati,” said president Trey Devey, who joined the orchestra in January 2009.
The orchestra’s fiscal year, which ended in August, saw the completion of a five-year strategic plan, in which it posted five consecutive years of a balanced budget. But success for an orchestra has to be more than balancing the books. Last season saw groundbreaking initiatives such as LumenoCity, the concert and digital light spectacular, which brought 35,000 people to Washington Park over two nights, and “One City, One Symphony,” a program of listening parties and performances that galvanized the city around one musical work, Beethoven’s Ninth.
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has been on a hot streak recently, performing at Carnegie Hall and balancing its budget for the first time in six years.
But news that the musicians ratified a new 3-year contract today that includes modest annual wage increases of 2% a year provides the strongest evidence yet of just how much the culture has changed at Orchestra Hall since a six-month strike in 2010-11 nearly destroyed the institution.
The deal, which will raise minimum salaries to nearly $88,000 in year three, comes a full eight months before the current contract expires and with none of the public posturing and partisan rancor accompanying the 2010 meltdown.
Labor dispute at Minnesota Orchestra settled
A bitter lockout that silenced one of the country’s top orchestras for more than 15 months ended Tuesday when musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra approved a contract that will bring them back to the stage in early February.
Hours earlier, the orchestra board had approved the terms of a three-year deal that cuts salaries and benefits roughly 15 percent. The average salary would drop to $114,000 in the first year, from $135,000 under the expired contract. There are small salary increases in the second two years of the deal, and musicians would pay significantly more for health care.
“Both the musicians and the board made concessions on issues of importance to them,” said Richard Davis, lead negotiator on the orchestra board.
“Musicians are pleased that we have come to a solution with our board, and we are ready to work with them to begin the hard work that lies ahead,” said clarinetist Tim Zavadil, a musician negotiator.
Another key component of the settlement would allow the board flexibility in hiring musicians. The contract provides for 95 full-time positions. The agreement specifies that the board will hire seven musicians over the next three years to raise the current complement of musicians to 84, from 77. No musician who has left the orchestra would lose their job.
There is certainly no shortage of research proving the benefits of music education, but we like to keep reminding you.
Whether your child is the next Beyonce or more likely to sing her solos in the shower, she is bound to benefit from some form of music education. Research shows that learning the do-re-mis can help children excel in ways beyond the basic ABCs.
By Laura Lewis Brown
Though 25 cities in HRC’s 2013 Municipal Equality Index received perfect scores, Atlanta, Georgia has made history as the first city in the Deep South to earn this distinction.
This is no surprise for Mayor Kasim Reed, who considers Atlanta a diverse city of quality people.
“This city has a rich history of upholding human rights and providing equal opportunity to all people,” said Kasim. “Atlanta’s commitment to equality includes outlawing discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Yesterday, Mayor Reed joined HRC President Chad Griffin, Atlanta Councilmember Alex Wan, Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta's LGBT Liaison Robin Shahar and Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham at Atlanta’s City Hall for a press conference to celebrate the launch of the 2013 MEI.
Reed, who has served as Atlanta’s mayor since 2010, has demonstrated his commitment to advocating on behalf of Georgia’s LGBT community. He was the chief sponsor of Georgia’s only LGBT-inclusive hate crimes bill, and as a state senator, led the opposition against a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
On August 14, 2013, Reed designated Robin Shahar as Mayoral Advisor on LGBT Issues, and also signed a bill to update Atlanta Code to ensure the inclusion of gender identity in non-discrimination provisions.
Across the country, in red states and blue, more cities are following the standard set by Atlanta and other municipalities to lead the fight for LGBT equality.
To read more from Mayor Reed and see how your city stands on LGBT issues, please visit www.hrc.org/mei.
The Musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra would like to join the efforts of the SOSMN (Save Our Symphony Minnesota) in a call to help the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra raise the funds necessary for their continued operation. We would like to encourage those in our social media circles as well as all other orchestras across the country to join this effort to help save this great cultural gift in Milwaukee. Below is the call to action by the SOSMN.
"Although SOSMN’s focus has been on saving the world-class Minnesota Orchestra, today we ask you to consider helping the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO).
The musicians, conductor Edo de Waart, and management of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra have supported our Minnesota musicians through the lockout---and now they need help in return. If the MSO is unable to raise 5 million dollars in the next month, they will have to close down entirely.
Right now a MSO Board member is providing a matching grant, so even small donations will make a difference. As you are making your end-of year charitable contributions to support great live classical music and the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra, we also ask you to please consider the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Thank you."
Cleveland Orchestra reports balanced budget, larger endowment and growing audiences in fiscal 2013
More of your ASO in the community: the Regency House and the Arbor Terrace were filled with string music this morning! Olga Shpitko, Yang-Yoon Kim and Jennifer Humphreys performed holiday favorites - complete with interactive jingle bells! - for the residents and their families. With Olga Shpitko, Yang Yoon Kim and Jennifer Humphreys.